'Fearless crusader' Maxine Smith laid to rest - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Fearless crusader' Maxine Smith laid to rest

Posted: Updated:
  • News on WMCTV.comNewsMore>>

  • MPD officer charged with sexual battery

    MPD officer charged with sexual battery

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:17:45 GMT
    (WMC-TV) – An officer with the Memphis Police Department is charged with sexual battery that stemmed from events that happened during a traffic stop on February 11. While on duty, MPD Officer Meekos Evans,More >>
    An officer with the Memphis Police Department is charged with sexual battery that stemmed from events that happened during a traffic stop on February 11.More >>
  • 'Heal the Hood' looks at media's influence on children

    'Heal the Hood' looks at media's influence on children

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:08:52 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - Violence is a problem plaguing neighborhoods in the Mid-South. Now one local organization is taking a hard look at how media may influence that problem. This will be a very insightful weekendMore >>
    Violence is a problem plaguing neighborhoods in the Mid-South. Now one local organization is taking a hard look at how media may influence that problem.More >>
  • MPD could lose 100 more officers

    MPD could lose 100 more officers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:28:42 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - The Memphis police force needs officers. Director Toney Armstrong projects even more loss of man power than he is already experiencing. Right now his focus is getting more men and women in blue. "IMore >>
    Director Toney Armstrong projects even more loss of man power than he is already experiencing. Right now his focus is getting more men and women in blue.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The song of Maxine Smith's life echoed through Metropolitan Baptist Church Saturday as leaders came from near and far to pay respects.

"Maxine didn't just push the door," Mayor A C Wharton said. "She knocked the doors open."

They spoke of Smith's unwavering fight for integration.

"She broke through doors long closed to African Americans and paved a way forward for the future of our nation," said Roslyn Brock, chairman of NAACP's National Board of Directors.

AutoZone founder Pitt Hyde called her "a fearless crusader and a courageous drum major for social justice."

Smith helped integrate then Memphis State University and opened the door for African Americans to visit the Memphis Zoo, see the Peabody ducks and eat at lunch counters.

"Our world is a better place today because of her and I wanted to experience today," said Memphis defense attorney Leslie Ballin.

Smith encouraged African Americans to run for office.

"She made a way for me and all black elected officials in this city," Shelby County commissioner Melvin Burgess said. "What a fighter."

"I wouldn't be here and so many other people wouldn't be here," Criminal Court Judge Carolyn Wade Blackett said.

Smith campaigned to promote local businesses.

"Things changed because she spoke up and she stood up," said local business owner Deidre Malone.

"They used to turn out Melrose High School on Black Mondays and having walked with Doctor King, I know Maxine," Municipal Court Judge Earnestine Hunt Dorse said.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said Smith was "a great advisor."

"She was a national figure," Congressman Steve Cohen said. "She made Thomas Jefferson's words, "Life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness real."'

Maxine Smith was 83 years old.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV . All rights reserved.

 

Powered by WorldNow