Geraldine Anne Ferraro was born
in Newburgh, New York, on August 26, 1935. She
received her undergraduate degree from Marymount
Manhattan College (1956), and her law degree from
Fordham University School of Law (1960), going to
classes at night while teaching second grade
during the day.
After spending time in private
practice, Ferraro became Assistant District
Attorney for Queens County, New York, in which
capacity she served from 1974 to 1978, and where
she established the Special Victims Bureau.
In 1978, Ferraro was elected as
a Democrat to represent New York's 9th District
in the U.S. House of Representatives, and
subsequently served from 1979 to 1985. In
Congress, Ferraro sponsored the Women's Economic
Equity Act, ending pension discrimination against
women and providing greater job training and
opportunities for displaced homemakers. She was
not a candidate for re-election in 1984.
In 1984, Ferraro was chosen to
run as Vice-President of the United States on the
Democratic Party ticket, with former
Vice-President Walter Mondale
as the presidential candidate. The
Mondale-Ferraro ticket was unable to overcome the
immense popularity enjoyed by the incumbent
ticket of Ronald Reagan
and George Bush, however, and the Democrats lost
by a substantial majority.
In 1985, Ferraro published her
autobiography, Ferraro: My Story. She
was a Fellow of the Institute of Politics, John
F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University, from 1988 to 1992. In 1992, she
campaigned for the Democratic nomination for the
U.S. Senate, but lost a heated primary battle to
New York State Attorney Robert Abrams; she did,
however, place ahead of the Reverend Al Sharpton
and New York City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman.
In 1993, she was appointed to represent the
United States at the United Nations, and served
with the rank of Ambassador during her time in
that position. In 1998, she again ran for the
Senate, but finished second behind Congressman
Charles Schumer in the primary.
Ferraro was diagnosed with
multiple myeloma, the second-most common form of
blood cancer after leukemia, in 1998; she lost
her battle with that disease on March 26, 2011.
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