Stacey Abrams is a lawyer, politician, author, the first African American female major-party gubernatorial nominee, and the first African American woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union Address.
Abrams was born on December 9, 1973 to Reverend Robert (former dockworker) and Reverend Carolyn Abrams (former librarian), in Madison, Wisconsin. The family spent time in Gulfport, Mississippi, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, where Abrams attended Avondale High, a performing arts school. In her junior year, she was selected for a Telluride Association Summer Program, which led to her being hired at age seventeen as a typist for a congressional campaign and a speechwriter. She graduated as the valedictorian from Avondale High and then matriculated at Spelman College, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1995, with her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Political Science, Economics and Sociology). She then earned a Masters of Public Affairs degree in 1998 from the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1999.
Abrams returned to Atlanta after law school and worked as a Tax Attorney at the Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan law firm. In 2002, at the age of 29, Abrams was appointed the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta, leading a team of more than twenty attorneys and paralegals. Abrams was elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 2007, representing House District 84, and then House District 89, serving on the Appropriations, Ethics, Judiciary Non-Civil, Rules and Ways & Means committees. In 2011, Abrams became the Minority Leader, making her the first African American Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.
While a member of the General Assembly, Abrams co-founded and served as Senior VP of NOW Corp, a financial services firm; co-founded Nourish, a beverage company focused on infants and toddlers; CEO of Sage Works, a legal consulting firm; and founded the New Georgia Project in 2013, which submitted more than 200,000 voter registrations between 2014 and 2016. Abrams resigned in August of 2017 to focus on her gubernatorial campaign.
In 2018 Abrams won the Democratic nomination for Governor of Georgia, making her the first African American woman in the United States to be a major party nominee for that office. Abrams ran against Republican Brian Kemp, former Georgia Secretary of State. She lost the race 49% to 50% but refused to concede amid voter suppression tactics concerns. Her campaign subsequently filed a federal lawsuit and launched an organization called Fair Fight, to challenge Georgia’s entire electoral system.
Abrams is also an award-winning author of eight romance suspense novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery, and released the book Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change, in April 2018 under her own name. She received the 2012 Friend of Labor Award and has garnered recognition from numerous organizations including the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Urban League. Abrams is the recipient of the inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Affairs Her siblings include Dr. Andrea Abrams, Dr. Jeanine Abrams, and Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner.