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Photo of Senator Marilyn Moore.


Marilyn Moore

Honesty & Integrity

Celebrating Black History: Margaret Morton Nominated to CT Women’s Hall of Fame

In celebration of Black History Month, I nominated Margaret E. Morton, the first African-American woman elected to serve in the state legislature, to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

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Born in Pocahontas, Virginia in 1924, she was the granddaughter of a former slave. After marrying James Morton, a Tuskegee Airman, the two moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the 1950s the couple started what became a very successful small business, Morton’s Mortuary, which Margaret managed in its formative years. In 1957, she organized a protest in Bridgeport against F.W. Woolworth’s segregated lunch counters in the South.

In 1972, at the age of 48, Margaret pursued a run for the state House of Representatives. She won that seat, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in the Connecticut General Assembly. She served in the House for four terms. In 1980, Margaret challenged the established Bridgeport Democratic party by running against the incumbent state senator in a primary. She won that primary by eight votes, and after a lengthy court battle with city Democrats, Margaret went on to win the general election to become the first African-American woman elected to the Connecticut State Senate. Margaret served six terms in the Senate and ascended to the position of Deputy President Pro Tempore in 1990. She was the highest-ranking black woman in legislative history when she retired from the Senate in 1992.

Her motto was, “A woman's place is in the House and the Senate too.” With quiet determination, Morton fought prejudice and racism and worked to empower people that society had not forgotten, so much as “ignored,” as she put it.

Senator Morton passed away in 2012. That same year, the original Bridgeport City Hall was renamed the Margaret E. Morton Government Center.

It was my honor to stand in support of the late Margaret E. Morton’s nomination to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame for her extraordinary service in state government and her commitment to advancing the priorities of our communities of color.

Calling on Women of Color to Get Involved in Government Service

As the first African-American woman elected to the state legislature, Margaret Morton laid the foundation for other women of color to serve as a voice for their residents. But it is up to Connecticut’s current and future female leaders to carry out her legacy. To ensure that every issue facing women – regardless of their age or race – is represented at the Capitol, it is vital that more women of color run and are elected to state office. By having an elected group of lawmakers that is a true reflection of the demographics they represent, the legislature can begin to address issues in a more equitable and fair way.