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The Honorable Diane E. Watson

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Information about The Honorable Diane E. Watson

Profile image of The Honorable Diane E. Watson

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Foreign Ambassador
U.S. Congresswoman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Mexican Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Holiday Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Bermuda
Favorite Quote:
It Is Going To Be All Right.

Birthplace

Born:
11/12/1933
Birth Location:
Los Angeles, California

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Foreign Ambassador
U.S. Congresswoman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Mexican Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Holiday Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Bermuda
Favorite Quote:
It Is Going To Be All Right.

Birthplace

Born:
11/12/1933
Birth Location:
Los Angeles
See how The Honorable Diane E. Watson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Former U.S. Congresswoman and foreign ambassador Diane E. Watson was born on November 12, 1933 in Los Angeles, California in a devout religious household. Upon graduating from Dorsey High School (Los Angele) in the late 1940s, Watson attended Los Angeles City College. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in education from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1956, and her M.A. degree in school psychology from California State University in 1958. In 1987, Watson earned her Ph.D. in education administration from Claremont Graduate School; and later, completed courses at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Watson began her professional career in 1969 as a psychologist with California State University. Then, from 1971 to 1975, she worked as a health occupation specialist with the Bureau of Industrial Education of the California Department of Education. In 1975, Watson became the first African American woman to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. There, she worked to expand school integration and make academic standards more rigorous. In 1978, Watson became the first African American woman to be elected to the California State Senate where she played a major role in formulating the state of California’s TANF program. Watson also sought funding to help teen mothers complete their education and gain employment through the Cal-Learn program. In 1993, Watson authored the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program Act and the Residential Care Facilities Act. She introduced legislation to improve food health safety requirements for restaurants in 1997, and also played a key role in the enactment of legislation to promote breast cancer research. She served as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee from 1981 to 1998, and also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

At the end of her senate term in 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Watson to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. Watson continued in the role of U.S. Ambassador until 2001 when she was elected to fill the vacancy of the late U.S. Representative Julian Dixon under a special election. She was re-elected in 2002 and 2004 to serve two consecutive terms, and retired in 2011.

Former U.S. Congresswoman Diane Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2005, July 25, 2008 and November 26, 2012.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Diane E. Watson's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson relates how her maternal ancestors settled in Chicago, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson relates how her maternal ancestors settled in Chicago, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the migrations of her maternal relatives, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the migrations of her maternal relatives, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists her mother's siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her maternal family's history in California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her father's creole heritage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls visiting the convent as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her father's career in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls working with David Roberti in the California State Senate
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her father's career at the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her friendship with Edward M. Davis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers her parents' divorce
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the changes that followed her parents' divorce
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her elementary school experiences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her family's Catholicism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her elementary school teacher, Birdielee V. Bright
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls notable people from her elementary school years
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her experiences in junior high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes life during World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her mother and father's parenting styles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers her ambition to attend college
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Diane E. Watson's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her family's relationship with the University of California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her experiences at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls athletes and student leaders on the UCLA campus
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her early career as an educator
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls teaching in Okinawa, Japan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her experiences teaching in Okinawa, Japan and France
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls returning to the U.S. after teaching abroad
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls teaching at Selma Avenue Elementary School, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls teaching at Selma Avenue Elementary School, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls a scandal involving the principal of Selma Avenue Elementary School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her students' parents at Selma Avenue Elementary School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls studying counseling at California State University in Los Angeles
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls instituting a trial system in her classroom
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes working as a counselor in the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about Leonard Deadwyler and the Watts riots
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls race riots in Los Angeles
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her decision to run for public office
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her friend and campaign manager, Tom Stewart
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers Tom Stewart's murder
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her career in the California State Senate
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education campaigns
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls being attacked by the Ku Klux Klan
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers Congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls implementing busing in Los Angeles public schools
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls befriending Edward M. Davis
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the early days of forced busing in Los Angeles public schools
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes the changing demographics of the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Diane E. Watson's interview, session 3
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes the Federated States of Micronesia
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her life as ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her duties as ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about ancient cultures, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about ancient cultures, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her decision to run for the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her African American predecessors in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her election to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her decision to retire from the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes protests in the U.S. Congress against President George W. Bush
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls African American women who served with her in government
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the controversy over the 2000 U.S. presidential election
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls how Congress changed during the George W. Bush administration
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson explains her complaints with President George Walker Bush
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls President George W. Bush's foreign policy in the Middle East
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists the congressional committees upon which she served
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls being in the U.S. Capitol on September 11, 2001
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her duties on the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes domestic healthcare debates of the 2000s
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes global health issues from her congressional tenure
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her policy work to address the AIDS crisis
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her work on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her U.S. Congressional subcommittee assignments
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her work for the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists her U.S. Congressional caucus memberships
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about African American Republican politicians
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the 2008 presidential primaries
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon Hillary Clinton's political career
  • Tape: 13 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes Congressional opposition to President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 13 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
  • Tape: 13 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the legislative achievements of President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 13 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes Congressional partisanship in the 2000s
  • Tape: 14 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her legislative work for health and education issues
  • Tape: 14 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her Gang Abatement Plan
  • Tape: 14 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon the early days of California's Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 14 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls African American political victories in California
  • Tape: 14 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 14 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls campaigning to change racial identifiers on the U.S. Census, pt. 1
  • Tape: 14 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls campaigning to change racial identifiers on the U.S. Census, pt. 2
  • Tape: 14 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her experiences teaching in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, pt. 1
  • Tape: 14 Story: 9 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her experiences teaching in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, pt. 2
  • Tape: 15 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her family life
  • Tape: 15 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her role models as a child
  • Tape: 15 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 15 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 15 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson narrates her photographs, pt. 2