today in black history

April 18, 2024

Hampton University (Institute) was founded on this date in 1868 in Virginia to educate newly emancipated Blacks.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton

POSTED: September 07, 2008, 7:07 am

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Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton
Delegate, District of Columbia
U.S. House of Representatives
2136 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ph: 202-225-8050
Fx: 202-225-3002

National Press Building
529 14th Street, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20045
Ph: 202-783-5065
Fx: 202-783-5211

2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E.
Suite 238
Washington, D.C. 20020
Ph: 202-678-8900
Fx: 202-678-8844

Chief of Staff

Julia Hudson
Legislative Director

David Grosso

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is now in her ninth term as Congresswoman for the District of Columbia. She is chair of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Emergency Management, and Public Buildings. Named by President Jimmy Carter as the first woman to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured law professor of law, and board member of three Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Norton also had been named on of the 100 most important American women in one survey and one of the most powerful women in Washington in another.

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The Congresswoman's work for full congressional voting representation and for full democracy for the people of the District of Columbia continues her lifelong struggle for universal human rights. Congresswoman Norton has used her background in national affairs and in law to become a leader in the House in important posts. She has served in the Democratic Leadership group and as the Democratic Chair of the Women's Caucus, and she has been a member of the Committee on the Reorganization of the Congress. In 2007, she successfully completed a four-year campaign for the House vote when the House passed H.R. 1905, now pending in the Senate. Even without a vote, her success in writing bills and getting them enacted has made her one of the most effective members of the House in producing legislation. She has a full vote in House committees and she won a vote on the House Floor in the Committee of the Whole for the first time in the city's history. She serves on three rather than the usual two committees-the Committee on Homeland Security, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Her numerous accomplishments for her district also include other first time breakthroughs, among them a two day debate and the first vote on D.C. statehood and senatorial courtesy achieved for the first time during the Clinton administration in the selection of federal judges.

Congresswoman Norton's work in breaking barriers for her disempowered district is matched by her successful emphasis on bringing home unique economic benefits to her constituents. Among them are her bills that award $10,000 to all D.C. high school graduates to attend any public U.S. college or $2,500 to attend many private colleges because the District does not have a higher education system of state colleges; a unique D.C. $5,000 homebuyer tax credit that has increased sharply home ownership and has been a major factor in stabilizing the city's population; and several D.C.-- only business tax breaks including a significant tax credit for employing D.C. residents that has maintained businesses and residents in the District. Among her development initiatives and bills are the relocation of 6,000 jobs to the Navy Yard; private development of the 55 acre Southeast Federal Center to benefit the District; and her successful committee efforts that have brought build new headquarters for the Department of Transportation, Securities and Exchange Commission , the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Department of Homeland Security under construction, each important for jobs for residents and the D.C. federal and tourist based economy.

Congresswoman Norton ended the city's most serious financial crisis in a century by achieving a historic package that for the first time restructured the financial relationship between the Congress and the District by transferring $5 billion in unfunded pension liability and billions more in state costs to the federal government.

Congresswoman Norton, who taught full time before being elected, continues as a tenured professor of law at Georgetown University, teaching a course there every year. After receiving her Bachelors degree from Antioch College in Ohio, she simultaneously earned her law degree as well as a Masters degree in American Studies from Yale. Yale Law School has awarded her the Citation of Merit as Outstanding Alumna of Yale Law School, and Yale Graduate School has awarded her the Yale Wilbur Cross Medal as outstanding Alumna of the Graduate School, the highest awards conferred by each on alumnae. She is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees.

Before being elected, Congresswoman Norton has served on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Board of Governors of the D.C. Bar Association, as well as the boards of civil rights, and other national organizations. The Congresswoman is a third generation Washingtonian and is the mother of John Holmes Norton and Katherine Felicia Norton.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives

The District of Columbia is 59 percent Black but the city’s Black population is declining as many residents have migrated to neighboring Prince George’s County and other Maryland suburban communities. The poverty rate in the District of Columbia is 20 percent and the median income is $40,127.

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