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Dawn Chambers

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Dawn Chambers
DawnChambers
Portrayed by Teyonah Parris
First appearance A Little Kiss, Part 2 (uncredited)
Final appearance Recurring
Details
Gender Female
Employer Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce
Occupation Secretary
Residence Near 69th Street, Brooklyn
Relations
Sibling(s) A brother

Dawn Chambers is currently Don's secretary at Sterling Cooper & Partners advertising agency. She was the first and only African American to work for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, after the merger she is joined by Phyllis as one of two African Americans working for Sterling Cooper & Partners.

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

After the executives at Young & Rubicam throw water bombs on African American protesters, Roger Sterling and Don Draper print an ad promoting Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce as an equal opportunity employer. A couple of dozen hopefuls arrive in the lobby and after learning that the company is only looking for secretaries the women, including Dawn, submit their resumes and she is hired as Don Draper's new secretary. [1]

During a late night at the office Peggy Olson finds Dawn sleeping there and she reveals that she has been sleeping there some nights because of the riots occurring in the city. Peggy invites her to sleep at her apartment but after she shows to be mistrustful of Dawn with her purse, Dawn leaves. [2]

In To Have and To Hold Dawn is shown to be her friend Nikki's maid if honor. She reveals that she wants to get married but that it's impossible to find anyone at her job. Later, Scarlett asks her to punch her time card out so she can leave early. Joan finds out and attempts fires Scarlett but leaves Dawn's fate up in the air, that night she vents to Nikki about how stressful the office is. The next day she apologies to Joan and asks Joan to dock her pay to cover the hours that Scarlett did not work. Instead Joan gives her the responsibility of monitoring the time cards and the supply closet.

When Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated Joan is concerned that she cannot reach Dawn. The next day she shows up to work informing a surprised Don and Joan that her phone went out the night before. After an awkward and unwarranted attempt of consoling by Joan, she informs Don that she wishes to remain at work. [3]

Sterling Cooper & Partners

As Don Draper's secretary, Dawn survives the merger with Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough. [4]

After Don decides to head to California he dictates the memo to Dawn, without realizing that it would directly effect her. With Don's temporary suspension from the company, Dawn's future is left uncertain.[5] However, we soon learn that Dawn remains at SC&P, as secretary to both Don and Lou Avery, who has been promoted to Creative Director.

In A Day's Work, Dawn and Shirley (Peggy's secretary and the only other African-American SC&P employee) meet while getting coffee, and in an exchange that reveals quite a bit about what it is like to be African-American and work at SC&P, they call each other by the wrong name. "Hello, Dawn," says Dawn to Shirley. "Hello, Shirley," says Shirley to Dawn. When Dawn is away from her desk, Sally arrives, looking for Don. Lou is extremely put out that Dawn was not there to keep him from having to deal with Sally, and he calls Joan to his office. He says that he knows Dawn "can't be fired," but he demands that Joan reassign Dawn. Dawn stands up for herself, telling Lou that it is his own fault she was not at her desk when Sally arrived, since she had to go shopping to buy his wife some perfume because he didn't do it himself – despite Dawn's reminders of his wife's upcoming birthday. Joan, highly annoyed by Lou's intransigence, reassigns Shirley (whom Peggy had asked to be reassigned) to Lou, and puts Dawn at the reception desk. This solution doesn't quite work out, as Bert Cooper tells Joan that he's “all for the national advancement of colored people, but [does] not believe they should advance all the way to the front of this office". When Joan is encouraged by Jim Cutler to leave her position as personnel director and move up to her own office, befits a partner who handles her own accounts, Joan finds the perfect solution and promotes Dawn to personnel director, satisfying Lou and Bert while also rewarding Dawn for her dedication.

Dawn continues to handle Don's correspondence in her new role, although she doesn't have time for some of his more unusual requests. She is later present when Don finally returns to work; he has difficulty remembering her new role, instinctively asking her to get him coffee and handing of his coat to her.

Quotes

Dawn: "Everybody's scared there! Women crying in the ladies room... Men crying in the elevator... It sounds like New Years Eve when they're emptying the garbage, there's so many bottles. And I told you about that poor man hanging himself in his office."
- Dawn venting to Nikki about the atmosphere at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in To Have and To Hold

"Hello, Dawn." To Shirley, in A Day's Work.

References

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