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Harold Ford Sr. owns the distinction of being the first Black politician to represent the state of Tennessee for the U.S. Congress. The Memphis native was born May 20th, 1945.

Ford was raised in the West Junction neighborhood in South Memphis. He followed in the footsteps of his undertaker father by joining the family business after earning his undergrad degree at Tennessee State University and his mortuary science degree from John A. Gumpton College in Nashville. In 1982, he also completed his MBA at Howard University.

The first foray into politics for Ford took place in 1970 when he was elected into the Tennessee House of Representatives, one of the youngest members of the state assembly and one of its few African-Americans. He served two terms and in 1974, he outworked his Republican incumbent opponent for the state’s 8th District seat, taking office in January 1975. In January 1983, Ford moved to oversee the 9th District, serving until his retirement in 1997. He and was succeeded by his son, Harold Ford Jr.

The Alpha man has stayed relatively quiet since leaving office, enjoying his retirement in his home state and in Miami, Fla. Ford has been married twice. His first union with Dorothy Boyles produced three children, Harold, Newton Jake, and Sir Isaac Ford. With his second wife, Michelle Roberts, the couple had Andrew and Ava Ford.

PHOTO: U.S.Congress/Public Domain

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