On the Passing of Senator Yvonne B. Miller

On the Passing of Senator Yvonne B. Miller

First African-American Woman Elected to the Senate Dies of Cancer

(Richmond, VA) – Today Senator Yvonne Miller of Norfolk passed away after serving in the Virginia legislators since 1984.  Surrounded by family, Senator Miller passed away at her home in Norfolk.

 “This woman lived a long and full life.  She has lived through the best and the worst this country has to offer and made contributions that made it a lot better,” said Democratic Senate Leader Dick Saslaw (Fairfax).

 A native of Edenton, N.C., Yvonne Miller was the oldest of 13 children.  She worked as a first grade teacher in Norfolk until Virginia’s policy of “Massive Resistance” was implemented.  She then went on to earn her Master’s degree at Columbia College and teach at Norfolk State University until 1999 when she became Professor Emeritus.  Later she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.

 Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Donald McEachin (Richmond) said, "Yvonne Miller dedicated her life to making the world a better place.  She did not hesitate to speak truth to power, and to remind us all of our principles and values. As the senior member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Yvonne was our soul and our conscience. I miss her terribly already."

 “The Commonwealth of Virginia has lost a great Virginian, a great legislator, and a great humanitarian. Senator Miller’s was a powerful voice that spoke most eloquently to the mission of assisting the underrepresented and underserved.  Her irreplaceable voice will be truly missed by all who knew and loved Yvonne B. Miller.  She was and will forever remain a giant among women and a role model for us all,” said Sen. Mamie Locke (Hampton), Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

 Aside from being the first African-American woman elected to the Virginia Senate (1987), she was the female Senator with the longest term of service in the General Assembly, the first woman to chair a Senate committee and the first woman to serve in Virginia House of Delegates (1984-1987).

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