Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown may serve over 300 years behind bars after being convicted of 18 felonies.

BY KEISHA BELL | Visionary Brief

Seven counts of wire fraud. GUILTY.

Five counts of mail fraud. GUILTY.

One charge of conspiracy. GUILTY.

Three counts of filing false tax returns. GUILTY.

One count of corruptly obstructing tax laws. GUILTY.

One charge of scheming to conceal material facts on financial disclosure forms. GUILTY.

Meet Corrine Brown. Brown, a former congresswoman, faces the possibility of serving over 300 years behind bars after being convicted of 18 felonies.  She is awaiting sentencing.

Brown took congressional office in 1993 and became Florida’s first African American sent to Congress since Reconstruction.  Entering a historically white, predominantly male, high-powered arena as an African-American woman is commendable.  To remain there for 24 years is remarkable, especially in a nation that continues to struggle with accepting black women as “qualified” and capable of leading in non-domestic positions.

At the congressional level, only 10 United States Senators have been African American.  Two of these 10 have been women, namely Carol Moseley Braun and Kamala Harris.  Harris, the United States Senator from California, is the sole African-American woman currently holding said office.

In the other chamber, only 138 United States House of Representatives have been African American.  Thirty-six of these have been women.  Eighteen African-American women currently hold said office, noting that Mia Love made history by being the first black woman ever elected to Congress as a Republican.

Black women have unique experiences that provide opportunities to identify with many struggles of other demographics; however, such connections oftentimes do not fully nor explicitly manifest themselves in advancements for “the black woman.”

If not careful, she will easily find herself being an advocate for everyone but for her complete self.  This reality heightens the importance of being vigilant regarding the temptations designed to avert her attention from her individual progression but, more importantly, from the progress of a greater whole.


Like Brown, how many black women have lost focus and have compromised her community-related purpose to pursue an elusive self-centered “American Dream?”  It could happen to anyone.  Arguably, others are collectively able to dissolve the hit better.  Black women, as a whole, are not.

Keisha Bell is an attorney, author, and public servant.

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