(Memphis) In front of congressional leaders from around the country, Congressman Steve Cohen honored Maxine Smith.
“Mr. Speaker today in Tennessee a great lady passed away. A lady who was as fierce, as brave, as courageous as any woman who has ever lived in this country,” said Congressman Cohen. “She helped take Memphis beyond Jim Crow and beyond segregation into a great city in America and she helped take America there.”
Ruby Wharton announced the news of Maxine Smith’s passing on the front steps of her law practice Friday morning.
“We are in sorrow as well and it’s a loss that just really can’t be replaced but the memory and her passion for justice lives on,” said Wharton.
Wharton was a friend and neighbor of Smith. Wharton said Smith was homebound for the last few months of her life.
“Maxine from what I know of her just loved children. In the hours of her latter parts of her illness the fact that I took my grandchildren to see her for instance, just made her light up,” said Wharton.
Friend Walter Bailey said Smith’s legacy is huge, but mostly a call to action.
“To be committed to a cause, to think of making a contribution to your fellow man, doing something that's greater than yourself,” said Bailey.
In lieu of flowers, Smith’s family has asked for donations to be made to the Maxine A. Smith Scholarship Fund on the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’s website http://www.cfgm.org/