The African American lawmaker is leaving Congress after 35 years in politics, a mentor to generations of black politicians and a consensus-builder who bridged ethnic boundaries.
It was just 6 a.m. on most mornings when the teenager would board a city bus and startle sleepy passengers by loudly announcing that his cousin, Diane Watson, was getting on. Then the teacher and school psychologist, an imposing African American woman standing 6 feet tall in heels, would sweep down the aisle, repeating her name three times and telling anyone half-listening that she was running for the Los Angeles school board and was "out to meet the people."
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