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Dorsia Smith Silva

physician, politician, and delegate to the U.S. Congress, was born Donna Marie Christian in Teaneck, New Jersey, to Virginia Sterling Christian and retired Chief District Court Judge Almeric L. Christian, from St. Croix. Christian-Christensen's parents wanted their daughter to understand her cultural connections to the Virgin Islands, so she spent part of her adolescence in St. Croix. This time in St. Croix had a profound influence on Christian-Christensen's career and commitment to helping others.

Christian-Christensen returned to the United States to graduate from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where she earned a B.S. degree in 1966. After reading a United Negro College Fund booklet about the lack of minorities in health care, she decided to enter the medical field. She attended George Washington University Medical School and earned an M.D. degree in 1970. From 1970 to 1971 Christian Christensen worked an as ...

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Mary Krane Derr

U.S.Congresswoman, was born Cardiss Hortense Robertson in Saint Louis, Missouri. She was the only child of Rosie and Finley Robertson, a domestic worker and a manual laborer, respectively. Cardiss's parents came from two different families with the same surname of Robertson. Rosie Robertson grew up on the Whiteville, Tennessee, farm of her great-grandfather, an ex-slave named Erastus White. Cardiss's parents separated during her infancy. Cardiss and her mother were so poor that their two-room apartment lacked a gas stove and refrigerator. They moved to Detroit when Cardiss was ten.

After graduating from the Detroit High School of Commerce, Cardiss moved to her maternal grandmother's home in Chicago. Initially a mattress factory seamstress, she eventually worked as stenographer for a carnival equipment business and then the Illinois Department of Labor. Attending night school courses at Northwestern University for twelve years, she achieved a business certificate in 1966 ...

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Daniel A. Dalrymple

Democratic Congresswoman Collins was a mainstay in the United States House of Representatives for more than twenty years. She was the first woman and African American to serve as the Democratic whip-at-large and the first African American to chair a subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Collins’s career was defined by her strong congressional record on a wide variety of issues, focusing on African Americans, women, and the environment. She was a congresswoman who refused to be pigeonholed as a single-issue representative and spoke up whenever she saw injustice.

Cardiss was born to the laborer Finley Robertson and the nurse Rosia Mae Robertson in St. Louis, Missouri. Her family relocated to Detroit in 1941 when she was ten years old. While in Detroit she attended Bishop and Lincoln Elementary Schools before graduating from the Detroit High School of Commerce. In 1958 Cardiss married George W. Collins before ...

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Mary Krane Derr

lawyer and politician, was born Stephanie Tubbs in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the youngest of three daughters born to Andrew Tubbs, a United Airlines skycap, and Mary Tubbs, a cook for a fraternity at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University. The Baptist, church-going family lived in Glenville, a working-class black neighborhood. Stephanie excelled in the gifted program at Miles Standish Elementary. In 1967, she graduated from Collinwood High School with ten athletic and academic honors. On full scholarship, she attended Case Western, where she started the African American Students Association. After considering social work, she graduated (1971) with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in psychology. On another scholarship, she earned a J.D. at Case Western's law school (1974).

Her first job as a lawyer was as assistant general counsel to the northeast Ohio regional sewer district's equal opportunity administrator (1974 ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

the granddaughter of slaves who became the first African American elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction, grew up as one of twelve children born to the sharecropper William Pittman and the domestic worker Carrie Pittman in Tallahassee, Florida. Meek grew up in the shadow of the Capitol in a neighborhood called the Bottom and attended Primitive Baptist churches. A gifted track and field athlete, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology and physical education from Florida A&M University in 1946. Unable to attend graduate school in Florida because African Americans were not permitted to do so, she went to the University of Michigan and earned a master's degree in public health and physical education in 1948 Meek returned to her home state to work as a physical education instructor at Miami Dade Community College She would ultimately spend more than forty years at the school as ...