Ky. Civil Rights Leader Georgia Davis Powers Dies

Powers fought to end racial segregation as a young woman before making history as a state legislator.

Former Kentucky state senator and civil rights leader Georgia Davis Powers discusses the 1964 civil rights march in Frankfort, Ky. She died Jan. 30 in Louisville, Ky.
Former Kentucky state senator and civil rights leader Georgia Davis Powers discusses the 1964 civil rights march in Frankfort, Ky. She died Jan. 30 in Louisville, Ky. YouTube screenshot

Georgia Davis Powers, a leading figure in the struggle for racial equality in Kentucky, died at age 92, the Associated Press reports.

Powers reportedly passed away Saturday at her brother’s home in Louisville, Ky.

Her longtime friend Muhammad Ali said, “She was fighting for equality for all people while I was still fighting for my first Golden Gloves title.”

Ali, a Louisville native, added, “Senator Powers leaves behind a rich legacy of civic engagement and social justice.”

Her passion for justice started early. She chose—as a teenager—to quit her job at a five-and-dime store when ordered to tell black customers they couldn’t eat at the lunch counter.

Powers was instrumental in organizing marches and establishing a civil rights organization that fought to end racial segregation, particularly in public accommodations, at the height of the civil rights movement.

In 1967 she became the first African-American woman elected to the Kentucky Senate. Powers continued her efforts toward equality from the state Legislature for more than two decades.

“She walked into the Legislature, a man’s world, a white man’s world, and she did not waver,” said Kentucky state Sen. Gerald Neal, who credits Powers with inspiring him to enter public service.

Neal continued: “When you think of civil rights in Kentucky, you have to start with Georgia Davis Powers.”

Read more at ABC News.

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