Mississippi county’s first Black supervisor dies at 90

Aug 12, 2021, 1:17 AM | Updated: 2:24 pm

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Troubled by the fact that the only paved roads in his east-central Mississippi county tended to be in predominantly white communities, local official and dairy farmer George Curry sometimes took out equipment himself to ensure that roads would get paved in Black-occupied areas too, his granddaughter said.

Officials said fairness was always paramount to Curry, a trailblazing county supervisor who served as a mentor for future generations of African American politicians in Oktibbeha County after becoming the first Black person elected to the county’s Board of Supervisors.

Curry, who served on the board for 28 years beginning in the late 1970s, died Aug. 5 at the age of 90, according to The Commercial Dispatch. A cause of death was not reported.

Curry was involved in the NAACP and civil rights movement and was focused on ensuring that local Black citizens were receiving equal treatment, officials said.

“There was a growing sentiment among people in his district that they were being underserved,” District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer told the newspaper. “Mr. Curry took it upon himself … to run. It was, of course, a very difficult journey during that time because Oktibbeha County had not progressed as much as it has now. Therefore, you had a sentiment out there that was very reluctant and resistant to a Black man in that position.”

While he may have been soft-spoken, he always “carried a big stick,” said Curry’s granddaughter, Keina Tate.

Even though he had no previous political experience, “he kind of was asked to run by the community,” she told The Commercial Dispatch. “People thought he would be influential and help them with the issues that they were having in the community when they weren’t being heard.”

Two of his main priorities were infrastructure and road maintenance.

Tate recalled how, at one point during his tenure, her grandfather worked to tackle the disparities between roads in white and Black areas by taking county equipment out to particular areas to work on the roads himself.

Curry also worked to eliminate gerrymandering in the county voting maps, pushing through measures that redrew district lines to give Black people fairer representation.

Trainer, who viewed Curry as a mentor, said Curry paved the way for Black men like him to get elected. Serving two terms on the board together, Trainer said Curry showed him how to do his best to serve the people’s needs.

“He really opened the doors for Black elected officials in the county,” Trainer said. “Right now we have three Black men on the board. He worked hard to let people know that their vote really makes a difference.”

Curry was respected by both Black and white residents, Trainer said. He did the “behind the scenes work,” never performing tasks for credit but from the goodness of his heart.

“His life is summarized by service and giving it all he had and all he had he gave, and it was time for him to go from labor to reward,” Trainer said. “I thank God that we had the chance to know him, and we’ll forever remember him and look forward to sharing in his legacy.”

A memorial service open to all is scheduled Saturday at 11 a.m. at Unity Park in Starkville.

Tate said everybody looked to her grandfather for help.

“He always taught me to make sure that you leave something for another person,” she said. “Don’t always make things about yourself, but make sure that you leave a door open for another person to walk through.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Judge, pot shop robbery...
Associated Press

Washington state man charged in 34-year-old Wisconsin murder

A Washington state man has been charged in the 1988 slaying of a Wisconsin woman after he was identified using "familial DNA searching"
8 hours ago
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...
Associated Press

District to pay $5M over teen’s death at football practice

A Washington school district will pay $5.25 million to the family of a high school student who died from a heart attack during a 2018 football practice.
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Tennessee high school sports org votes to allow NIL deals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The rulemaking arm of Tennessee’s high school sports oversight organization has made a change that allows student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. A news release from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association says its legislative council voted for the change on Thursday, effective immediately. Students could receive […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UN rights chief: Protect ‘civic space’ for climate activists

BERLIN (AP) — The top United Nations human rights official said Friday that it’s important to protect the “civic space” for young environmental activists to highlight the urgency of tackling climate change. Volker Türk, who heads the U.N.’s human rights office, said that while the world still has a lot of work to do curbing […]
1 day ago
FILE - This Aug. 28, 2020, photo shows the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind. An unprecede...
Associated Press

The story so far: AP’s investigation into federal prisons

An ongoing Associated Press investigation has uncovered deep, previously unreported flaws within the federal Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department’s largest law enforcement agency, whose secrets have long been hidden within its walls and barbed-wire fences. The AP’s reporting has revealed layer after layer of abuse, neglect and leadership missteps — including rampant sexual abuse […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Guatemala turns over Salvadoran gang leader

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A Salvadoran gang leader who had escaped to neighboring Guatemala after El Salvador began a crackdown on gangs in March has been returned to his country by Guatemalan authorities. President Nayib Bukele touted the capture via Twitter Friday, writing “here the country is respected.” El Salvador accuses Eduardo Pérez, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Mississippi county’s first Black supervisor dies at 90