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This Day in Georgia History

April 26, 1886

William Levi Dawson Born

Black Illinois congressman William Levi Dawson was born in Albany, Georgia. After graduating from Fisk University, he moved to Chicago. During World War I, Dawson serve in the 365th Infantry, after which he returned to Chicago and became involved in Republican politics. In 1942, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would serve 27 years. In 1949, Dawson became chairman of the House Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments, which gave him the distinction of being the first African American to chair a congressional committee. Dawson died Nov. 9, 1970.