Senator from the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. The Senate Republican Caucus unanimously elected Sen. Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston, as the next majority leader. Watch "Women Represented: The 100 Year Battle for Equality" on CNN … Caraway, a small woman who always dressed in black after her husband’s death, could have easily passed as someone’s visiting grandmother in the halls of the Capitol. Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-KS) was the first woman to have been elected to the Senate without having previously filled an unexpired Congressional term. Advertising Notice In making the decision to run for a full term in the Senate, she knew she was breaking new ground for women. The governor faced a serious political dilemma. The 11 Republican women seeking another House term were all reelected, and another dozen candidates were elected for the first time. Watch "Women Represented: The 100 Year Battle for Equality" on CNN Saturday, August 22 at 10pE. After becoming the first Black woman elected to the US Senate, Carol Moseley Braun broke an unspoken Senate rule. Inside the front cover, where she would see it immediately, Senator Lincoln had written the words Caraway had written in her diary when she decided to run for the first time: “If I can hold on to my sense of humor and a modicum of dignity I shall have a wonderful time running for office, whether I get there or not.”. 1921: First Woman Senator Appointed -- October 3, 1922. Only the second Black woman to be elected to the Senate, Harris was the first Black woman to be elected district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general of California. She took the oath of office on November 21, 1922, and then served just 24 hours as a duly-sworn member of the Senate. Caraway was re-elected in 1938, defeating a strong candidate whose campaign slogan boomed “Arkansas Needs Another Man in the Senate!” She therefore became not only the first woman to be elected to the Senate, but also the first to be re-elected. That woman is Hattie Caraway (1878–1950), the first woman elected to the US Senate in 1932. And now won’t be able to sleep or eat.” Within two days’ time, though, Caraway seemed to have made peace with the decision, writing in her journal that she would “have a wonderful time running for office” if she could hold on to her dignity and sense of humor. Kesha Ram is back in politics, even though it never felt like she left. She is the author of Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy, and her historical novel, Terrible Swift Sword: Long Road to the Sultana, tells little-known stories of the Civil War. Sen. Kathy Harrington, of Gastonia, was selected to replace Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville, who had served as Senate majority leader since 2011. Even if Caraway lost, it would not really be considered his fault since the odds were against her winning anyway. The first Hispanic-American woman elected to Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, won election to the House in 1989. She was the first female chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, as well as the first woman elected by the 39th Senatorial District seat in 2008. The voters of Arkansas, in turn, stood by her. North Carolina Senate Republicans picked Sen. Kathy Harrington on Monday to be the next majority leader, putting a woman in that position for the first time since the chamber created it over 40 years ago. In response “[t]he brethren laughed heartily,” she later recounted in a letter to a friend. If she was quieter than most, her record spoke for her. She strayed away from the social and political life in the capital, though taking an interest to her husband’s political career. At the very least, he’d gain some ground in his power struggle with Arkansas’s other senator, Joe T. Robinson. While Wyoming elected its first woman to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, the state also continued its 25-year streak of having a woman as its sole delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her position must have often felt insecure. “In a meeting Monday afternoon, Republicans unanimously elected the first female majority leader in North Carolina’s state Senate since the position was created in 1977. She is not considered a political trailblazer. Cynthia Lummis is the first woman to serve in the Wyoming Senate. In doing so, she put herself up against powerful congressmen who condemned the bill for being “socialist.” But Caraway, who came from a struggling farm family herself (she had only been able to go to college thanks to the generosity of a maiden aunt), firmly supported the piece of legislation, which contained educational benefits for World War II veterans. She was the first woman to win an election for the United States Senate. 1900 Frances Warren of Wyoming became the first woman delegate to a Republican National Convention. is the first trans woman elected to a U.S. state senate. But she did have a good friend in the flamboyant Louisiana politician Huey Long. He was cooler than a fresh cucumber and sourer than a pickled one.” Reflecting on their strained relationship, she once famously confessed in her journal, “Guess I said too much or too little. Caraway did her best work in committee, where she could speak without having to orate from the well of the Senate chamber. Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, becomes the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Sexism aside, Caraway’s campaign faced another problem: She had no money to run. Last night Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne became the first woman in Wyoming history to win a seat in the U.S Senate. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. Clinton’s resume was unique among First … California Do Not Sell My Info She had seen the devastation in her state when roaring waters washed away entire communities during the Great Flood of 1927, the most destructive flood ever to hit the state and one of the worst in the nation’s history. 