Dianne Wilkerson is the first African American woman elected to the Massachusetts Senate chamber. Running on the Democratic party ticket, she took office in 1993 and lost a primary race by a few hundred votes to challenger Sonya Chang-Diaz during the primary race in September 2008. The race was close and the declared victor won by less than 250 when all precincts had reported. At the time of this writing, both candidates are waiting for the results of State authorized recounts they have requested. Ms Diaz selected only one neighborhood ward precinct for her recount. Ms Wilkerson requested several. Massachusetts agreed to the recount request from both candidates. When the primary closed, Diaz held on to slim margin of less than 250 votes over Ms Wilkerson.
From a Moment in Time
The Honorable Edward Brooke,was the first African American to be elected by popular vote to the United States Senate when he was elected as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966. In 1866, the first African-American legislators in New England were elected.
And, Ralph Martin became the first African-American in Boston (1992 to 2002) elected Suffolk County District Attorney. Andrea J. Cabra became the first elected African American woman Sheriff of Suffolk County ( Boston Proper ) when she beat the contenders in 2004. She holds that office today.
Among the current Boston City Council officeholders are two African Americans: Charles Yancey, based in Mattapan and Councilor Chuck Turner, based in Roxbury, Massachusetts.