There has never been two African Americans serving in the United States Senate at the same time in American history. Today at 11 a.m., Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will announce that his former chief of staff, William “Mo” Cowan, will take the place of departing Senator John Kerry. Kerry became the Secretary of State this week. Cowan will serve along with Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and there will be a total of 44 African American members of Congress after Cowan is sworn-in.
Cowan will become only the eighth African American U.S. Senator in U.S. history.
“He grew up in a largely segregated tobacco town in rural North Carolina, the son of a machinist and a seamstress. As a boy, he watched the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in town, march on his high school, and hand out literature on Main Street,” wrote Michael Levenson of Cowan in a profile in the Boston Globe in 2010.
“Governor Patrick knows firsthand the power of opening doors and creating access. Today, he has opened the door for a talented accomplished young leader to represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Sandra Timmons, who is President of A Better Chance in New York in reaction to Gov. Patrick’s selection of Cowan.
Though Cowan is a historic pick as he joins the Senate, he may serve in the institution for a very short time. The special election for Kerry’s Senate seat is on June 25. The rumor is that Gov. Patrick requested that the person selected not run for the seat. But that’s just a rumor. You never know what can happen in politics.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on Black members of Congress. She can be heard every Tuesday on the radio on The Earl Ingram Show at 4 p.m. EST. Ms. Burke has enjoyed employment with USAToday.com and ABC News and holds a B.A. in history from The American University. Contact: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @Crewof42.