Honor Robert L. Williams Sr. today

Published 5:46 pm Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Honorable Robert L. Williams Sr. is commemorated for his dedication and contribution as a member of the Jefferson County School Board in 1966.

Williams later served as president of the Jefferson County School Board and, with distinction, he served on the school board for a total of 22 years.

He was truly Mississippi’s first African American to serve on the board since reconstruction. On April 10, 1986, Williams was honored by the state of Mississippi with a concurrent resolution commending him for being the first black elected official in the state of Mississippi since Reconstruction.

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In 2006, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors along with the Jefferson County School District honored Williams by naming the school district office in Fayette after Williams. December 17th has been designated by the county as Robert L. Williams Day and is celebrated on a biannual basis.

Family and friends of Robert Lee Williams Sr. recently formed a foundation in honor of Williams as a way of giving back to the community that he so dutifully worked to uproot an everlasting foundation for education for our generations yet to come in Jefferson County, while impacting surrounding counties to do the same. As part of the foundation, we reward average senior(s) at Jefferson County High School with a scholarship of $500. Students must comply and meet the required criteria, which is available at the high school counselor’s office.

As some may know, the effort to serve on any board during the early 1900s was unusual for any African American. However, Williams saw a need to make a difference, and he took the opportunity rendered by Charles Evers, former mayor of Fayette. Williams served on the board for 22 years.

Williams was a native of Rodney. He was a deacon at Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church in Rodney. Williams died in March 2008 leaving his wife, Wilma Williams, and five children, Shelia R. Williams Brinkley of Lorman, Robert L. Williams Jr. of Lorman, Philvester Williams of Terry, Dennis Williams of Natchez and Meshell B. Williams Smith of Jackson.

Leaders such as Williams dictated long ago that our community and the world would need a strong educational foundation and today we all see that vision.

Education is important, and it is imperative that we give our children an opportunity to receive the best education they can.

Our children too, from Jefferson County, can compete with students from elsewhere.


Shalonda Brinkley

Jefferson County resident