Sharon Pratt Dixon was born on January 30, 1944 in Washington, D.C. to parents Carlisle Pratt and Mildred (Petticord) Pratt. Carlisle was a Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge. Mildred Pratt died of breast cancer when Sharon was four years old. Pratt’s father played a major role in her life by instilling certain values and encouraging her commitment to public service. Sharon Pratt attended public schools in Washington, D.C. and graduated with honors from Roosevelt High School in 1961.
Although she initially wanting to pursue an acting career, her father persuaded Pratt to attend Howard University where in 1965 she received a B.A. degree in Political Science. She then enrolled in Howard University’s School of Law. While in law school, she married Arrington Dixon in 1966 who later became a Washington, D.C. city councilmember. In 1968 Dixon earned her law degree and gave birth to their first daughter, Aimee Arrington Dixon. A second daughter, Drew Arrington Dixon, was born in 1970.
After she completed law school Dixon initially worked in private practice from 1971- 1976 where she was an associate in her father’s law firm, Pratt and Queen. Dixon focused on the rights of children in custodial cases, provided legal representation for juveniles, and became a leader in the emerging area of family rights law. In 1972, Dixon was named a Professor of Law at the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., a post she held for four years.
In 1976, Dixon began working for Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), the utility company for the Washington, D.C. area. Eventually becoming Vice President of Public Policy, Dixon was both the first woman and the first African American to hold this position. During her term, she created new programs to improve low-income D.C. residents and senior citizens. She also created new employment opportunities for Washington, D.C. residents by launching satellite branches of PEPCO.
Dixon was actively involved in the Democratic Party. In 1977 she was elected as the Democratic