Remembering Topeka-born Charles Curtis, first U.S. vice president of color

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kamala Harris made history on Saturday by becoming the first women vice-president, first Black, South Asian American vice-president-elect. However, she is not the first vice president of color.

The first was Charles Curtis, born in Topeka. He served under President Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933 as the first Native American vice president. Curtis used his mixed race as a White person to have the ability to run for office, according to Kansas historian Deb Goodrich.

“As a nation we’re in a better place today, that you don’t have to choose one or the other, that you’re both and you can embrace both,” Goodrich said. “You can embrace all of who you are and not have to diminish one piece of who you are to get ahead.”

Curtis tried to fight for Native American rights while in office, but due to the times, it was seen as controversial, according to Goodrich.

Curtis also served as the Shawnee County attorney, and held a U.S. Senate seat prior to becoming vice president.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories