Georgia Powers

Powers Remembered as Kentucky Political Trailblazer

Feb 6, 2016
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Georgia Davis Powers' funeral turned into a celebration of a life that broke down barriers as a civil-rights icon and the first African-American woman elected to the Kentucky Senate.

The Courier-Journal reports the celebration Friday in Louisville included the reading of a letter from President Barack Obama and remembrances from religious leaders.

Powers died last Saturday at the age of 92.

Among those attending were U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

She helped organize civil rights marches in Kentucky, including the 1964 march in Frankfort to bring attention to the need for a law prohibiting discrimination in housing.

Powers served 21 years in the state Senate, fighting for African-Americans, women, the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised.

Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Former Kentucky state Sen. Georgia Powers has died.

Powers was the first African American and first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate, where she served for 21 years beginning in 1968.

She was 92.

Powers was born in Springfield in Washington County, but she grew up in Louisville. She became involved in social justice work during the Civil Rights Movement and helped organize the March on Frankfort in 1964.

The first bill she sponsored as a state senator was to provide equity in housing.

Powers lived most of her life in West Louisville and was a champion of its neighborhoods. A portion of Interstate 264 is named for her.

Former State Senator Georgia Powers, who was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, is scheduled to appear tonight at a "Kentucky Live" event hosted by WKU Libraries. Senator Powers, who was the first African American to serve in the Kentucky Senate, will attend a discussion about her career.