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Named one of Washington, D.C.'s 100 most powerful women by a Washington Magazine, Donna Brazile is one of the best known, most influential African American women in modern American political life.
Her witty style and innovative political strategies have garnered her respect and admiration of colleagues and adversaries alike. She provides a valued and informed opinion on current events, drawing on her vast experience as a political strategist, journalist, and educator.
Donna Brazile has devoted decades to public service in a variety of areas, from the civil rights movement to political campaigns, from teaching to public speaking.
Brazile has a lot to her credit. She chairs the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute. She is a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN, appears regularly on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio's Political Corner.
In addition, she is a columnist for Roll Call and a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine. In the past she has served as a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, and currently serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.
She has also written a memoir about her life in the political arena titled Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics. She was also the founder and executive director of the National Political Congress of Black Women. She was the keynote speaker at the University at Buffalos 2008-2009 Distinguished Speaker Series now in its 22nd season.
This tenacious political organizer has received numerous awards and honors, including being named one of Essence Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women, the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Youth Award, the National Women's Student Leadership Award, Ebony Magazine's Outstanding Young Achievers and Mirabella Magazine's Top 25 Smartest Women in America.
The New Orleans native was appointed by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the state's long term recovery authority in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Brazile is the author of Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, which is a memoir of her life in the political arena.
When Donna Brazile was born in 1959, race mattered more than anything else. As a black child?one of Lionel and Jean Brazile's nine children--she learned that everyday life was about drawing lines.
Segregation by law was ending, and the civil-rights movement was rising, but in New Orleans there were still whites only signs in store windows, and on water fountains, and in the hearts and minds of the men who ran the city. From humble blue-collar Louisiana beginnings and raised in extreme poverty, Brazile involved herself in politics when she was quite young.
At age nine she organized a group of kids to campaign door-to-door for a city council candidate who promised a neighborhood playground, if elected. As a teenager, she volunteered for the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign in 1976 and again in 1980.
While still a student at Louisiana State University, Brazil first gained national attention in 1981 as the national student coordinator for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee, which ultimately petitioned to make the civil rights leader's birthday a national holiday. After that she worked on numerous presidential campaigns, including Rev. Jesse Jackson's first historic bid for the presidency in 1984, Mondale-Ferraro in 1984, U.S.
Representative Dick Gephardt in 1988, Dukakis-Bensen in 1988, Clinton-Gore in 1992 and 1996; and Gore-Lieberman in 2000. Besides being acclaimed as the best grassroots organizer around, she has also won a reputation as a political loose cannon and her outspokenness often gets her into hot water.
As deputy field director of the Michael Dukakis general election campaign, Brazile made news by telling a group of reporters that George H.W. Bush needed to 'fess up about unsubstantiated rumors of an extra-marital affair. The Dukakis campaign immediately disavowed her remarks and, at the suggestion of campaign manager Susan Estrich, Brazile resigned the same day.
After her experience in 1988 Brazile re-entered the political scene in 1990 as chief of staff (1990 to 1999) for Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's delegate to Congress where she helped guide the District's budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. She advised Bill Clinton's campaign for the presidency in 1992, and for re-election in 1996.
After working her way up from the Democratic grass roots-- organizing everything from voter-registration drives to labor-union rallies to gay-rights marches--Brazile finally cemented her reputation as a talented political organizer and played a pivotal and highly visible role as Vice President Al Gore's campaign manager in 2000.
It made headlines as she was the first African-American woman ever to run a major presidential campaign. After the controversy over votes following the 2000 general election, Brazile was selected chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute (VRI), an organization dedicated to upholding the right of all Americans to participate in the political process.
In 2005 Donna Brazile was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Louisiana State University.Her book Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics gives a wonderful insight into the life of a dynamic organizer; how she rose from poverty to the apex of her career.
It is an intimate account of Donna's thirty years in politics. Her stories of the leaders and activists who have helped shape America's future are both inspiring and memorable. Brazile in her memoirs shares candid perspectives on her employers and causes.
Her accounts of being backstage in the Gore camp shed valuable light on the tense political climate of that year's election and post-election recount mess. This book gives a very accurate and insightful look at what actually goes on at the highest levels of national politics.
Besides her political achievements in Americas tumultuous political era, the book also contains loving description of her Louisiana roots, her remarkable sense of purpose and her fierce loyalty to friends and family. Being a black woman informs all of Brazile's experiences. It doesn't preach rather inspires by example!