Pioneering Women and Early Government Leaders

Patricia Harris

33-cent Patricia Roberts Harris stamp
The Patricia Roberts Harris stamp was issued January 27, 2000.

"If my life has any meaning at all, it is that those who start out as outcasts can wind up being part of the system."
—1977 confirmation hearing

Patricia Harris (1924-1985) was raised to believe that education was the means for success. She graduated first in her class in the Howard University law school and began a long, distinguished career as a lawyer, educator and public administrator. At Howard, she served as dean and professor as well as President Kennedy’s appointed chairperson of the National Women’s Committee. Harris’ work continued as she became the first female African American U.S. ambassador and the first African American woman appointed to a presidential cabinet.