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Julia Carson was born on this date in 1938. She was a Black administrator and politician.
Carson was born Julia May Porter in Louisville, KY. The daughter of Velma V. Porter, she grew up in Indianapolis, and worked in various positions to support her family. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School, and then attended Martin University, Indiana University-Purdue University, all in Indianapolis.
In 1965, while working as a secretary at UAW Local 550, she was hired away by newly elected congressman Andy Jacobs to do casework in his Indianapolis office. When his own electoral prospects looked dim in 1972, he encouraged Carson to run for the Indiana House of Representatives, which she did. She was elected in 1972, serving as a member for four years. In 1976, she successfully ran for the Indiana Senate. In 1990, she was elected as a trustee for Center Township, and was responsible for running welfare in central Indianapolis.
Carson served six years as a trustee, creating a $6 million surplus from the office's $20-million debt. When Jacobs retired in 1996, Carson ran as his replacement and won Democratic endorsement despite being heavily outspent by her opponent. Carson won the general election and opposed the Iraq war resolution in 2002 which led to the Iraq War.
Among her other achievements, Carson led Congress to pass a House measure awarding Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal. Another notable achievement was a bill she cosponsored with Sen. Richard Lugar to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks on child health insurance.
Carson's poor health and liberal voting record caused her to face serious competition in her district. In the 2002 election, after redistricting left her district slightly more Republican, Carson won re-election, but she faced similar competition in 2004. She won re-election, defeating Eric Dickerson in the 2006 elections. Carson was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
She was one of the 31 who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election. In September 2007, Carson had been an in-patient at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for the preceding eight days. She was being treated for an infection in her leg near the area where a vein was removed in 1996 during double bypass heart surgery. Before her hospitalization was revealed, Carson missed 42 of 77 votes during the month.
In November 2007, Carson had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Carson's doctors discovered the lung cancer when they were treating her for a leg infection. Carson had battled the cancer before, but it had gone into remission. In a statement, Carson said she was ready to return to Washington before "the second shoe fell—heavily."
Julia Carson was the first woman and first African American to represent the 7th District of Indiana. She died on December 15, 2007.
The Associated Press
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