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(The Center Square) – North Carolina Senate Republicans have elected a woman as majority leader for the first time since the position was created in 1977. While serving on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, for instance, something that was important to her rural state, she realized that she knew first-hand about issues that affected farmers more than what she called in her journal the “manicured men” of the Senate. The North Carolina Senate will have its first female majority leader. Caraway, born near Bakerville, … She saw it as a manifestation of her belief that education was the key to progress. In office, Caraway was dubbed “Silent Hattie” because she rarely delivered the thunderous orations her male colleagues were known for. “Mrs. 1st female Senate majority leader elected in N. Carolina By GARY D. ROBERTSON November 30, 2020 GMT RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Senate Republicans picked Sen. Kathy Harrington on Monday to be the next majority leader, putting a woman in that position for the first time since the chamber created it over 40 years ago. Sarah McBride (D-Del.) Vote Now! Until Caraway’s election, only one other woman had even set foot in the Senate, the self-styled “World’s Most Exclusive Club;” in 1922, 87-year-old Rebecca Felton had been allowed to sit in the chamber for a day as reward for her political contributions in Georgia. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Join Caraway scholar and historian Dr. Nancy Hendricks to witness Caraway's historic career through previously unseen letters and photos. KX Conversation: Heidi Heitkamp, the first woman from North Dakota elected to the US Senate The 117th Congress will have a record number of Native American women after voters elected three to ... the first Native American women elected to Congress, in 2018. Caraway represented Arkansas. With Long’s support, Caraway did win the 1932 election for a full term in the Senate, earning more total votes than all six men who ran against her combined. During the campaign, she would need both. But if he were to help her get elected, he would emerge as a political miracle worker, and maybe even secure a rubber stamp for his pet programs. As of today there have been 57 women who have served in the Senate and 26 serve today, Caraway being the first to be elected. She won reelection to a full term in 1932 with the active support of fellow Senator Huey Long, of neighboring Louisiana. Long genuinely liked Caraway after spending time sitting next to her in the back row of the Senate, and he didn’t have much to lose by throwing his support behind her. That woman, Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas, kept a very low profile. It should be noted that other male senators also declined to make speeches, but it was Caraway whose silence was labeled. On Caraway’s final day in the Senate in 1945, her years of service earned her the rare standing ovation by her all-male colleagues. In her position, Braun advocated for women and social issues. PORTSMOUTH — Democrat Rebecca Perkins Kwoka won the Senate District 21 race over Republican Sue Polidura becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ woman elected to New Hampshire Senate. Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway (February 1, 1878 – December 21, 1950) was an American politician who became the first woman elected to serve a full term as a United States Senator. By 1944, however, Caraway’s style no longer resonated with voters in the same way. She walked her talk, carrying her lunch in a brown paper bag, and starting each day by reading every word of the Congressional Record. She will help you if she can.”. Photo: Lummis for Wyoming WYOMING — In an all-female Senate race, it was inevitable that Wyoming would send a woman to Washington. He wanted to run for the U.S. Senate, but his earlier opposition to ratification of the Constitution’s equal suffrage amendment seriously alienated many of his state's women voters. Smithsonian Institution, (Universal History Archive / Universal Images via Getty Images). Senator in an election, and the first female U.S. Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia, the first woman to serve in the United States Senate, was appointed on October 3, 1922, to fill a vacancy. In her journal, she notes that she did not appreciate when a reporter “pushed into” her office. On January 4, 1932, soon after Caraway entered the Senate, she wrote that Robinson “came around only for a moment at the instigation” of his chief-of-staff. Nor did she take time away from Congress to campaign, as others did. As she wrote in her journal entry of May 9, 1932, the first time she announced her decision to run: “Well, I pitched a coin and heads came three times, so because [my sons] wish and because I really want to try out my own theory of a woman running for office, I let my check and pledges be filed. Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun, also sometimes Moseley-Braun (born August 16, 1947), is an American diplomat, politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. Hattie Caraway was the first woman ever elected to the United States Senate. She is the first African-American female elected to the U.S. Senate in American history, the first African-American U.S. A few years ago, I was sitting next to Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln at a speaking engagement when the Senator opened her daily planner. Robinson, the senior senator from Arkansas, had few interactions with her. Indeed, she voted with the rest of the Southern delegation against the Anti-Lynching Bill of 1934, intended to make lynching a federal crime. Martha Hughes Cannon (D) was elected to the Utah State Senate, becoming the first woman state senator in the country. Here are the 17 newly-elected women who will be bolstering Republicans’ ranks in the next Congress. Caraway was often ignored by her fellow senators, and she had no mentor. Though the 19th Amendment guaranteeing American women the right to vote had been ratified, the idea that government was a man’s sphere had not changed much since abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sarah Grimké visited the U.S. Supreme Court decades earlier in 1853. A widespread criticism of Caraway as she entered the 1932 campaign was that she was needed at home to take care of her children, even though they were already grown. 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Privacy Statement Ella Stevens: The 13-year-old aiming to become Ferrari's first female Formula 1 driver, This deaf 13-year-old girl signed to a professional esports team, JPMorgan is hiring women who left careers to have kids, 10-year-old girl conquers Yosemite's El Capitan, This is how being a dancer makes you a better astronaut, Tina Tchen: Workplace harassment is a diversity problem, She's 35 -- and runs a $3 billion company, NASA Chief on why a woman will be on the next moon mission. