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Essence Magazine features local pioneering woman in online essay

NATCHEZ — Essence Magazine’s website, posted a lengthy essay Sunday about Natchez’s first black alderwoman, Artimese West.

Titled “Honoring My Grandmother: Artimese West, 1st Black Alderwoman in Natchez, Mississippi: My Grandmother, Artimese Tarlton Morris West, Taught Me About Leadership And Love — Always Love,” the piece is written by Kirsten West Savali.

Click here for a link to the online essay.

“My grandmother, Artimese Tarlton Morris West, known by her beloved children and grandchildren as simply ‘Dear,’ was born March 1, 1919, in Adams County, Miss., the daughter of Elvira Cecile Morris and Eddie Tarlton,” Savali writes. “She graduated from Brumfield High School in Natchez, Miss., in 1937 as salutatorian of her class, and she married my grandfather George F. West, Sr. one month later.”

Savali writes that her grandmother was involved in the community, serving on various boards and organizations.

“… she is most remembered by history as being the 1st Black alderwoman for the city of Natchez,” Savali writes, “serving out the term of my grandfather after he died of a massive heart attack in 1982; and as owner and co-founder of West Funeral Home and West House of Flowers where she served her community for over 50 years.”

The essay goes on to quote excerpts from a 2013 article in The Natchez Democrat about Artimese’s death.

“[She]took the job very seriously,” former Natchez Mayor Tony Byrne told The Natchez Democrat. “She wasn’t just a figurehead, she went to work and was very, very active.”

And this from Bluff City Post Publisher William Terrell.

““She never did anything to try to make a statement, but whatever she did was for the betterment of the community,” Terrell said.

Visit Essence magazine’s website at essence.com to read the essay.

Essence magazine is geared toward black women ages 18 to 49 and was first published in 1970.

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