This Day in History – October 5, 1932

Congresswoman Yvonne Burke is born in Los Angeles, California


On this day in 1932, Congresswoman Yvonne Burke was born in Los Angeles, California.

Born on October 5, 1932, she attended the University of California, Berkley from 1949 to 1951. After graduation, she went on to receive a degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. To top off her impressive educational background, she earned a J.D. in 1956 from the University of Southern California Law School.

Originally out of school, Burke served as Vice-Chairperson of the 1972 Democratic National Convention, making her the first African American to do so. In addition, she represented the 4th District, was a member of the California State Assembly, and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Many of Burke’s legislative efforts early in her career revolved around limiting garnishment of wages as well as juvenile issues. Another major issue she worked on was in regards to increasing funding to help local jurisdictions fulfill desegregation mandates.

In 1973, she became the first Congresswoman to give birth while in office.


Burke did not seek re-election to Congress until 5 years later. However, she instead ran for Attorney General of California and won the Democratic nomination but unfortunately lost the general election to Republican State Senator George Deukmejian.

The election of 1992 was a close one. Burke ran for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in a hard-fought campaign. She eventually defeated State Senator Diane Watson.

In 2007, Burke announced that she would be retiring after her term expired the following year. On December 1, 2008, Burke officially stepped down from her position with the Board of Supervisors and was replaced by Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Five years later, President Barack Obama nominated her to serve on the Amtrak Board of Directors.

Burke is quoted as saying, “No matter what is in your way never give up and chase after your dream, with no interference of discouragement.”


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