Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
Get Yvonne Brathwaite Burke essential facts below. View Videos or join the Yvonne Brathwaite Burke discussion. Add Yvonne Brathwaite Burke to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
Yvonne Burke
Yvonne burke.jpg
Member of the Amtrak Board of Directors

January 1, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Seat established
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from the 2nd district

December 1992 - December 1, 2008
Kenneth Hahn
Mark Ridley-Thomas
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from the 4th district

January 3, 1979 - December 1980
James Hayes
Deane Dana
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California

January 3, 1973 - January 3, 1979
New Constituency (Redistricting)
Julian Dixon
Constituency37th district (1973-1975)
28th district (1975-1979)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 63rd district

January 1967 - January 3, 1973
Don Allen
Julian Dixon
Personal details
Perle Yvonne Watson

(1932-10-05) October 5, 1932 (age 88)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Louis Brathwaite
(m. 1957; div. 1964)

William Burke
(m. 1972)
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles (BA)
University of Southern California (JD)

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (born October 5, 1932) is an American politician and lawyer from California.[1][2] She was the first African-American woman to represent the West Coast in Congress. She served in the U.S. Congress from 1973 until January 1979. She was the Los Angeles County Supervisor representing the 2nd District (1992-2008).[3] She has served as the Chair three times (1993-94, 1997-98, 2002-03). Her husband is William Burke, a prominent philanthropist and creator of the Los Angeles Marathon.[4]

In 1973, she became the first member of the U.S. Congress to give birth while in office, and she was the first person to be granted maternity leave by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Amtrak, having been appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Early life and career

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke in 1950

Yvonne Watson was born on October 5, 1932, in Los Angeles as only child to James A. Watson and the former Lola Moore.[5][6]

After first attending a public school, she was sent to a model school for exceptional children.[1] At Manual Arts High School she was a member of the debate team and served as vice president of the Latin Club her junior year and Girls' Vice President in her senior year.[7]

Burke attended the University of California, Berkeley from c. 1949 to 1951 before receiving a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1953.[8] She subsequently earned a J.D. degree from the University of Southern California Law School in 1956.[9] Burke is one of the first black women to be admitted to University of Southern California Law School.[1]

Her first entry into the world of politics was when she worked as a volunteer for the reelection of president Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.[10] She was elected to the California State Assembly in 1966, representing Los Angeles' 63rd District (1966-1972). Many of her early legislative efforts centered around juvenile issues and limiting garnishment of wages.

She served as Vice-Chairperson of the 1972 Democratic National Convention.[11] She was the first African-American and the first woman of color to hold that position, and presided for about fourteen hours when the chair left the convention on its last day.[12][13]

That same year, she was elected to the first of three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tenure in U.S. Congress

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, c. 1975

During her tenure in Congress, she served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations, House Beauty Shop Committee, and the House Committee on Appropriations; during her tenure on the Appropriations Committee, she fought for increased funding to aid local jurisdictions to comply with desegregation mandates [11]

In 1973, with the birth of her daughter Autumn, Burke became the first member of Congress to give birth while in office and the first to be granted maternity leave by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.[1][11]

She did not seek re-election to Congress in 1978, but instead ran for Attorney General of California. She lost to the Republican George Deukmejian.[14]

Later political career

In 1979, shortly after leaving Congress, Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the Board of Regents of the University of California; but she resigned later that year when Governor Brown appointed her to fill a vacancy in the District 4 seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Burke was the first female and first African-American supervisor. Her district, however, was largely made up of affluent, conservative white areas on the coast. In 1980, Burke was defeated in her bid for a full term in the seat by Republican Deane Dana. In 1982, Brown again appointed her to the Regents.

In 1992, Burke ran for the District 2 seat on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. After a hard-fought campaign that often turned negative, Burke defeated State Senator Diane Watson.

In 2007, she announced that she would retire when her term expired in 2008. On July 27, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page story revealing Burke was not living in the mostly low-income district she represented, but rather in the wealthy Brentwood neighborhood, an apparent violation of state law.[15] Burke responded that she was living at her Brentwood mansion because the townhouse she listed in official political filings was being remodeled.[16]

On March 29, 2012, she was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the Amtrak Board of Directors.[17][18]

Private life

In 1957 she married Louis Brathwaite and in 1964 they divorced.[1] She married William A. Burke in Los Angeles on June 14, 1972. Their daughter Autumn Burke was born on November 23, 1973.[5][6][19]


Burke is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "BURKE, Yvonne Brathwaite | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "New Arenas of Black Influence: Yvonne Brathwaite Burke". Calisphere. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Yvonne Brathwaite Burke | Bedrosian Center | USC". bedrosian.usc.edu. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Dr. William A. Burke". www.aqmd.gov. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b Phelps, Shirelle (editor) (1998). Who's Who Among African Americans (11th ed.). Detroit, Michigan, London: Gale Research. p. 178. ISBN 0-7876-2469-1.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b "California Birth Index 1905-1995 [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. 2005. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "W '50 Artisan "Yvonne Watson" (Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles)". Ancestry.com. Generations Network. 1950. p. 21. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Yvonne Brathwaite Burke '53". UCLA Alumni. May 28, 2015.
  9. ^ "BURKE, Yvonne Brathwaite - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Burke, Yvonne Brathwaite." Current Biography 1975. The H.W. Wilson Company. 1975.p.61
  11. ^ a b c "Women in Government: A Slim Past, But a Strong Future". Ebony: 89-92, 96-98. August 1977.
  12. ^ Visionary Project
  13. ^ Terkel, Amanda (2017-08-14). "The Long, Hard Fight To Finally Get A Woman At The Top Of The Ticket | HuffPost". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved .
  14. ^ a b "Yvonne Braithwaite Burke (1932- )". BlackPast. 2007-04-08. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Leonard, Jack, and Lait, Matt. "Burke has residence far removed from her constituency". Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007.
  16. ^ Prince, Richard. L.A. Times Stakes Out Politician's Digs. Richard Prince's Journal-isms, July 27, 2007.
  17. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". White House Office of the Press Secretary. 29 March 2012.
  18. ^ Merl, Jean (29 March 2012). "Obama Nominates Yvonne Burke to Amtrak Post". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ "California Marriage Index 1960-1985 [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. 2005. Retrieved .

Further reading

  • "Yvonne Brathwaite Burke", Africana: The Encyclopedia.
  • Ebony (September 1967). "Women Who Make State Laws": pp. 27-34.
  • Gray, Pamela Lee. "Yvonne Brathwaite Burke: The Congressional Career of California's First Black Congresswoman, 1972-1978." Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1987.

External links

California Assembly
Preceded by
Don Allen
Member of the California Assembly
from the 63rd district

Succeeded by
Julian Dixon
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Lionel Van Deerlin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 37th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jerry Pettis
Preceded by
Alphonzo Bell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th congressional district

Succeeded by
Julian Dixon
Preceded by
Martha Griffiths
Chair of the House Beauty Shop Committee
Position abolished
Preceded by
Charles Rangel
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus
Succeeded by
Parren Mitchell
Political offices
Preceded by
James Hayes
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from the 4th district

Succeeded by
Deane Dana
Preceded by
Kenneth Hahn
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from the 2nd district

Succeeded by
Mark Ridley-Thomas

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes