Carol Moseley Braun (born August 16, 1947), American politician and lawyer, was the first black woman elected to the United States Senate (representing Illinois). She was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
Moseley Braun was born in Chicago, Illinois and educated in the Chicago public school system. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 1969 and earned a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1972. As an attorney, she was a prosecutor in the United State's Attorney's office in Chicago from 1973 to 1977.
Moseley Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. There, she rose to the post of assistant majority leader before leaving the state legislature in 1988. That same year, she was elected as Cook County, Illinois recorder of deeds, a post she held for four years.
In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun became the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate; she was narrowly defeated for a second term in 1998. Following her election loss, she was appointed United States Ambassador to New Zealand, a position she held from 1999 to 2001.
She announced her intention to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in February of 2003. By early 2004, however, she was polling at only about one percent in the critical states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and her campaign was thousands of dollars in debt. Less than a week before the Iowa caucuses, Moseley Braun dropped out of the race and endorsed Howard Dean.
Moseley Braun is divorced and resides in Hyde Park, Chicago.