Burris, Roland W. (1937-) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Name: Burris, Roland W. (1937-)
Historical Note: Roland W. Burris was born in Centralia, Ill. on August 3, 1937. He graduated from Centralia High School and Southern Illinois University Carbondale (1959), studied international law at the University of Hamburg, and received a law degree from Howard University (1963). He was vice president of Continental Illinois National Bank before being appointed by Governor Dan Walker as director of the Illinois State Department of General Services in 1973, a position he held until 1976. After an unsuccessful bid in 1976, he was elected Illinois state comptroller in 1978, the first African American to be elected to statewide office. He was reelected twice to that position. In 1990 he was elected Illinois Attorney General, a position he held until 1995. He ran unsuccessful campaigns for the Democratic nomination for U. S. Senate in 1984 and for Illinois governor in 1994, 1998, and 2002. In 2008 he was appointed to the U. S. Senate to fill the remainder of the term of President-elect Barack Obama. He did not run for re-election in 2010. In the Senate he served on the Armed Services, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Veterns Affairs Committees.
Sources: Senater Historical Office, "Preface," Roland W. Burris: United States Senator from Illinois: Oral History Interviews (Washington, DC, 2010).
Note Author: Walter D. Ray