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Jamal Donaldson Briggs

politician, was born to Alex Herman and Gloria Capronis in Mobile, Alabama. Her father, a mortician and a prominent political activist, sued the Democratic Party in an effort to allow blacks to vote and is credited as the first black elected in the South since Reconstruction when he became a wardsman. Her mother, Gloria, was a reading teacher.

Religion most shaped Herman's youth. Her Roman Catholic parents shunned segregated state education and enrolled her in parochial schools. At the time, these were still segregated, but employed white priests and nuns whose tutoring was, in Herman's recollection, colorblind. Her father once took her high school class on an unusual field trip: to a meeting of the Alabama Citizens Council, the front for the Ku Klux Klan. She graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary High School in 1965 Shortly thereafter Herman attended Edgewood College in Madison Wisconsin and ...