Yvonne B. Miller
Yvonne B. Miller 2008-08-25.jpg
Yvonne B. Miller at the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 5th district
1988 – July 3, 2012
Preceded by Peter Babalas
Succeeded by Kenny Alexander
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 89th district
Preceded by Bob Washington
Succeeded by Jerrauld Jones
Born Yvonne Bond
July 4, 1934
Edenton, North Carolina, U.S.
Died July 3, 2012 (aged 77)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Residence Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Alma mater Norfolk State University
University of Pittsburgh
Profession Educator, politician
Committees Transportation (chair); Commerce and Labor; Finance; Rehabilitation and Social Services; Rules
Religion Church of God in Christ
Yvonne Bond Miller (July 4, 1934 – July 3, 2012) was an American politician in Virginia. A Democrat, she was the first African-American woman to be elected to the state house when she won in 1983. Four years later, she was elected to the state Senate, and was consistently re-elected after that, dying in office.
1 Personal life
2 Political career
Miller was born in 1934 as Yvonne Bond in Edenton, North Carolina, the eldest child of thirteen, to John T. and Pency C. Bond; she was raised in Norfolk after her family moved there. She attended local public schools, which were then segregated by state law.
Bond attended all-black Norfolk Division of Virginia State College, a historically black college (now Norfolk State University), for two years. She completed a B.S. degree in 1956 from the segregated, all-black Virginia State College (also a historically black college) in Petersburg, now Virginia State University. While in college, she became a lifetime member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority.
She began as a teacher in the Norfolk Public Schools, then segregated by state law imposed in the late 19th century.
She was a young teacher during the era when the US Supreme Court ordered desegregation of public schools as a constitutional issue, and the white-dominated Virginia state legislature and school districts promoted "massive resistance" to the ruling. This was a formative experience and she supported civil rights during her career.
Miller later earned an M.A. degree in the summer Teacher's College program at Columbia University in 1962 and a Ph.D in education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. She joined the education faculty at Norfolk State, becoming a professor and head of the Department of Early Childhood/Elementary Education. In 1999 she retired and was named Professor Emeritus.
Miller began to get involved in politics, joining the Democratic Party. She brought her concerns for education and minority rights to her political career, where she was known as an "outspoken advocate for Virginia’s poor and minorities in the General Assembly". In 2012, she spoke out against efforts by the state legislature to require voters to bring new identification documents to polling places, likening it to Jim Crow-era requirements intended to suppress black voting.
She made news in 1983 as the first black woman to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, serving two terms from 1984–88. In 1987 she ran and was elected to her first four-year term in the Senate of Virginia. The first African-American woman in Virginia to serve in each house, she was consistently re-elected to the Senate and died in office.
Miller most recently represented the 5th state senate district, which since 1971 and a redistricting, has been made up of parts of the independent cities of Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
At the time of her death, Miller was the longest-serving woman in the Virginia Senate, ranking 4th in overall seniority. She gained a seat on the budget-writing Finance Committee. Due to repeated re-election, she gained seniority and in 1996, she became the first woman to chair a Senate committee, gaining the chair of the Transportation Committee.
Miller was a lifetime member and an Evangelist Missionary in the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., and a lifetime member of the NAACP. On July 3, 2012, Miller died in her Norfolk home from stomach cancer, one day shy of her 78th birthday.