LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With the inauguration just days away, we’re taking a look back at the legacy of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and how her California roots helped in her historic rise to power.
Long before Kamala Harris walked out to the music of Mary J. Blige for her historic acceptance speech as Vice President-elect, she was a daughter of California.READ MORE: Human Remains Found Off 91 Freeway In Cerritos
She recently spoke to CNN about her childhood in Oakland.
“The soundtrack of my childhood was Aretha Franklin singing ‘You are young, gifted and black.'” she told CNN.
She grew up in the upstairs unit of an apartment building, where she would be bused to her elementary school an hour away, during the desegregation of public schools.
It was a subject that gained headlines during the debates against then-candidate Joe Biden for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. And she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me,” Harris said during a debate.
Harris got a front-row seat to the civil rights movement of the 1960s because her parents would take her to demonstrations in a stroller.READ MORE: Hit-And-Run Crash Kills 14-Year-Old Boy Leaving Baseball Field In Apple Valley
Experiences like that led her to Howard, a historically black university, for her undergrad. Then, UC Hastings Law School.
She passed the bar on her second try before joining the San Francisco City Attorney’s office.
In 2003 she was elected: District Attorney.
As D.A., she faced criticism over her complex record on the death penalty and the enforcement of truancy law that punished the parents.
But she alo gained praise for a massive mortgage settlement with major banks in the wake of the Great Recession which she worked on with Joe Biden’s late son Bo.
She was then elected to the U.S. Senate.MORE NEWS: Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia Gives Support For Calif. Measure That Would Use Online Sports Gambling To Fund Homeless Services
In November, the Vice President-Elect wore suffragette white to honor women of the past.