From left: Vi Lyles, Beverly Earle, Ella Scarborough and Sarah Stevenson.
Feb. 6, 2018
A panel of five woman were at Belmont Center this morning as the Forum opened Black History Month with a wide-ranging discussion that focused not so much on celebration of these women’s victories and accomplishments, but on how to move the community forward from the place where they helped move it to today.
The five have served the community both in a variety of local elective positions, and in countless other ways. County commissioners vice chair Jim Puckett said that the success of all five is in part attributed, he said, to their skill at listening well. The five:
– Beverly Earle was the first black woman elected to represent a Mecklenburg district in the N.C. House. In addition to numerous “first” in legislative leadership positons, she was the first woman to chair the Legislative Black Caucus.
– Vi Lyles, who introduced herself, to great laughter, as “the first retired governmental employee to serve as mayor of Charlotte,” is the first black woman to serve as Charlotte mayor.
– Dr. Wilhelmenia Rembert was the first black woman elected to an at-large seat on the Mecklenburg County Commission. She was the first black woman to serve as Mecklenburg Commission vice-chair. She was the first black woman to serve as CMS Board of Education chair. And, during the Q&A, the audience learned that she was the first black woman invited (after a harrowing seven or so interviews) to join Charlotte’s Junior League.
– Ella Scarborough was the first black woman to serve on Charlotte City Council. She is the first black woman to chair the Mecklenburg County Commission.
– Sarah Stevenson was the first black woman elected to the CMS Board of Education.
The panel had been crafted to focus on black women serving locally. U.S. Rep. Alma Adams on Monday asked to participate, and she spoke briefly via a cell phone connection.
The estimate for total attendance Tuesday was the largest for any Forum since such records began being kept in 2007.
In the video below, the presentation begins at minute 14:40. The Q&A begins at minute 30:55.