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. ... in the US Senate … Letters poured into Caraway’s Senate office, pleading for relief. In time, she proved to herself that she had a mind as good as anyone’s in the Senate. In 1932, the year the Dow Jones hit its lowest point during the Great Depression, few Americans were laughing. After Grimké was invited to sit in the Chief Justice’s chair, she stated that someday the seat might be occupied by a woman. Only the second Black woman to be elected to the Senate, Harris was the first Black woman to be elected district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general of California. After becoming the first Black woman elected to the US Senate, Carol Moseley Braun broke an unspoken Senate rule. But desperate constituents in Arkansas didn’t seem to care who she was, as long as she could help them. The winner, J. William Fulbright, a wealthy former Rhodes scholar, went on to secure the general election and would serve as a powerful force in the Senate for the next 30 years. Never again. Her only previous elected experience was serving as the secretary of a small-town women’s club. Note that “Year” denotes the year a woman first served; in most cases, this means the year following a November election. On May 19, 1932, Robinson inspired her to write, “I very foolishly tried to talk to Joe today. Republican women were among the biggest winners of Tuesday’s balloting, breaking a record for House non-incumbent victories and closing in on the record high for the chamber. This was not without precedent for a politician’s widow, because the move allowed the “real candidates”—the men—time to prepare their campaigns. She was the first woman to preside over the Senate. To commemorate the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, and recognize the service of the first female senator in 1922, learn about the Women of the Senate. Can legacy brands like Ann Taylor adapt? Terms of Use In a meeting Monday afternoon, Republicans unanimously elected the first female majority leader in North Carolina’s state Senate since the position was created in … Never know.”, If she felt invisible in the Senate chambers, she was very aware that the press held her in the spotlight. Caraway was also one of the sponsors of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, popularly known as the GI Bill. The first woman of color elected to the Senate was Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1992. A saying among Arkansans became, “Write Senator Caraway. 1987 Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) becomes the first Democratic woman to have been elected to the Senate without having previously filled an unexpired Congressional term. At one point, she wrote, “Today I almost made the front page as I lost the hem out of my petticoat.” But Caraway didn’t view herself as a firebrand. She has connections to the Biden family. She held the seat for one term, from 1993–1999, and was the first woman to ever sit on the Senate Finance Committee. But Caraway, at age 54, shocked the powers-that-be by announcing her plans to run in the 1932 general election. Among her many firsts serving in the Senate from 1931 to 1945, she also became the first to preside over the Senate, chair a Senate committee, and lead a Senate hearing. Several of her journal entries reflect their terse relationship. Workwear is changing. She presumed it was because he was waiting for a “real” senator—a man—to arrive. As a senator, she worked tirelessly, earning a reputation as an effective public servant in the troubled times of the Great Depression and World War II. Democrat Kesha Ram made history last Tuesday when she became the first woman of color to be elected to the Vermont Senate in a state that’s more than 94 percent white. When Caraway first ran for office, she ran on the premise that the nation could be served by an average person who knew the price of milk and bread, and who remembered there were people who had none. The first woman elected to the United States Senate is not a household name. Cookie Policy Some political observers said she would not have won without Huey’s help, but she notably defeated her opponents in counties where she and Long did not campaign. As she read them and observed the action—or inaction—of fellow senators, she came to a startling revelation: Wasn’t a person—any person, even a woman—of moderate intelligence who worked hard, cared about average people, and stayed awake at their desk (many fellow senators didn’t) just as useful as those who made bombastic speeches? Give a Gift. US Election: First Indian-American elected to Senate, two more to enter Congress Kamala Harris was elected to the Senate, while Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi were elected to … Senate Stories Presented to enlighten, amuse, and inform, our new Senate history blog explores the forces, events, and personalities that have shaped the modern Senate. “I was terribly indignant,” Caraway wrote. In the same year, Elizabeth Cohen of Utah was chosen as an alternate to the Democratic National Convention. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Rather, she conducted herself as she believed a “Southern lady” would do. She wants to expand access to … She never missed a Senate vote or a committee meeting. Senator from Illinois. Continue The Gaston County legislator is the first woman in that position since … or Caraway even made sure to avoid the women’s suffrage movement. There have been 20 Hispanic-American women who have served in Congress. These are the first women to serve in each chamber of a state or territorial legislature, whether elected or appointed. But though her name has become a historical footnote, Caraway, who was born in the shadow of post-Civil War Reconstruction and died at the dawn of the atomic age, offers a fascinating study in the challenges facing women in American politics. During her bid for reelection, she placed fourth in the Democratic primary. In this small setting, she could convince others of what average people needed, like flood control. The proposal simply read, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”. Yet, even as they honored her, a statement—which was no doubt meant as a compliment—offers a telling window into what it was like to be the first. Hattie Caraway, the First Woman Elected to the U.S. Senate, Faced a Familiar Struggle With Gender Politics After Arkansas elected her in 1931, … Senate Republicans meeting on Monday elected Sen. Kathy Harrington to the post for the session that begins in January. Cynthia Lummis, of Cheyenne, has become the first female from Wyoming to hold a seat in the U.S Senate. On November 7, 2000, Hillary Clinton is elected to represent New York in the U.S. Senate, becoming the first First Lady to win elected office. But it wasn’t easy being the only woman in the room. 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