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  • Writer's pictureR.M. Powell-Dennis

Finding support and help: why supporting black women running for office makes a difference

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

As of October 21, 2019, 317 Black women serve as state legislators nationwide, including 243 Black women members of state houses and 74 Black women members of state senates. Fewer than 1% of Black women state legislators are Republicans.

Black women are 4.3% of all state legislators and 14.9% of all women state legislators nationwide. They are 4.5% of members of state houses and 15% of women in state houses; 3.8% of state senators and 14.5% of women state senators; and 9.1% of all Democratic state legislators in the U.S.

Within the past two decades, Black women have increased their representation as a percentage of all legislators from 2.3% in 1999 to 4.3% in 2019. In the same period, Black women have become a larger proportion of all women state legislators; they were 10.3% of women state legislators in 1999 and are nearly 15% of all women state legislators in 2019.

9 Black women hold state legislative leadership posts (including Speaker, Speaker Pro Tem, Majority Leader, Minority Leader) in fall 2019. In May 2019, Maryland State Delegate Adrienne Jones (D) became the first Black woman Speaker of the Maryland House.

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