Frankfort remembers Senator Georgia Powers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Frankfort remembers Senator Georgia Powers

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- She blazed trails for both African Americans and women. 

Former State Senator Georgia Davis Powers died on Saturday. Today, she was given one last farewell today at the Capitol.

Even in death, Georgia Powers made history. She's the 22nd person, but the first African American woman to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

A steady stream of visitors walked by the open casket to pay their respects to a legend of politics and civil rights.

"A champion, a fighter for equality -- and I think that that sums it up," said Raoul Cunningham of the Louisville NAACP.

Both the famous and the not-so-well-known credit Powers for blazing trails.

"A lot of the issues and the things that we are talking about and working about around social justice -- she was the footprint of that," said Charlene Walker, a Lexington resident.

Powers was the first African American -- and the first woman -- to serve in the state Senate.

"Things were not always easy for her -- and I watched her sometimes struggling with some of that," said Martha Layne Collins, former Kentucky governor. "But she never gave up. She never quit."

Former Louisville congressman Ron Mazzoli first served in the state Senate, and was sworn in on the same day as Powers in 1968. He describes her as a "steel magnolia."

"The perfect way to establish a tough point is to be very presentable about it," said Mazzoli. "And she was able to do that. And of course she carved a legacy alone and will stand for all time."

During the memorial service, Gerald Neal, who succeeded Powers in the Senate, said her legacy spreads well beyond Kentucky.

"She was a focused and furious warrior at the federal, state and local levels, and has left a legacy that continues to impact our lives, and that has given guidance to us all," Neal said.

Powers' funeral is tomorrow at St. Stephen's Church in Louisville.

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