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Meet the 4 African-American Women Shaking Up U.S. Politics

The news that Ayanna Pressley defeated one of America’s long-serving Congress members is a win not only for African-Americans but for women of colour.

Pressley won the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District, defeating Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano to become the first African-American woman in this position in the history of Massachusetts.


Pressley, who has always been seen as an underdog, was raised by Sandra Pressley, a single mother. Her father, Martin Pressley spent much of her childhood in jail. She attended Boston University for two years before dropping out to work to support her mother.

Pressley’s foray into politics started way back in 2009 when she became the first woman of colour to be elected to the city council. She actively campaigned at the grassroots level focusing on the experience of black people as well as on national-scale controversial issues such as Medicare.

Since there is no Republican representative on the ballot, she is most likely to be heading to Congress in 2019.

Pressley joins the list of black women causing an upset in American politics.

Scroll through to learn about other black women shaking up politics in America.

Lauren Underwood

Underwood has made history as the youngest woman running for Congress.  At just 31, she defeated six middle-aged white men to win the Democratic Primary in the 14th District of Illinois, making her the first woman to receive her party’s nomination in the district’s history.


Stacey Abrams

Abrams is set to become the first ever black woman governor of Georgia if she wins the elections in November.  She has many firsts: the first black female valedictorian at her high school; the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly; and the first African American to lead the state’s House of Representatives.

She is set to take on Republican Brian Kemp in November.

Photo: Twitter/Jahana Hayes

Jahana Hayes

Hayes beat veteran politician Mary Glassman to move her a step closer to becoming the first African-American woman representing Connecticut in the Congress. The winner of 2016 Teacher of the Year award used her background to run her campaign, setting herself as the fixer.

“If you see a problem in your community, you go and fix it,” is what Hayes had been telling her students.


Ilhan Omar

Omar is Minnesota’s candidate for US Congress and set to become the first Muslim woman in Congress.  She defeated Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district.   She has made history as the first Somali legislator in the United States in 2016.


Written by How Africa

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