1980 - Patricia Roberts Harris, First African American Woman to Serve in the United States Cabinet

Title

1980 - Patricia Roberts Harris, First African American Woman to Serve in the United States Cabinet

Description

Patricia Roberts showed a drive for excellence from a young age. Raised by her mother in Illinois, she received five scholarship offers to college and chose Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1945, she graduated summa cum laude. In 1960, Roberts graduated at the top of her class from George Washington University Law School. President John F. Kennedy selected her to co-chair the National Women’s Committee for Human Rights.

 

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson chose Patricia Harris to become the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. She was the first African American woman named as an American envoy. She said, “I feel deeply proud and grateful this President chose me to knock down this barrier, but also a little sad about being the 'first Negro woman' because it implies we were not considered before.” She also served as an alternate delegate to the 21st and 22nd General Assemblies of the United Nations.

 

After her diplomatic career, she served as the first African American dean of a U.S. law school, at Howard University. In the 1970s, she worked as a corporate attorney until President Jimmy Carter selected her as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  With her confirmation, she became the first African American woman to serve as a cabinet secretary. In 1980, President Carter named her the first secretary of the newly reorganized Department of Health and Human Services.

Creator

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Date

Unknown

Source

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1b/Patricia_R._Harris_official_portrait.jpg/220px-Patricia_R._Harris_official_portrait.jpg

Relation

Rights

Source: U.S. Department of State, Retrieved June 1, 2015

Publisher

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Contributor

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Format

Medium: Photograph

Language

English

Type

Figures

Identifier

Patricia Roberts Harria, African-Americans, Women, Ambassador, Luxembourg, Cabinet, HHS

Coverage

Historic

Files

Patricia_R._Harris_official_portrait.jpg

Reference

Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1980 - Patricia Roberts Harris, First African American Woman to Serve in the United States Cabinet, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Unknown

Cite As

Department of Housing and Urban Development, “1980 - Patricia Roberts Harris, First African American Woman to Serve in the United States Cabinet,” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed August 15, 2022, https://vmps.omeka.net/items/show/271.