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Mon, 08.15.1938

Maxine Waters, a soldier for her people

Maxine Waters

*This date marks the birth of Maxine Waters in 1938. She is a Black politician and activist.

From the housing projects of St. Louis, Missouri, she was one of thirteen children born to Remus Moore and Velma Lee Carr Moore.  In 1961, their family moved to Los Angeles, CA where she found work in a garment factory and as a telephone operator.  In 1966, Waters was hired as an assistant teacher with the (then) new Head Start program in Watts.  Waters attended college while there and in 1970 earned a sociology degree from California State University in Los Angeles (UCLA).

She became the voice for frustrated parents with efforts that made federal budget requests, contacting legislators, agencies, increasing funding and lobbying for Head Start components tailored to their community. Waters’ concern for parents’ rights led her into local politics.  In 1973, she went to work as Chief Deputy to City Council member David Cunningham. In 1976, Waters left there and successfully ran for the California State Assembly. During her tenure in the State Assembly, Waters authored legislation that included a law requiring state agencies to award a percentage of public contracts to non-whites and women; tenants’ rights laws; a law restricting police efforts to use strip searches; and the largest divestment of state pension funds from businesses involved in South Africa.

In 1990, after fourteen years in the California State Assembly, Waters won a seat in the 29th District of California.  In 1992, Waters won the 35th District, representing South Central Los Angeles, Inglewood, Gardena, and Hawthorne.   Representing the 43rd District, Congresswoman Waters works on a number of issues including affirmative action, community development, women’s health and welfare reform.  She focused on the plight of inner city communities as well as the allegations of CIA involvement in Contra cocaine drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles in the mid-1980s.

In the 21st century, considered one of the most powerful women in politics, she has a reputation of being an outspoken advocate for women, children, non-white people and poor people.  Waters lives in Los Angeles and is married to Sidney Williams, former U. S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. They have two adult children, Karen and Edward.

In recent years Waters has been critical of the Tea Party Movement and 45th President Donald Trump.

Reference:
Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990
E185.96.R25

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