With a degree in law and as a veteran lieutenant who served in the U.S. Army Infantry, Dawson was a man primed for a career in politics. So it’s no surprise that he made history in 1930 when he became the first Black Committeeman for the Congressional District of Illinois.
As the Civil Rights Movement waged forward, Dawson became well known for his political activism. He used his political power to sponsor voter registrations and support Black progress, and even turned down an offer for a federal government position in government to keep organizing for our voting rights.
While his health issues halted a long career, he used his time well. And during his stay in Congress, he not only made history but he also contributed plenty to the Civil Rights Movement and to the Black community.
For 27 years, William Levi Dawson served the longest term of any Black representative to date, until he suddenly passed away from pneumonia. Until his last breath, Dawson served our people. He’s the blueprint for what all Black politicians should be – down for OUR community.