The mother of former mayor and superintendent Willie Herenton is remembered for her role in history

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Ruby Lee Harris was a single mother in South Memphis.

She could be described as small woman in stature, but one who stood tall next to her son as he made history in the city.

"She has her definite place in the City of Memphis," WREG Political Commentator Otis Sanford said.

Miss. Harris was the woman and mother who raised the city's first African American schools superintendent and the city's first elected black mayor, Dr. Willie Herenton.

"The most iconic image that I remember is of the very swearing in of her son, Willie Herenton, as the first elected African-American Mayor of Memphis in January 1992. He was being sworn in and Miss. Harris was there holding the bible for him."

Throughout the years, Miss. Harris was a driving force and influence in Dr. Herenton's life .

She was there as her son had early dreams of becoming a Golden Gloves boxer and eventually deciding to go into education and politics.

"But she was there every step of the way when he was a young child growing up off E.H. Crump Boulevard, going to school at Larose Elementary, going Booker T. Washington High School, LeMoyne-Owen College, becoming an educator and becoming a superintendent, and that was a tough thing. She helped him through that ordeal and in 1991 making that run for mayor."

Over the years, Dr. Herenton admitted his mother would let him know when she thought he was doing right and what he was doing wrong, and he would listen to her.

"His mother sometimes frowned a lot on some the things he said and he never wanted to embarrass his mother, and I don't think he ever did. She was very proud of him and all his accomplishments, and he always gave her credit for giving him the strength to be the kind of guy he was."

Ruby Lee Harris was 93.

Funeral services are incomplete at this time.

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