As more than 100 Black elected officials gathered on Paul Quinn College’s campus Monday for their annual brunch, many shared their thoughts about the passing of former First Lady Eleanor Rosalynn Smith Carter; who passed on November 19, 2023; two days after it was announced that she had entered hospice care.
The 39th First Lady of the United States, Carter is remembered as a humanitarian who championed mental health issues and strongly supported/ advised her husband President Jimmy Carter, during his term, from 1977 to 1981 and for decades later.
Former State Rep. Glenn Lewis said the couple was “too good” for the nation’s capital.
“She and her husband were some of the last true humanitarians to occupy the White House. That’s why people said he was a better ex-president than he was president because his personality was so much more conducive to humanitarian efforts rather than the politics of Washington, DC.”
The keynote speaker at the Brunch was Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter’s House. After delivering a message where he discussed the state of affairs locally and globally and the times “we’re living in” he encouraged elected officials to work together, moving away from the bickering and pettiness. “We are the people that we’ve been waiting for.”
The leader of the more than 30,000-member non-denominational congregation, said the former First Lady left the world better than she found it.
“I am praying for the legacy of Rosalynn Carter and all that she has meant to this country, that God would strengthen the Carter family during their time of bereavement,” said the Bishop, who during his speech touched on many of the issues that Carter was passionate about; namely mental health and home ownership. He also challenged those in attendance to “come out of our silos,” because there are too many divides that are causing suffering.
Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown said Carter was “ahead of her time” in focusing on mental health and caretaker issues.
Brown expressed her condolences to the nation and said her family would be saying a prayer for the Carter family.
Freshman State Representative Venton Jones reflected on the philanthropic works of the Carters, as well as their attention to democracy, equity, and fairness.
“Even though she is no longer with us, we still have a legacy that the Carters have provided us to live on and replicate so that we can see a better world for everyone.
Born in Plains, GA on August 18, 1927, she was surrounded by her family at the time of her death. Earlier this year, in May, the family announced that she had dementia. The former president has been in hospice care since February and the two were last seen in public at the annual Plains Peanut Festival in September.
Married for 77 years, the mother of four, John, James, Donnel, and Amy; was also remembered for her devotion to family and her country. She will lie in repose at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Muse- um in Atlanta beginning next week. A tribute service is scheduled for Nov. 28 at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University There will be a private tribute service and a private funeral service on Nov. 29 at Plains’ Maranatha Baptist Church.
Her remains will be interned at the Carters’ home and condolence books can be signed at Georgia Southwestern State University, the Plains Welcome Center, Plains High School, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum; according to The Carter Center, where she was a co-founder.
This year was the ninth annual Black Elected Officials Brunch of the African American Leadership Institute-DFW and elected officials also gathered earlier in the year at Paul Quinn College for an annual summit to discuss issues critical to their constituents and the State of Texas.
The AALI studies and promotes the advancement of public policy, economic development, education, and leadership development as it relates to the African American community in North Central Texas and throughout the state of Texas. Founded in 2016, AALI’s mission is to “advance and inform, through research and teaching, the political decision-making process to empower and promote the African American community.