The Evolution of Stacey Abrams

The Evolution of Stacey Abrams

The longtime politician has been a strong advocate for voting rights and is credited with improving voter turnout in Georgia.

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One of the many Black women who have shattered the political glass ceiling over the last couple of years, Stacey Abrams has been a major advocate and activist for voting rights and has led the fight against voter suppression in southern states.

Abrams is now running for governor in Georgia during the 2022 gubernatorial election. Needless to say, Abrams plans are to avenge her loss in 2018.

Here is her evolution as an activist, politician and person.

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Growing up in Mississippi

Growing up in Mississippi

Before Stacey Abrams was a political leader in Georgia, she was born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is the second of six siblings.

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Moving to Georgia

Moving to Georgia

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Her family moved to Atlanta, which allowed her parents to pursue graduate degrees at Emory University. She got an early foot in politics while working as a speechwriter for a congressional campaign when she was only 17.

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Spelman College

Spelman College

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Photo: John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AP)

After graduating high school, Abrams attended Spelman College and graduated magna cum laude in 1995. While in school she worked for then Atlanta mayor, Maynard Jackson, the first Black mayor in the history of Atlanta.

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Graduate school

Graduate school

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After graduating from Spelman College and earning a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, she studied public policy at the University of Texas earning her master’s degree in 1998 and in 1999 she earned a Juris Doctor from the Yale School of Law.

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Tax attorney

Tax attorney

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Abrams did not jump straight into politics, like many politicians, she became a lawyer. She worked as a tax attorney at a law firm in Atlanta.

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Writing career

Writing career

Although Abrams is a well-known politician, she is also a successful writer and up until 2021, she published work under the pen name Selena Montgomery. Her first book was written while she was still in law school at Yale University. Her most recent book, “While Justice Sleeps, was published in May 2021 and is being adapted for television.

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Getting started in politics

Getting started in politics

Abrams got started with her political career in 2002 at the age of 29 when she was appointed a deputy city attorney for the City of Atlanta, spawning the birth of her 20-year career working in politics.

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Georgia General Assembly

Georgia General Assembly

House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative, Stacey Abrams delivers a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative, Stacey Abrams delivers a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

Abrams ran for the 89th district of the Georgia House of Representatives and eventually won the primary election getting 51% of the vote. In 2010, she was elected by the Democratic caucus as the minority leader of the Georgia General Assembly. In 2017, after nearly 11 years working in the Georgia General Assembly, she stepped down to focus on her on the 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial race.

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2018 Gubernatorial campaign

2018 Gubernatorial campaign

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Abrams ran against Stacey Evans in the Georgia primary and won the democratic nomination, becoming the first Black woman in the history of the United States to be a major party’s nominee for governor. Her Republican opponent was nominee Brian Kemp, who eventually won the election narrowly.

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Legitimacy of election

Legitimacy of election

Georgia gubernatorial candidates (L-R) Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp debate in an event that also included Libertarian Ted Metz at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown October 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia gubernatorial candidates (L-R) Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp debate in an event that also included Libertarian Ted Metz at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown October 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: John Bazemore-Pool (Getty Images)

The legitimacy of the election was questioned by many, including Abrams. Kemp, who was the Georgia secretary of state and was in charge of elections and voter registration during the election, was accused of trying to make Black votes disappear. In his time as secretary of state, Kemp’s office canceled over 1.4 million voter registrations with nearly 700,00 in 2017.

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Fights against voter suppression

Fights against voter suppression

Former Democratic leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and founder and chair of Fair Fight Action Stacey Abrams testifies during a hearing before the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of House Judiciary Committee June 25, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a hearing on “Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights Act Since Shelby County v. Holder.”
Former Democratic leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and founder and chair of Fair Fight Action Stacey Abrams testifies during a hearing before the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of House Judiciary Committee June 25, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a hearing on “Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights Act Since Shelby County v. Holder.”
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

After her loss in the gubernatorial election, Abrams announced the creation of Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit organization that fights against voter suppression and looks to get as many people registered to vote as possible.

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Response to the State of the Union address

Response to the State of the Union address

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In February 2019, Abrams delivered the response to the State of the Union address, becoming the first African-American woman to give the rebuttal to address. She was also the first person to do so while not holding office.

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Role in 2020 presidential election

Role in 2020 presidential election

Former US Representative and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams speaks at a Get Out the Vote rally with former US President Barack Obama as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden on November 2, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Former US Representative and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams speaks at a Get Out the Vote rally with former US President Barack Obama as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden on November 2, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP (Getty Images)

One of the biggest keys to Biden winning the 2020 presidential election was his victory in Georgia. Abrams led the effort to increase minority voters in the state with almost 800,000 new voters registering, most of them being minority voters.

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2022 Gubernatorial campaign

2022 Gubernatorial campaign

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In December 2021, Abrams announced that she’s running it back for governor of Georgia which will most likely be a rematch against Kemp. She is currently the only Democratic candidate running for governor in Georgia.

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