Yvonne B. Miller, the first African-American woman elected to Virginia’s state legislature, has died. She was 78.
Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Don McEachin said Miller died at her Norfolk home. She was a career educator and an outspoken advocate for Virginia’s poor and minorities in the General Assembly.
Miller broke the combined gender and color barrier in 1983 when she was the first black woman to win a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates, the oldest continuously meeting legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.
Four years later, she did the same by winning a seat in the state Senate.
Miller ascended from obscurity, when neither women nor minorities had a voice in the legislature, to a seat on the budget-writing Finance Committee and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.