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The Honorable Maxine Waters

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Information about The Honorable Maxine Waters

Profile image of The Honorable Maxine Waters

Profession

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

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fruit
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/15/1938
Birth Location:
St. Louis, Missouri

Profession

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

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fruit
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/15/1938
Birth Location:
St. Louis
See how The Honorable Maxine Waters is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in politics today. Her work has earned her the reputation of being an outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and poor people.

Born on August 15, 1938, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Remus Moore and Velma Lee Carr Moore, Waters was one of thirteen children. In 1961, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she found work in a garment factory and as a telephone operator. In 1966, Waters was hired as an assistant teacher with the newly formed Head Start program in Watts. Waters decided to attend college while working at Head Start, and in 1970 earned a sociology degree from California State University in Los Angeles.

Waters became the voice for frustrated Head Start parents. Her efforts encouraged these parents to make federal budget requests, to contact legislators and agencies for increased funding, and to lobby for Head Start components tailored to their community. Waters' concern for parents' rights led her to become involved in local politics and in 1973, she went to work as chief deputy to city council member David Cunningham.

In 1976, Waters quit her job and successfully ran for election to the California State Assembly. During her tenure in the State Assembly, Waters authored numerous pieces of legislation including: a law requiring state agencies to award a percentage of public contracts to minorities and women; tenants' rights laws; a law restricting police efforts to use strip searches; and the largest divestment of state pension funds from businesses involved in South Africa.

After serving for fourteen years in the California State Assembly, in 1990, Waters successfully ran for a seat in the 29th Congressional District of California. In 1992, Waters ran in the much larger 35th District, representing South Central Los Angeles, Inglewood, Gardena, and Hawthorne, and won eighty-three percent of the votes. Waters continues to represent the 35th District and has been active on a number of issues including affirmative action, community development, women's health and welfare reform. Waters focused attention on the plight of inner city communities as well as the allegations of CIA involvement in Contra cocaine drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles in the mid-1980s.

Waters lives in Los Angeles and is married to Sidney Williams, former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. They have two adult children, Karen and Edward.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maxine Waters interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maxine Waters's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maxine Waters describes her mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maxine Waters describes her father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maxine Waters names her twelve siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maxine Waters remembers her childhood home, Kinloch, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maxine Waters remembers the St. Louis, Missouri of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maxine Waters recalls the sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maxine Waters discusses her religious affiliations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maxine Waters describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maxine Waters discusses her childhood responsibilities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maxine Waters describes her supportive teachers from her early schooling
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Maxine Waters explains her early interest in the U.S. Constitution
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Maxine Waters describes the black community of St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Maxine Waters describes the cultural institutions of St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Maxine Waters remembers her high school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maxine Waters discusses her beginnings in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maxine Waters describes starting a family in Colorado
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maxine Waters explains what she learned from her first jobs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maxine Waters explains her decision to return to school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maxine Waters discusses her employment with the Head Start program
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maxine Waters describes her interest in political campaigning
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maxine Waters lists the state and national campaigns in which she's participated
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maxine Waters describes her tasks in organizing campaigns
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maxine Waters details lessons learned about running campaigns
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maxine Waters explains her motivation for seeking a public office
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maxine Waters remembers her first election night
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maxine Waters explains how she won her congressional seat
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maxine Waters describes the women's rights movement of the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maxine Waters conveys the difficulties black women faced in securing their reproductive health
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maxine Waters describes how Willie Brown came to the defense of her feminism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maxine Waters talks about her experience in the California legislature
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Maxine Waters discusses her transition from state to federal legislature
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maxine Waters discusses her professional relationship with Gus Hawkins
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maxine Waters recalls her involvement in Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maxine Waters discusses her foreign policy interests
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maxine Waters talks about lessons she learned in Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maxine Waters recalls issues that fueled the Los Angeles riots of 1992
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maxine Waters discusses the CIA's trafficking of cocaine in black communities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maxine Waters describes the scourge of drug abuse in public housing projects
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maxine Waters discusses her dissatisfaction with Rebuild L.A.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maxine Waters talks about the impeachment of President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maxine Waters discusses the achievements of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maxine Waters discusses the difficulties of leading the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maxine Waters describes the leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maxine Waters reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maxine Waters discusses her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Maxine Waters U.S. Congressional photo, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Publicity photo of Maxine Waters
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Maxine Waters with the U.S. Capitol in the background, Washington, D.C., ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Maxine Waters with children from the Pueblo del Rio Housing Development, Los Angeles, California, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Maxine Waters with investors and developers, Los Angeles, California, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Maxine Waters with President Bill Clinton, Washington, D.C., August, 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Maxine Waters with her husband, Ambassador Sidney Williams