HOUSTON — Born January 1, 1939 in Booth, Texas is renowned civil rights leader Senfronia Calpernia Thompson. At an early age, Senfronia and her family relocated to Houston where she was reared and raised. After graduating from Washington High School she went on to attend Texas Southern University. It was there that she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and a Master’s degree in Education. She received a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and a Masters of Law degree in International Law from the University of Houston. During her college years she became a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. With a passion and desire to educate children, Senfronia went on to become a public middle and high school teacher. She also practiced law as a Houston attorney.
In 1972, Senfronia took her career in a totally different direction as she threw her hat in the race for State Representative. She was successful at her attempt and has since become noted as, one who upholds the highest ranks of any legislator in regards to her voting record on issues of concern to women, minorities, labor, consumers, reform advocates, domestic violence victims, the elderly, teachers and civil libertarians. Pursuant, she has served as State Representative representing the 141st District which consists of Northeast Houston and extends to the Humble area. The State Representative has served in this seat for 20 terms. Accordingly, she has had the honor of serving longer in the Legislature than any other woman or African-American in Texas history. In addition, State Representative Thompson has served on the advisory board of the United Negro College Fund and is the former Dean of Women Legislators in Texas.
In 1977, the State Representative used her own personal fund to convince the United States Justice Department to successfully sue Texas for discrimination in financing, hiring and admissions at Texas’ traditionally Black universities. This mission paved the way to create, a fund which served to improve facilities, libraries and faculty at Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern Universities.
State Representative Thompson has chaired both the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Women’s Health Caucus. For 12 years, she chaired the House Judicial Affairs Committees. In 1987, she chaired the first standing committee in the Legislature to have a female majority. The decorated State Representative has authored and passed more than 200 Texas laws, including Texas´ first alimony law, the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, laws prohibiting racial profiling, the state minimum wage, the Durable Power of Attorney Act, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the Sexual Assault Program Fund, the Model School Records Flagging Act, the Uniform Child Custody & Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, contraceptive parity, and scores of other reforms benefiting women, children and the elderly. Additionally, she has pushed through major reforms in child support enforcement, simplified probate proceedings, and complete overhauls of statutes dealing with statutory county courts and municipal courts. In 2005, she passed legislation requiring free testing for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), an early indicator of cervical cancer, for women who have health insurance. As it relates to ensuring that Houstonians have a voice to be heard loud and clear in Washington, State Representative Thompson has definitely played her part.
With 20 terms of experience, the State Representative has acquired a gallery of accolades and awards including but not limited to: being named by Texas Monthly as one of the “Top 10 Legislators” in 2001; selected as one of the Top Five House members by Gallery Watch in 2003; received the Matt Garcia Award from the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus in 2005, honored as an Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow by the Center for Policy Alternative, recognized as one of the Top Three legislators in family law four sessions in a row; awarded the Patient Care Champion Care Award from the Harris County Medical Society in 2011, presented with the Legislator of the Year Award from the Texas Family Law Foundation, acknowledged as one of the most outstanding legislators by Capitol Inside’s first All-Decade Team for 2000’s; and she is the only recipient of the Legislative Black Caucus´ Rosa Parks Award, to state the least.
State Representative Thompson is no stranger to confronting discrimination and prejudices imposed on members of the Black community. Thus, she has been at the forefront of every campaign against discrimination for over 40 years.
To date, State Representative Thompson chairs the House Local and Consent Calendars Committee and the Women’s’ Health Caucus. She is co-chair of the Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking. She is a member of the following organizations and committees: House Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee, the House Judiciary & Civil Practices Committee Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, Licensing and Administrative Procedures, Democratic National Committee, Redistricting, Energy Council, the Select Committee on State Sovereignty, Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the Texas Legislative Council, the Democratic National Committee, Women in Government and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative/Women,
Concluding State Representative Senfronia Thompson’s legacy is one built from strong principles of faith, an unwavering defense of freedom, and a staunch belief in fairness. She exemplifies the American ideal that one person can make a difference and that is exactly what she has done. She is the proud mother of two adult children, one grandson and one great-granddaughter.