NATCHITOCHES, La. (KSLA) - In the 300-year history of the city of Natchitoches — Betty Sawyer-Smith is a woman of firsts.
She was the first woman and African-American to become the city councilwoman-at-large/mayor pro-tem in the city.
“I think we have come a long way but we still have a long way,” Sawyer-Smith said. “We have so much work to do as for females we are left out a lot of times. I said to myself, men build houses but women make it a home, but we have come out of the kitchen now, and I think our voices need to be recognized, we have a long way to go for woman and all people of different races.”
Sawyer-Smith, a native of Baton Rouge and graduate of Northwestern State University, was the first African American to work as the Secretary to the Judges of the 10th Judicial Court.
She held that position, retiring after working for over 34 years.
“I was the first, straight out of college, I have worked with several other judges over the years,” Sawyer-Smith said. “I did so many things but one of my mine things was helping people who came through that office and help with dignity. Blacks were not represented in that way, blacks just didn’t have a voice and not represented in that capacity being in that office and make a decision that affects people’s lives so to speak.”
Sawyer-Smith, a mother of two and grandmother of four, is a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church, serving as a lay leader. In addition, she is also a substitute teacher for the Nathcitoches Parish School Board and is a certified foster parent.
She is a member of the Natchitoches Parish Voters and Civic League, NAACP, a board member and former secretary for the Council on Aging, Board member and treasurer for the Natchitoches Fuller Center for Housing.
Sawyer-Smith is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.