Political leader Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was born on March 17, 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland to Nina Rawlings and Howard Rawlings. She graduated from Western High School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1988 and received her B.A. degree in political science from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio in 1992 and her J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland in 1995.
In 1990, Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee and as a member of the Young Democrats of Maryland. In 1995, Rawlings-Blake was the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council at the age of twenty-five. She was admitted to the Maryland State bar in 1996, and the federal bar the following year. She then served as an administrative law attorney with the Baltimore City office of the Maryland Legal Aid bureau and later as a staff attorney for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in its Southern District. In 1999, Rawlings-Blake was elected to serve as vice president of the Baltimore City Council until 2007 when she became president. In 2010, Rawlings-Blake became Mayor of Baltimore after then-Mayor Sheila Dixon resigned. The following year, Rawlings-Blake was elected Mayor of Baltimore. In 2013, she became secretary of the Democratic National Committee and in 2015, she was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In 2016, Rawlings-Blake stepped down as the Mayor of Baltimore and founded SRB & Associates, a government relations firm. In 2017, she became a senior advisor of Dentons, a multi-national law firm.
Rawlings-Blake received the Shirley Chisholm Memorial Trailblazer Award from the National Congress of Black Women, Washington, D.C. Chapter in 2009. In 2010, she received the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence and was voted “Innovator of the Year” by The Daily Record. She was also voted among “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” by The Daily Record in 2007 and 2011. In 2012, she received the National Leadership Award in Public Service from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. The following year, Rawlings-Blake received the ICONS We Love Award from Baltimore Black Pride, was voted among the “50 Women to Watch” by the Baltimore Sun and received the First Citizen Award from the Maryland State Senate.
She also served chair for the Baltimore City Board of Estimates as well as chair and vice chair for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council Board of Directors. She co-chaired the UniverCity Partnership Initiative and served as a member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee; the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore; the Maryland Municipal League; the Baltimore City Board of Legislative Reference; and the Maryland African American Museum Corporation. Rawlings-Blake also served on the board of trustees for the Walters Art Museum and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, as a delegate for the Democratic Party National Convention and as secretary for the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.
Rawlings-Blake has one daughter, Sophia.
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 22, 2019.