Throughout February, the Democrats will present an ongoing blog series celebrating African American heroes, both past and present. Staffers at the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America have been asked to write about influential African Americans in our country’s history and leaders who continue making contributions today.
As we celebrate Black History Month, I was asked to write about my favorite past or present African American. Now this wasn’t easy, and many names came to mind. However, after some serious thought, I chose the late U.S. Congresswoman Julia Carson (IN-07). Carson, the second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana, was a true public servant for the people of Indianapolis. Before going to Congress, Carson worked for the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) and was a member of both sides of Indiana’s General Assembly.
I had the pleasure of working on Carson’s congressional race back in 2002. I remember arriving in Indianapolis and going straight to the campaign headquarters—Carson’s house. Not only was she one of the best campaigners I‘ve ever seen, but she also graciously opened her home to me and many other campaign staffers and volunteers. Her down-to-earth demeanor made us feel welcome. During those few weeks before Election Day, Carson was a tireless advocate for her district—a nonconformist and astute legislator. Carson was all those things while maintaining a great sense of humor. And above all, she cared about the people of Indiana and her staff—it showed every day. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have known her and truly appreciate the contributions she made for all Americans.