Skip Content
U.S. Flag

Roland W. Burris

Roland Burris

Born in Centralia, Illinois, on August 3, 1937, Roland Burris (D-IL) earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a juris doctor degree from Howard University. After finishing law school in 1963, Burris became the first African American to work as a national bank examiner for the Treasury Department. When Burris was elected comptroller of Illinois in 1978, he was the first African American to win a statewide election in Illinois. After serving more than 10 years as comptroller, he became attorney general of Illinois. Appointed to the Senate on December 31, 2008, Burris filled the vacancy caused by the resignation of Barack Obama. He served in the Senate until November 29, 2010, a successor having been chosen in a special election. He was not a candidate for election to the unexpired portion of the term. (Photo: Senate Historical Office)