Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Press Release, Saturday, January 30, 2016

Media Contact; Victoria Stephens, mobile phone-502.641.0760. Please call this number if you would like to speak with Executive Director John J. Johnson this weekend.

Upon the Death of Kentucky Retired Senator Georgia Davis Powers

That great lady, retired Kentucky Senator Georgia Davis Powers, died in the early hours of this morning. She was 92-years old.

Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John J. Johnson said:

“Kentucky turns a page in its history book today. It is in honor and with deep appreciation that we observe the passing of Senator Georgia Davis Powers.

“The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is so very saddened, and we are so very proud of Georgia Davis Powers.

“I, personally, am grieved at the loss of my friend and ally in the struggle through many years for equal rights and equal opportunity.

“Senator Powers was one of our greatest civil rights leaders and one of the grand women of this and the last century from our state. We have lost a cherished, beloved Kentucky daughter and a champion.

“Senator Powers was a brave and fearless African American and female leader for civil rights at a time when basic rights were withheld from African Americans and when women of all races were fighting their way toward equality in our state and country. From the days of segregation, throughout her 21 years as a state senator, after her retirement from the senate, and until her last days, she was a well-known and respected force for equality and people in need.

“She was a key leader in the fight for the end of segregation, for integration in public accommodations, housing, employment, education, for the right of African Americans to vote. She worked for the rights of women on several fronts, for the rights of people who are disabled or ill, and for the rights and needs of the disenfranchised and the poor.

“Georgia Davis Powers forged her way in the Kentucky Capitol in 1967 as the first African American and the first female Kentucky senator. She spoke with eloquence, the strength of conviction, and she became a master politician. She sponsored the open housing law, which passed in 1968, making Kentucky the first state in the south to have a state-level fair housing law.

“She served alongside fellow legislators and officials with dignity, she garnered respect, and she carried with her a singular grace.

“She was feisty, witty, elegant, and she meant business.

“After her retirement, she continued to fight just as hard for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. She spoke at our events, championed our authority as the state enforcer of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, the Act for which she had fought so hard until it passed in 1966. She spoke for our need to be fully equipped to carry out our job. She supported and worked with us in our efforts to educate people about the human and legal rights to equality and the necessity to eradicate still existing discrimination and prejudice.”

The senator is an inductee of the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame and an inductee of the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians.  

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