More Black Folks You Must Know From The Biden-Harris Administration

US Vice President Kamala Harris meets with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.

Updated 06/04/2023 at 10:00 a.m. ET

We all know Kamala Harris made history when she became the first Black woman Vice President. But she’s far from the only Black person breaking barriers in the Biden-Harris Administration. Here’s a rundown of the Black folks past and present who’ve been holding down the oval office over the last few years.

Read more

Kamala Harris

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 19: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attends a game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks at Arena on May 19, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

We’ve obviously got to start with the woman who’s been with President Joe Biden since the campaign trail, Vice President Kamala Harris. She hardly needs much of an introduction. But as the Presidential campaign heats up, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of the powerhouse attorney.

Karine Jean-Pierre

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on May 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.

If you’ve watched a White House press briefing, you already know this addition to our list! Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre, a Martinican-born Haitian-American political strategist, joined the administration in May of 2022. She is the first Black person and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as White House Press Secretary.

Shalanda Young

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young testifies during a hearing before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill

We promised a list full of barrier-breaking White House officials, and we aim to keep our promises. Enter Shalanda Young, the first Black woman to run the massively powerful Office of Management and Budget. Young is hardly a newbie to politics or budgets, for that matter. She served as a staffer on the House Appropriations Committee for 14 years. And she ran the OMB as interim director before stepping in to fill the position full-time last spring.

Stephen Benjamin

President Joe Biden is greeted by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., left, as he arrives at Columbia Metropolitan Airport on Air Force One in West Columbia, S.C., Dec. 17, 2021.

Stephen Benjamin was brought into the White House earlier this year to serve as Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement. People may know Benjamin from his time as mayor of Columbia, South Carolina!

Marcia Fudge

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge speaks during the Freedman's Bank Forum in the Cash Room at the Treasury Department on October 04, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge speaks during the Freedman’s Bank Forum in the Cash Room at the Treasury Department on October 04, 2022

Marcia Fudge, a former Congresswoman turned Housing and Urban Development Secretary, may not have lobbied for the role, but she’s certainly made a splash shepherding the agency through the pandemic.

Kristen Clarke

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on March 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on combating the rise in hate crimes.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke has been tackling hate crimes head-on over at the Department of Justice! Clarke has been leading the offices’ Civil Rights Division since May of 2021.

Adjoa B. Asamoah

Adjoa B. Asamoah

Last year, the Biden-Harris White House appointed Adjoa B. Asamoah as racial equity czar for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her appointment marked a crucial moment in the administration’s promise to foster racial equity.

Cedric Richmond

Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, wears a protective mask as he participates in the mock swearing-in ceremony for Representative-elect Troy Carter, a Democrat from Louisiana, not pictured, in the Rayburn Room in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

We’ve been focusing on the powerhouse Black women in the Biden Administration but didn’t forget about the men. Cedric Richmond served as Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement before leaving last spring for a role at the Democratic National Committee.

Michael Regan

WILMINGTON, DE - DECEMBER 19: Nominee for EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, speaks at the Queen theater on December 19, 2020 in Wilmington, DE.

We told you we weren’t going to ignore the men behind the oval office! Micheal Regan made history as the first Black person to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, as the agency tackles climate change and the impacts of environmental racism.

Alondra Nelson

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - JANUARY 16: Alondra Nelson, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society, speaks during an announcement January 16, 2021 at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware.

Alondra Nelson may have left the White House, but she’s someone we had to have on our list. Nelson was acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, during arguably one of the most important times for that position. Bonus, she was the first woman of color to lead the White House’s Office of Science. Nelson then served as Deputy Director for Science and Society before leaving the position in February of this year.

Wally Adeyemo

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo arrives for a dinner for Latin American and Caribbean Finance Ministers at the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2023.

We obviously can’t leave off Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, especially when the economy is on all of our minds. Adeyemo is the number two official in the Treasury Department. He’s no stranger to politics, having served as national security adviser under President Obama.

Susan Rice

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 24: White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice listens during a White House daily press briefing at the James S. Brady Press Room of the White House.

Susan Rice hardly needs an introduction, but we’ll give her one anyway. Rice, the former national security adviser under Barack Obama, was tapped by Biden to run the White House Domestic Policy Council. Rice recently decided to step away from her role with the White House. Although with Rice, there’s always a good chance she’ll be back.

Richard Cesar

Richard Cesar

Richard Cesar, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S Department of Labor, might not be a household name. But this first generation Haitian-American member of the Biden-Harris Administration nabs a key spot on our list.

Michael Leach

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Michael Leach, Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at The White House.

Michael Leach, Special Assistant to the President and the White House’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Director, is a new face in politics. Before joining the White House in 2019, Leach worked in the NFL.

Keisha Lance Bottoms

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: White House Public Engagement Advisor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks a press briefing at the White House on January 13, 2023 in Washington, DC.

We can’t leave Keisha Lance Bottoms off our list! Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms served as White House Public Engagement Advisor for the Biden-Harris White House. She announced she was leaving the post in February to return to Georgia.

Cecilia Rouse

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse speaks during a daily news briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 10, 2023 in Washington, DC.

We can’t make this list without including former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse. Rouse was the first African American to hold the position. She departed the White House in March.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 24: U.S. Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield listens as Russian Foreign Minister and Security Council Acting President for the month of April Sergey Lavrov speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York City.

There’s no way to make this list without including Linda Thomas-Greenfield. The U.S Representative to the United Nations Ambassador and career diplomat more than earns her spot on our list.

Lloyd Austin

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - MAY 26: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin delivers remarks during the U.S. Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony at the Naval Academy May 26, 2023 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Don’t think we forgot about Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Austin is the first Black American to serve in the position. And he’s certainly had his hands full with the military’s racism problem.

C.Q Brown

UNITED STATES - MAY 3: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of the Air Force in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2023 and the Future Years Defense Program, in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Air Force Chief of Staff General C.Q Brown isn’t new to breaking barriers. Brown is the first ever Black American to lead a branch of the military. But now, he’s potentially stepping into a new role. Biden nominated him to chair the Joint Chiefs, which would make him the most senior uniformed leader within the United States Department of Defense. 

More from The Root

Sign up for The Root's Newsletter. For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.