MY TURN: Remembering Maxine Smith - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MY TURN: Remembering Maxine Smith

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Leadership means showing the right way by going first, and using that definition, there's no other way to think of Maxine Smith other than as a great leader. Mrs. Smith died Friday. She will be remembered as a pioneering civil rights icon. Her friends described Mrs. Smith as a brilliant strategist and a trailblazer. She and her husband, Vasco Smith, were members of a generation of African-American leaders who changed the status quo in Memphis.

How big a difference did they make? Mrs. Smith was turned away when she tried to enter Memphis State as a student in 1957. A few decades later, she was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents, the governing board for the school that refused to admit her. Three years ago, Mrs. Smith was awarded an honorary degree - a doctor of letters - from that same school. The change in attitudes in our community that permitted her progress was a direct result of her own hard work and the dedication of others in her generation. It's hard to watch them pass, but they have left us a better place.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment or anything else, email or call 800-465-1210.

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