“If they don't give you a seat at the table – bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm
In 2008 Illinois state senator Barack Obama became the first black presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, making him the first African-American presidential candidate from a major political party. He was elected as the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and served two terms.
Kamala D. Harris was elected Vice President in 2020 after a lifetime of public service, having being elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.
Of the 126 women serving in the 116th U.S. Congress, 48, or 38.1%, are women of color; in addition, a Black woman, a Latina, an Asian Pacific Islander, and a Caribbean American woman serve as Delegates to the House from Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands, respectively. Women of color constitute 9.0% of the total 535 members of Congress.
1870—The 15th Amendment is ratified, prohibiting the denial of voting rights based on race, color, or previous status as a slave.
1870 Hiram Revels a republican from Mississippi, becomes the first African-American to be seated in the United States Senate. He serves one year, filling a seat left vacant when Mississippi seceded from the United States.
1870—Joseph Hayne Rainey, a Republican from South Carolina, becomes the first African-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
1872—Victoria Woodhull, nominated by the National Radical Reformers, becomes the first woman presidential candidate. Her running mate, Frederick Douglas is the first African-American vice presidential candidate.
1874—Blanche Kelso Bruce, a Republican from Mississippi, is the first African-American elected to a full six-year term in the Senate. A former slave, Bruce also served in several federal positions until his death in 1898.
1890—The Mississippi Legislature approves a new state Constitution that effectively disenfranchises nearly all of the state's African-American voters. In subsequent years, several other states, including South Carolina, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, and Oklahoma, adopt similar measures.
1952—Charlotta A. Bass, nominated by the Progressive Party, becomes the first African-American woman to run for vice president.
1965—The Voting Rights Act is passed, overturning efforts by state legislatures to disenfranchise African-American voters. The act suspends literacy tests, provides for federal oversight of voter registration in some areas, and directs the attorney general of the United States to challenge the use of poll taxes for state and local elections.
1968—Shirley Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, is the first African-American woman elected to the House of Representatives. In 1976, Chisholm was the first African-American to deliver the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.
1972—Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African-American from a major political party to run for president.
1989—L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat from Virginia, is the first African-American to be elected governor in the United States.
1992—Carol Moseley Braun, a Democrat from Illinois, is the first African-American woman elected to the Senate.