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Geraldine Ferraro, America’s Italian Politician

Born on August 26, 1936, to first-generation Italian seamstress, Antonetta L. Ferraro and an Italian immigrant from Marcianse, Campania, Dominick Ferraro, Geraldine Ferraro became an American Politician, diplomat, and attorney. Ferraro grew up in New York City, working as a public school teacher while training to become a lawyer. She joined the Queens County District Attorney's Office in 1974 as the head of the new special victim's bureau. As the head of this new department, she handled cases dealing with sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. 

In 1978, Ferraro was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, rising through the ranks of her party while focusing on bringing equality to women. She helped bring women equality through wages, pensions, and retirement plans. Her success as a representative landed her a spot as Walter Mondale's running mate in the 1984 U.S. election. She became the first Italian American to be a major party national nominee. The Mondale-Ferraro ticket lost to the Reagan-Bush campaign in a landslide. This was not the end of Ferraro's political run, however. 

Ferraro ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992 and in 1998 as the front-runner in the elections. During the Clinton Administration, she served as the Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1993 until 1996.

Ferraro has been awarded several honorary degrees from the 1980s through the early 1990s from colleges like Marymount Manhattan College, New York University Law School, and Virginia State University. In 1994 Ferraro was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2007, the Sons of Italy Foundation awarded Ferraro with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

On March 26, 2011, Ferraro died of multiple myeloma, 12 years after she was diagnosed with it. 

AJ Forrisi

Assistant Editor for America Domani, AJ Forrisi is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on food, travel, sports, landscapes, and urban scenes. You can find him on Instagram @aj.photo.works

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