A vessel of service was placed deep in the heart of Camden, MS 106 years ago on May 25, 1917. Her name was Lucille Roberts.
Mrs. Williams died August 28, 2023. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, September 9, 2023, at 10 a.m., at Zion Chapel AME Church, 361 Robinson St., Canton, MS; Rev. Dr. Floyd E. Chambers, presiding.
With the ever-assured guidance and love of her parents, Anderson and Rachel Roberts, and her six siblings, Lucille’s life of service started at Zion Chapel AME in 1931, first as an on-call parishioner and later serving as the Sunday School Superintendent for over 30 years.
She later met and married the late Richard Williams. They had six children – Richard, Thaddeus, Wickes, Vanessa, Larry, and Walter.
Mrs. Williams’ formal education began at Zion Chapel Community School. She then attended Cameron Street High School in neighboring Canton, MS. After graduation in 1940, she attended Jackson State College where she earned a BA degree in Elementary Education. Now equipped to enhance the lives of others, she joined the faculty of the Madison County School System and Friends of Children of Mississippi for 34 years.
Celebrated blues artist Grady Champion, a native of Canton, remembers Mrs. Williams as his kindergarten teacher. “Mrs. Williams was the most caring and loving teacher I ever had,” he said. “I will cherish her memory and the life lessons she instilled in me and several members of my family forever. She was a God-fearing woman who always took time to ensure that her students knew the importance of a proper education and delivered her lessons with love and kindness to all.”
Volunteering was a way of life for Mrs. Williams. For 67 years she devoted an impressive amount of time to 4-H groups in her community. She was honored in 2007 at the Annual State 4-H Conference for her many years of service as a volunteer.
Voter registration and voter education was her call to action. During the civil rights era, she served as an election poll watcher and poll worker throughout Madison County.
Flonzie Brown Wright, a lifelong resident of Madison County and the first Black female elected to public office in Mississippi in 1968, is among community advocates who smile at the mention of Mrs. Williams’ name. “She not only understood the importance of Black folks registering to vote but the necessity of Blacks returning to the polls to cast their vote. Many times, people would register to vote but not go back and vote on Election Day. She was a staunch supporter of educating our people on the election process and the impact of the Black vote.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mazalene Roberts Towner Scholarship Foundation, 8615 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60617; Cash App $MRTFoundation.