Mamie Wallace, revered Shreveport civil rights activist, dies at 96

Mamie Wallace, revered Shreveport civil rights activist, dies at 96
Source: Gwendolyn Barnes

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Revered civil rights activist Mamie Wallace passed away this weekend in Shreveport. She was 96.

Wallace played a major role in bringing the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the city in 1962, where he galvanized crowds and motivated the masses at Galilee Baptist Church to take a stand against racial injustice.

Gwendolyn Barnes, who was raised by Mamie, said her god mother was a graceful, elegant and passionate woman who wanted to unite people of all races.

"She was really good about saying, 'trust the heart of a person, don't go by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,'" said Barnes. "She wanted us to live together as one."

She also aided the famous Freedom Riders as they made their way through the Shreveport area by supplying food and water at the downtown bus station.

Following the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, Wallace marched down Milam Street in protest of the atrocity.

After President Barack Obama's historic election, Wallace had the opportunity to attend his inauguration, a moment she describes as "momentous."

"She said, 'I knew it would happen, I just didn't think I would live long enough to see it,'" said Barnes.

Barnes said it's up to us to carry on Mamie's illustrious legacy and to maintain her empathetic and compassionate spirit.

"We can start by loving one another and respecting each other and not judging," said Barnes. "Love colors a multitude of sin."

Wallace leaves behind 2 nieces, whom she also raised.

The NAACP Shreveport Branch issued a statement:

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Shreveport Branch pause to reflect and honor the legacy of Mamie Love Wallace, a God-fearing woman, an esteemed and respected well-known local Civil Rights Activist.  Ms. Mamie, 96 of Shreveport passed on Sunday, April 22, 2018 after a life committed to justice and freedom for all.  With a career as a Cosmetologist Ms. Wallace and her friend Ann Brewster (civil rights activist) opened and co-owned Modern Beauty Shop with Ms. Bernice Smith serving with them also were instrumental in changing course of Black/African American's civil rights in Shreveport.  Ms. Wallace joined the NAACP very early in life.  Ms. Mamie was very upset about the fact that African-Americans could not dine at most restaurants, drink at certain water fountains or try on clothing in stores.  She picketed Stan's Record Shop, sat in the bust station when the "Freedom Riders" came through with food and drinks for them and also participated in a march down Milam Street to protest the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, in Alabama.In 1958 she met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Ralph Albernathy in New Orleans, Louisiana and the North Louisiana Civil Rights birth began.  

Mamie's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. this Thursday at Sunrise Baptist Church in Shreveport.

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