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African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong

Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong

Judge Saundra Brown ArmstrongThe breadth of Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong’s accomplishments exemplified her ability to break down racial and gender barriers. In 1970, she became the first African American policewoman, and one of only seven policewomen in the Oakland, California police department. Three years later, she advocated for and was instrumental in the creation of equal hiring practices for women in the City of Oakland Police Department.

From 1983 to 1986, Armstrong held a number of positions at CPSC, including Commissioner and Vice-Chairman. Armstrong’s intellect, drive and attitude made her a change agent during her short time on the Commission. Her focus was on federal policy over consumer products, as well as the relationship between federal policymakers and state and local officials and standards development organizations.

“My sincere hope is that I can help foster a greater cooperative working relationship between the CPSC and the numerous state and local agencies…secondly, I would hope to foster and further encourage the voluntary standard process in a joint and non-adversarial way…”

-November 21, 1983

On June 21, 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Armstrong to the United States District Court. With her appointment, she became the first African American woman to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Armstrong is remembered by former Commission members as having a spirit of service and using her legal, law enforcement and product safety experiences to fight for equality.

Thank you, Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong.

This is the fifth of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/african-americans-in-consumer-product-safety-judge-saundra-brown-armstrong/

African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Edith Barksdale Sloan

Edith Barksdale Sloan: It Is Her Business to Protect Consumers 

Edith Barksdale SloanMrs. Edith Barksdale Sloan was described as very sweet, articulate and frank when it came to the work that needed to be done on behalf of consumers. “We’re here in the business to protect consumers from unreasonable risk of injury,” Sloan said in her statements upon election as Vice-Chairman in 1978.

Edith-Consumer-Education-SeBefore her appointment by President Jimmy Carter to the Commission, Sloan led the D.C. Office of Consumer Protection in its efforts to recall pajamas treated with a flame-retardant chemical, Tris, a suspected carcinogen. Her prior experience in regulating Tris was vital to CPSC as the Commission banned it in 1977 as a treatment in children’s sleepwear.

Children’s pajamas and flame retardants were not her only areas of concern. In a CPSC statement in 1978, Sloan said that she was “especially concerned about injuries caused when children play upon public playground equipment in the parks and school yards of this country.”

After her tenure with CPSC, she spent time with the Washington, D.C.  Law Firm of Fortas, Prokop and Hardman. She also served on the D.C. Consumer Claims Arbitration Board during the 1980s.

As a humanitarian, activist and lawyer, Sloan used her abilities and experience to educate and protect consumers from chemicals, flammable children’s clothing and other child dangers in and around the home.

Thank you, Mrs. Edith Barksdale Sloan.

This is the fourth of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/african-americans-in-consumer-product-safety-edith-barksdale-sloan/

African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Constance B. Newman

Constance B. NewmanConstance B. Newman: The Starting Five

Once the newly formed Consumer Product Safety Commission opened its doors in 1973, there was an immediate need for distinguished leadership, passion, and experience at the agency. Mrs. Constance B. Newman was a perfect fit for the job. She and David Pittle, Barbara Hackman Franklin, Lawrence M. Kushner, and Richard O. Simpson, were the “starting five” Commissioners.

Newman served as a Commissioner and Vice Chairman from 1973 through 1976. She is best known by her former colleagues as a passionate woman who focused on a broad range of product safety issues and took seriously her leadership role in a new and emerging agency.

Before her time with CPSC, Mrs. Newman was the Director of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Her extensive experience in developing and managing policies and programs for the federal government, the District of Columbia, and international organizations contributed greatly to serving minority and vulnerable populations, including African Americans and Native Americans.

As an Assistant Director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Newman focused on consumer issues for Native Americans and the elderly. She later co-founded the Newman and Hermanson Company, a consulting firm specializing in government regulatory procedures.

Newman’s time and dedication to consumer safety is remembered and appreciated.

Thank you, Mrs. Constance B. Newman.

This is the second of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/african-americans-in-consumer-product-safety-constance-b-newman/