Before being elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1987, this Democratic Party politician was employed as a Chicago Public Schools administrator and teacher.
After graduating from Calumet High School, she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education from Chicago State University and pursued additional coursework at Roosevelt University.
In 2003, while in the Illinois Senate, she worked closely with then-United States Senator Barack Obama on a pair of successful bills.
Before ending in divorce, her marriage to Robert Davis produced a son and a daughter.
She was defeated by Jesse Jackson in the 1995 Democratic primary to fill scandalized politician Mel Reynolds' Illinois seat in the United States House of Representatives.