Unita Blackwell

Unita Blackwell

Birth
Mississippi, USA
Death 13 May 2019 (aged 86)
Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 199114499 · View Source
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Politician and Activist. She began her civil rights activism in the 1960s when she joined the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, formed to protest the exclusion of African American votes in Democratic state primaries. In 1964, she and six other African Americans attempted to register to vote at the courthouse and was harassed by local farmers. After three attempts over several months, she was able to register to vote. In 1976, she helped Maryville, Mississippi, win its charter and she became its mayor. As the first African American woman mayor in the state, she served five terms, from 1976 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 2001. She was the founder of US China Peoples Friendship Association, a group dedicated to promoting cultural exchange between the United States and China and took part in sixteen diplomatic trips to China. In 2006 she published her autobiography "Barefootin: Life Lessons from the Road to Freedom'" which documented her activism. She was featured in the movie "Standing On My Sister's Shoulders" which detailed the experiences of the women behind the civil rights movement in Mississippi. She was named as fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, received a Master's Degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1983, won the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 1992, was the recipient of an honorary doctor of law from the University of Massachusetts in 1995, was recognized by the University of Massachusetts for her abilities and philosophy of life-"to educate by doing and being," and received the For My People Award, presented by Jackson State University. She died in Biloxi, Mississippi from complications of dementia.

Bio by: Apollymi


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: ROBERT
  • Added: 14 May 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 199114499
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Unita Blackwell (18 Mar 1933–13 May 2019), Find A Grave Memorial no. 199114499, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Burial Details Unknown.