Former Councilwoman Juanita Watkins was the first Black woman to represent a Council District in Southeast Queens. She was elected to the 31st District in 1991, where she served for three terms. Prior to being elected to the City Council, Watkins served as a delegate and member of the Democratic National Convention, a Democratic District Leader and Queens County Committee Chairwoman.
Prior to her political career, Watkins received her master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University and became an elementary school teacher in Queens. She later became an editor at McGraw Hill.
Watkins died in 2013 at the age of 78.