Ellison, Keith Maurice, 1963–, African-American politician, the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress; b. Detroit. A convert to Islam from Roman Catholicism while at Wayne State Univ. (B.A. 1986), he attended law school (Univ. of Minnesota, J.D. 1990), was active in civil-issues in Minnesota in the late 1980s and early 90s, and then worked as a criminal defense lawyer. Twice elected (2002, 2004) to the Minnesota house of representatives as a liberal Democrat, he first won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.