Herman M. Holloway Sr., Delaware’s first African-American legislator
I came into office because he passed away, so I never knew him, but I have to do my best because of what he went through for people like me. He became the first black state senator at a historic time for African-Americans in 1963, then had to win the trust and respect of everyone in the Senate. He struggled to gain acceptance at a time when blacks and whites weren’t treated equally. I know it wasn’t easy, because some of the things he advocated for weren’t the most popular. Yet he managed to accomplish things like fair housing laws when people weren’t as sensitive about race issues as they are today. He was known as a great orator, and I believe he got things done because he was able to articulate our needs and stories so eloquently. He, as a single, unique person, increased benefits and opportunities for African-Americans. Officials named the state division of health and social services campus after him for his contributions to the well-being of all Delawareans, really. Giants like him don’t come along every day. He was like Martin Luther King Jr. and Louis Redding. When I think of what he accomplished over 32 years in the Senate, he is one of the icons.