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*Stacey Abrams was born on this date in 1973. She is a Black politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author.
Stacey Yvonne Abrams is the second of six siblings; she was born to Robert and Carolyn Abrams in Madison, Wisconsin, and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi. The family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her parents pursued graduate degrees at Emory University and later became Methodist ministers. Her siblings include Andrea Abrams, U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, Richard Abrams, Walter Abrams, and Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean.
She attended Avondale High School, graduating as valedictorian, and where she was selected for a Telluride Association Summer Program. While in high school, she was hired as a typist for a congressional campaign, and at age 17, she was hired as a speechwriter based on the edits she had made while typing. In 1995, Abrams earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies (political science, economics, and sociology) from Spelman College, magna cum laude.
While in college, she worked in the youth services department in the office of Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. She later interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As a freshman in 1992, Abrams participated in a protest on the steps of the Georgia Capitol, during which she joined in burning the state flag. At that time, Georgia's state flag incorporated the Confederate battle flag, which had been added to the state flag in 1956 as an anti-civil rights movement action. The flag was designed by Southern Democrat John Sammons Bell, an attorney and Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia who was an outspoken supporter of segregation. As a Harry S. Truman Scholar, Abrams studied public policy at the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs, earning a Master of Public Affairs degree in 1998. In 1999, she earned a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.
After graduating from law school, Abrams worked as a tax attorney in Atlanta, focusing on tax-exempt organizations, health care, and public finance. In 2010, while a member of the Georgia General Assembly, Abrams co-founded and served as the senior vice president of NOW Corp. (formerly NOW Account Network Corporation), a financial services firm. Abrams also co-founded Nourish, Inc., a beverage company focused on infants and toddlers and is CEO of Sage Works. This legal consulting firm has represented clients, including the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball Association. In 2002, Abrams was appointed the deputy city attorney for the City of Atlanta.
In 2006, Abrams ran for the 89th Georgia House of Representatives district following JoAnn McClinton's announcement that she would not seek reelection. Abrams ran in the Democratic Party primary election against former state legislator George Maddox and political operative Dexter Porter. She outraised her two opponents and won the primary election with 51% of the vote, avoiding a runoff election. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 as minority leader from 2011 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Abrams founded Fair Fight Action, an organization to address voter suppression, in 2018.
Taking a page out of the legacy book of John Wesley Dobbs, Abrams was the Democratic party's nominee in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, becoming the first Black female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States. She lost to Brian Kemp in an election marked by accusations that Kemp engaged in voter suppression. In April 2018, Abrams wrote an op/ed for Fortune revealing that she owed $54,000 in federal back taxes and held $174,000 in credit card and student loan debt. She was repaying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) incrementally on a payment plan after deferring her 2015 and 2016 taxes, which she stated was necessary to help with her family's medical bills. During the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, she donated $50,000 to her campaign. In 2019, she completed payment of her back taxes to the IRS and other outstanding credit card and student loan debt reported during the gubernatorial campaign.
In February 2019, Abrams became the first Black woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union address. In 2020, congressional Georgia surprised America and the world when, based on the first count, her party outpolled the Republicans last week. With the results of the recount, Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 28 years. He could not have done it without Stacey Abrams.