Posted: February 12, 2011 by Jay Rasean in Kasual

         January 30, 1944 –       

And the parade of prominent African-Americans continues. Born to a former supreme court justice, and a product of the Washington D.C public school system; Sharon Pratt was the first African-American female Mayor of Washington D.C. Not only was she the first African-American female to serve the people of D.C as Mayor, but she was also the first-and only woman to hold this prestigious position.

Instilled with many principles and an important set of values by her father Carlisle Pratt, the younger Pratt is an extremely industrious individual. Primarily a lawyer, Pratt decided to pursue a career in public policy. Obtaining a position at Potomac Electric, she accomplished her first set of dual feats in her career by becoming the first woman, as well as African-American to be named Vice President of Public Policy. A year after leaving Potomac, she was elected to the Democratic National Committee as a Representative from the District of Columbia. Unbeknownst to her, she was well on her to making history when she garnered the role of Treasurer for the Democratic National Committee. She wasn’t the first African-American to hold this position, but yes-she was the first woman.

In 1990, Pratt was elected as the first African-American female Mayor of Washington D.C, where she would hold office until 1995. Despite her monumental victory, the duration of term was a disaster. I won’t get into the specific situations that caused her achievements to be somewhat overshadowed by her unsuccessful reign as mayor. But I would like to reintroduce a reoccurring theme I’ve spoken about in previous articles. As you all may notice, Pratt is very light-skinned. Not only does race play a major role in the significance of the achievements we as African-Americans make, so does our complexion.
Pratt’s light skin was said to have driven a wedge between her and some of the darker residents of D.C, stating that people of a more “fair” complexion are identified with those of a higher class of African-Americans. This theory has been perpetuated world wide-namely by a theory that places light-skinned people in a better standing then dark skinned people. I’ve often heard the phrase “she[he] is acting light skinned” which associates African-Americans with lighter skins as snobbish, or as a high class individual. Despite our many accomplishments as a people, there is still much more to be done, and quarrels and misconceptions within our race must be eradicated in order for to achieve progress as a whole.
In light of  her dissatisfying experience as Mayor, Sharon Pratt is a benefactor in African-American and female progression. Her major triumphs in the world of politics have exceeded the less savory aspects of her career. Instead of women looking to artificial role models when trying to decide a path for their lives or careers, they should take notes on the prominent African-American women I have been speaking about for the pass few weeks-Sharon Pratt in particular. Sharon Pratt has enjoyed a historically defiant life, and is a reason why black history should be celebrated year ’round(K*W)

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