December 30, 2008
Blagojevich Appoints Roland Burris to Replace Barack Obama in US Senate
Only three African Americans ... Ed Brooke, Carol Moseley-Braun and Barack Obama ... have served as a United States senator since the end of Reconstruction era. It appears that Gov. Blagojevich wants to add a fourth nubian to the list.
Blagojevich will name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate later today.
Born in Centralia, Illinois, Roland Burris received his bachelor's degree in political science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1959. He then studied at the University of Hamburg, Germany, for a year before entering law school at Howard University.
Burris began his career in 1963 as a national bank examiner for the U.S. Treasury Department. This gave him the honor of being the first African American to examine banks in the United States. From 1964 to 1973, he served as vice president of Continental Illinois National Bank, making significant contacts in both the corporate and African American communities. Burris began his government career in 1973 as director of the Illinois Department of General Services. In 1978, with his election to the first of three terms as state comptroller, he made history as the first African American elected to state office.
On November 6, 1990, Roland W. Burris was elected attorney general for the state of Illinois. At that time, the only African American ranking higher in state office was Douglas Wilder, the governor of Virginia. He served as Illinois attorney general from 1991 to 1995.
Burris is now an attorney with the Peters law firm in Chicago, where he specializes in environmental, consumer affairs and estate law. Previously he was managing partner of the Chicago-based law firm of Jones, Ware & Grenard, one of the largest minority law firms in the country. Burris previously ran and lost bids for the U.S. senate and governor.
If Burris makes it to Washington DC, he would be the only African American in the U.S. Senate.
Politics makes for strange bedfellows. I've never heard of Roland Burris before today. What are your thoughts about this appointment?