This Month in CBC History: Yvonne Braithwaite Burke Appointed to Chair DNC Committee

June 24, 1972

On June 24, 1972, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke was approved by the Democratic National Convention’s Rules Committee to serve as vice chairperson for the Platform Committee at the Democratic National Convention later that summer. Deliberations at the 1972 DNC were often heated as Mrs. Burke led convention delegates through the longest debate of party platform in United State political history; twenty-one votes over eleven hours. Under her leadership the committee crafted a party platform which endorsed the ERA, educational equality, equal pay for all workers and was strong on women’s issues. The committee also passed revised rules that gave young voters and minorities a greater voice in shaping party policy.

Mrs. Burke was already in the political spotlight because of her service in the California State Assembly, but her role at the 1972 Convention helped her become known on a national scale. Later that year, Mrs. Burke become the first black woman from California to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where she later was appointed to the Appropriations Committee, served as the first female chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and became the first member of Congress to give birth and take maternity leave while in office.

Always a woman of firsts, Mrs. Burke’s distinguished career in public service was honored by the House of Representatives in 2008 with House Concurrent Resolution 338. Burke how serves as Los Angeles County Supervisor.

To learn more about Former Representative Yvonne Braithwaite Burke visit the Avoice Women of the CBC Exhibit .

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