A Message from the National Fair Housing Training Academy
March is designated as Women’s History Month, a time devoted to honor the contributions of women in American history. Women are at the forefront of creating social, cultural, and political change, but their contributions have been often overlooked throughout history. Highlighting women’s stories and voices is a great way to commemorate Women’s History Month.
One inspiring profile is that of Patricia Roberts Harris, a tireless devotee to the causes of civil rights, social justice, and government service. Harris’ career was noted by some astounding firsts – first African American woman to be selected as a United State envoy, and later the first African American woman to become a Cabinet Secretary, when President Jimmy Carter selected her as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With that selection, Harris became the first African American woman to be in the line of succession to the Presidency.
During her confirmation hearing in 1977, she declared “I have been a defender of women, of minorities, of those who are the outcasts of this society, throughout my life and if my life has any meaning at all it is that those who start as outcasts may end up being part of the system.” Harris dedicated her career to revitalizing lower-income neighborhoods that would have otherwise been disinvested in at the time. She was deeply committed to fighting for civil and equal rights.