In this Saturday, June 1, 2019 file photo, ex-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at an SEIU event before the 2019 California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention in San Francisco. Harris is only the second Black woman to serve in the Senate, and in 2020, a prominent contender for the vice-presidential ticket. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Kamala Harris
In this Saturday, June 1, 2019 file photo, ex-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at an SEIU event before the 2019 California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention in San Francisco. Harris is only the second Black woman to serve in the Senate, and in 2020, a prominent contender for the vice-presidential ticket. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Senator says it would “shape a future generation of Black girls” if Biden chooses a Black woman.

This is Part 1 of a Cardinal & Pine series, in which influential Black women leaders in NC talk about the possibility of a Black woman vice president. Read Part 2 here.

Of the leading candidates to be presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, more than half are women of color, according to several outlets. 

The pool includes notable lawmakers like California Sen. Kamala Harris and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, as well as New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Florida Rep. Val Demings, California Rep. Karen Bass, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and former national security advisor Susan Rice.

Cardinal & Pine wanted to know what that meant to some of NC’s most influential women of color, so we asked. 

Our first interview was with state Sen. Natalie Murdock. When she was elected in April, Murdock was the first Black woman under 40 to be elected to the state senate.  She takes over a seat that has a rich history in NC’s civil rights movement. Her predecessor, attorney Floyd McKissick, is the son of a civil rights icon in Durham. 

Natalie-Murdock
State Sen. Natalie Murdock (Image via Murdock’s campaign)

Murdock is a child of the movement too. Her grandmother marched with the Woolworth Four in Greensboro in 1960, a seminal moment for desegregation in the state. Her grandfather, a brick mason, owned one of the first Black-owned companies in Guilford County, Murdock says. And her father was a veteran and social worker once honored with the NAACP’s Man of the Year award. 

“I think it will shape a future generation of young Black girls so that they know that they really can dream the impossible dream and make it a reality.”

Sen. Natalie Murdock, D-Durham

Murdock served as the area’s soil and water conservative supervisor before running for state Senate. She’s the head of a Raleigh-based campaign consulting company too.

Here’s what Murdock had to say about the weight of Biden’s potential vice president pick:  

C&P: What would it mean to you symbolically if Biden selects a woman of color to be his running mate?

Natalie: I think that this is a historic event that has been a long time coming. Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Senator Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign in a lot of ways was an ode to Shirley Chisholm. 

I think strategically, it makes a lot of sense because Black women have been very loyal to the Democratic Party. The fact that (the candidates) are Black women is just an extra piece to make sure that voters will rally around them.

C&P: How do you think it will affect young Black women, particularly from the South?

Natalie: Speaking of Shirley Chisholm, I know there are so many young women that probably never would have even thought of running for any office, let alone Congress or president until she did it. It does mean so much to young girls to see someone that looks like them.

We also saw that with the Stacey Abrams race (for governor) in Georgia. To see a Black woman with natural hair run for governor in the South meant so much to so many young girls whom I’ll never talk to or meet, let alone the ones that I did meet. 

So, I think it will shape a future generation of young Black girls so that they know that they really can dream the impossible dream and make it a reality.

C&P: The Democratic ticket this year appears to be very diverse. How do you think Biden’s selection could affect upcoming elections in NC?

Natalie: I think that it sets things up very well for North Carolina. We have two Black women that are at the top of the ticket. Our lieutenant governor candidate is a Black woman and our commissioner of labor candidate is a Black woman. They were successful in their Democratic primaries. I think that shows that in the state of North Carolina, Black women can do well.