Harris VP pick emblematic of surge in black women leaders

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has selected Senator Kamala Harris as running mate and vice-presidential candidate, the first black and South Asian woman to serve on the ticket as a candidate for vice president.

Carole Boyce Davies, professor of Africana studies and English in the College of Arts & Sciences, studies black women and political leadership. She is currently writing a book examining paths of black women to leadership and, once there, how they use their power for the advancement of relevant communities. She says the selection of Senator Harris as candidate for vice president builds upon years of gains in the areas of women’s and black rights.

Years of educational gains, activism, unrecognized and recognized political leadership and hard work in the areas of women's rights, human rights, and black rights have created the conditions in which we are beginning to see the emergence of black women in leadership positions all over the world," says Davies.  

“For example, the movement which has become the international Black Lives Matter was founded by three black women in response to the acquittal of the killer of the young Trayvon Martin. Significantly, several black women were indicated to be on the vice-presidential ticket of the Democratic nominee in 2020, but Shirley Chisholm had already led the way by running for president in 1972. Kamala Harris being appointed as the vice-presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 2020 offers yet another advance.” 

For media inquiries, contact Linda Glaser, news & media relations manager, lbg37@cornell.edu, 607-255-8942.

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