Loretta Lynch takes her place in history on Monday as she is sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden as the first African American female U.S. Attorney General.
She replaces outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder who made history in his own right as the first African American to hold the position.
As Lynch takes her new role, the nation is learning more about her and her work in the legal system. Here are some things you should know about her:
She’s a Southerner
Born on May 21, 1959 in Greensboro, N.C., Lynch is from an epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement. The city was the site of many sit-ins in the 1950s and 60s. She grew up in the South’s early days of integration in the 1970s attending school with white students. In one article she described herself as a “nerdy” child always keeping her nose in books. Her mother being a librarian helped.
She’s a genius
Lynch once scored so high on a standardized test in elementary school that administrators demanded she take it again stunned that a Black child could perform so well. She scored higher on the retake. Lynch was also valedictorian of her high school class but was forced to share the title with two other students, one of them being white. She would go on to graduate from Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
She’s a preacher’s kid
Her father, Lorenzo, was a fourth generation Baptist minister and she went with him to watch court proceedings in Durham, N.C. sparking her interests in law. Her grandfather helped people move to the North in the 1930s to escape racism and lack of opportunities in the South at the time.
She’s serious about her job
There is no question that Lynch is beyond qualified for the position of U.S. Attorney General. Her résumé is nothing to sneeze at. While serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she oversaw prosecution of New York City police officers in the Abner Louima case. More recently, she met with the family of Eric Garner and prosecuted politicians Michael Grimm, Pedro Espada Jr. and William Boyland, Jr. If you’ve seen the 1990 film Goodfellas thank Lynch, the movie is based on one of her cases where she charged mobster Vincent Asaro in a major jewelry heist.
She’s known as “Soror Lynch” by many
If you don’t know by now, Lynch is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the nation’s largest Black Greek-letter organization for women. She was one of 11 women who co-founded the Xi Tau Chapter of the sorority at Harvard University in 1980. The wife of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, Dr. Sharon Malone, was also a co-founder of the chapter. Lynch helped build the sorority’s presence in the New England area at schools including MIT, Brandeis University and Wellesley College. During her senate hearings, members of Delta Sigma Theta were in the room proudly wearing crimson in support of her.
She’s a stepmom
Lynch married her husband Stephen Hargrove, a master control operator for Showtime, in 2007. While she has no children of her own, Hargrove has two from his previous marriage. She reportedly uses her married name in her personal life.
She’s a tennis player
In a 2008 article she said she plays tennis to “de-stress.”