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Cynthia McKinney was the first African American woman to represent Georgia in the House of Representatives and the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008.
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She then ran for the seat from the 4th district and won in 1996.
Holding on to her post for two more terms, McKinney remained active in foreign affairs. She campaigned for the creation of a Palestinian state within Israel-occupied lands and questioned some of the nation??s positions on the Middle East. In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001,
she wrote a letter of support to a Saudi prince who called the U.S. government to review its Middle East policies. The letter brought McKinney a lot of unpleasant media attention, including criticism from other members of Congress. Senator Zell Miller said that ??No one . . . should be saying anything in a time of war that could even remotely be interpreted as agreeing with the position of our enemy,?? according to an article in The New York Times.
In 2002, McKinney found herself in a tough primary race with Denise Majette, a former judge and a more moderate Democrat. Adding to her challenge were reports that some of her campaign contributions came from Arab-American individuals and organizations that were under investigation for possible links to terrorism. In the end, McKinney lost to Majette.
Two years later, McKinney regained her post in the House representing the 4th district. She continued to be outspoken, criticizing the government??s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In April 2006, McKinney got into an altercation with a Capitol Hill police officer when she tried to go around a metal detector. She reportedly struck him in the chest with her hand when he tried to stop her, but she was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury. Later that year, McKinney faced another challenging fight for re-election. She was the subject of a positive documentary American Blackout, which was released before the primaries. This was not enough, however, for her to beat out challenger Henry C. Johnson. He became the Democratic candidate for the 4th district after a runoff primary.
Defeated but undeterred, McKinney soon returned to the political arena. She was selected as the Green Party candidate for the 2008 presidential election at the party??s national convention in Chicago that year. Community activist Rosa A. Clemente became her vice-presidential running mate. This all-female ticket faces an uphill battle in the general election from Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden and Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin.
McKinney lives in DeKalb County, Georgia.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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Despite all sorts of institutional obstacles, women have continued to reach stratospheric levels of success in a full gamut of professional pursuits, whether as scientists, scribes, educators, governmental leaders, athletes, designers, film directors or performers. Learn more about the plethora of triumphs obtained by our group of trailblazers.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
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