Saint Louis, MO

Congresswoman Cori Bush honors St. Louis' Black leaders

George Vandervalk

St. Louis, MO – On July 22, Congresswoman Cori Bush commemorated and honored Black leaders Hazel Erby, Betty Thompson, and Dr. Henry Givens, Jr. These three leaders were former St. Louis County council members who had fallen and St. Louis had lost three outstanding members.

On the commemoration speech of the three Black leaders, Congresswoman Cori Bush stated, “Mama Hazel and Mama Betty were trailblazers — breaking down barriers for Black women and all Black people to be leaders in St. Louis and beyond. I would not be Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman without the doors they opened up for me.”

“Dr. Henry Givens, Jr. led Harris-Stowe State University for 32 years. His leadership transformed Harris-Stowe, the university I attended, from a small college with just one building into the nationally acclaimed HBCU that it is today.” She continued.

Hazel Erby, Betty Thompson, and Dr. Henry Givens had contributed many things through civil rights and education to the St. Louis region and across the country.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby or known as Mama Hazel will continue her legacy through her many accomplishments, one of them was her commitment to equity in government funding as well as her efforts in making her vision for St. Louis a reality.

Betty Thompson was the first Black woman to serve in the University City Council. She also opened opportunities for the next generation of Black woman leaders. Her passion will continue to be remembered as she worked hard to solve the issue of children with alopecia. Through her positive changes in her legislative efforts, she is able to support the children struggling with alopecia.

Dr. Henry Givens will also be remembered for his accomplishments and his commitment in education and was the first African American assistant commissioner for Missouri’s Department of Education. His dedication of leadership in fighting for equity for thirty years has made a positive impact in higher education.

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