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Eleanor Holmes Norton (born June 13, 1937) is a Delegate to Congress representing the District of Columbia. In her position she is able to serve on and vote with committees, as well as speak from the House floor. However, she is not permitted to vote on final passage of any legislation because she is not a full member of Congress.
Eleanor Holmes was born in Washington, D.C. to Coleman Holmes, a civil servant, and Vela Holmes née Lynch, a schoolteacher. She attended Antioch College (B.A. 1960), Yale University (M.A. 1963) and Yale Law School (L.L.B 1964).
While in college and graduate school, Norton was active in the civil rights movement and an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. By the time Norton graduated from Antioch, she had already been arrested for organizing and participating in sit-ins in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Ohio. While in law school, she traveled to Mississippi for the Mississippi Freedom Summer and worked with civil rights stalwarts like Medgar Evers. Norton's first encounter with a recently released, but physically beaten Fannie Lou Hamer forced Norton to bear witness to the intensity of violence and Jim Crow repression in the South. Her time with SNCC inspired her lifelong commitment to social activism and her budding sense of feminism. In the early 1970s, Eleanor Holmes Norton was a signer of the Black Woman’s Manifesto, a classic document of the Black feminist movement.