Florence Pendleton, D.C. Statehood Advocate and First Shadow Senator, Dies

Florence H. Pendleton, who championed statehood for Washington, D.C., and was the first elected “shadow” senator for the city, died Sept. 10 in Georgia. She was 94.

Elected in 1990 to the newly created post to advocate for D.C. issues in the Senate, Pendleton served as a principal in the D.C. public schools before becoming the first African American woman to gain a seat, although unofficially, on the U.S. Senate. She represented the city’s interests as a lobbyist and advocate.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) issued a statement on her death, noting that she and Pendleton won their congressional posts in the same year, along with Rev. Jesse Jackson creating the city’s first Capitol Hill delegation.

“Florence was a distinguished principal in D.C. Public Schools who further distinguished herself as the District’s first shadow senator, which she served as for three terms. I will always remember Florence as a friend,” she said. “Our city will remember this year, the year the House passed our D.C. statehood bill, with gratitude for Senator Pendleton’s service to the District of Columbia.”

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