Wednesday, 16 September 2020 13:31

Mourning the Death of United States Senator Florence Howard Pendleton (D-DC)

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UNITED STATES SENATOR FLORENCE HOWARD PENDLETON  (January 28, 1926 – September 10, 2020)  UNITED STATES SENATOR FLORENCE HOWARD PENDLETON (January 28, 1926 – September 10, 2020) 


Florence Howard Pendleton was an historic figure because she was the first Black woman ever elected to the position of United States Senator and the first person ever elected for this nonvoting, unpaid position representing the District of Columbia. U.S. Senator Florence H. Pendleton (D-DC) was committed to the ideals of equal rights and statehood for the residents of Washington, DC. Senator Pendleton was an undeniable visionary, activist and patriot. 

Although born in Columbus, Georgia, Florence Pendleton became very active in her adopted hometown - Washington, DC. Pendleton graduated with a bachelor's and a master's degree from Howard University and became a principal of one of the local DC public high schools. She loved her new community so much that she became an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, as well as won other elected positions.

Pendleton's commitment to equal rights and DC statehood was unmatched and truly a cause in which she expressed her ongoing faith and commitment. At a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Howard University in 1993, attended by President-elect Bill Clinton and Vice President-elect Al Gore, Sen. Pendleton said: We’re going to get [DC statehood] because we’re gaining strength as we go along.”

Senator Pendleton led the way!

Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC) Executive Director Anise Jenkins adds:  "The UNITED STATED SENATOR title in the District of Columbia is an unpaid position.  I will never forget seeing Senator Pendleton digging deep in her purse for pennies to make copies at a local shop.  A deep disgrace!"

“I come from Columbus, Georgia – a few miles down the road from Atlanta.  And it must be something in our soil there that keeps us in mind that we want to do justice and see justice, not just for ourselves but for everyone.  But the question does come:  Is the dream alive?  I say yes, the dream is alive.  It’s alive because here in the District of Columbia… after 30 years from that March in 1963, struggling for dignity and respect, although we have paid everything that we’re supposed to do.  We’re somewhat like the student who has answered all of the questions on the exam perfectly and is expecting an ‘A.’  We here in the District of Columbia have answered all of the questions and we’re expecting statehood…  And we’re going to get it.  I say that to you because we’re working for it.  We’re observing it now.  But I’m looking for it soon.  And to the people in the District of Columbia, who are looking for it, who sent me and Jesse Jackson and Charles Moreland out there to work to get it.  We’re going to get it because we’re gaining strength as we go along.  We’re gaining more workers.  That’s why we’re going to make it because we have the workers here to do it.  And we’re going to have diversity… because we are a diverse city.  And, therefore, please come and join us and work for this.  So again we say, the dream is alive.  It’s here, in the District of Columbia, alive and well.  And that we have the power to guide us and to guide our paths.  And all we have to do is stay focused.  The dream lives.  It lives in me.  It lives in you.  Let’s work together and make statehood a reality.  Thank you.” 

-UNITED STATES SENATOR FLORENCE HOWARD PENDLETON (D-DC), MLK Jr. Day Celebration, Howard University, January 18, 1993 (32:32) 

Florence Pendleton, pioneering DC shadow senator and statehood champion, dies at 94
Pendleton was first elected in 1990, along with Jesse Jackson
By Chris Cioffi, Roll Call, September 14, 2020

Florence Pendleton, Shadow Senator Who Fought For D.C. Statehood, Dies At 94
By Christian Zapata, DCist, September 14, 2020

District Line Daily: RIP Florence Pendleton
D.C.’s first shadow senator, a champion for statehood, dies at 94.
By Amanda Michelle Gomez, Washington City Paper, September 15, 2020

Read 1300 times Last modified on Friday, 16 October 2020 15:04

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