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Erin L. Thompson

cabinet official, lawyer, and energy specialist. Born in Newport News, Virginia, Hazel Rollins Reid was the daughter of Russell E. and Hazel Reid, both doctors. She was raised by her father and stepmother, Hazel Palleman Reid, after her parents divorced when she was eighteen months old. Young Hazel attended a high school for artistically talented youths in New Jersey. She returned to that state for a law degree from Rutgers University in 1966 after having graduated with honors from the historically black Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1959. Reid then worked as an assistant prosecutor in Essex County, New Jersey, and as an assistant attorney general for New Jersey before moving to Washington, D.C., where she became a partner in an accounting firm.

Reid was appointed the general counsel of the Community Services Administration by President Gerald Ford helping run its antipoverty ...


Anne M. Heutsche

In one unprecedented moment, President Bill Clinton altered the face of the United States government. He named four African Americans to his cabinet—Hazel O’Leary, Ronald Brown, Jesse Brown, and Alphonso Michael Espy. This was the first time in U.S. history that four African Americans had served in a presidential cabinet. Furthermore, Hazel O’Leary became the first woman to serve as secretary of energy. Clinton appointed O’Leary to the problem-plagued Department of Energy based on her twenty years of experience in both the private and public sectors of fuel and energy industries. In control of an $18 billion budget, O’Leary soon emerged as one of the most influential and powerful women in not only Washington, DC, but throughout the world.

Hazel Rollins Reid was born to two physicians. The couple divorced when Hazel was eighteen months old and the responsibility of her upbringing fell upon her father, Russell ...


Robert Fay

Born in Newport News, Virginia, Hazel O'Leary was raised by her father, Russell E. Reid, a physician, and by her stepmother. She earned a B.A. degree from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1959, and a J.D. degree from Rutgers University Law School in 1966.

From 1974 to 1980, O'Leary worked in the Federal Energy Administration (later part of the Department of Energy), reaching the position of chief of the Economic Regulatory Administration. She worked at her own energy consulting firm from 1980 to 1989. She was president of Northern States Power Company in 1993, when President Bill Clinton appointed her secretary of energy, a position she held until 1996.

In addition to her position as president of O Leary and Associates a consulting firm O Leary also serves as trustee on several boards including those of Morehouse College Africare the AES ...