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Georgia Davis Powers Honored At Kentucky Capitol

Former senator and civil rights trailblazer Georgia Davis Powers lay in state in the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda Thursday afternoon.

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Credit Josh James / WUKY
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WUKY
Georgia Davis Powers Memorial in the Capitol Rotunda

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and the governor, along with family, friends, and admirers gathered in the well of the Capitol to pay their final respects to a woman who not only marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders but became an icon herself.

"Because of her efforts, the same hotels that once barred her occupancy because of the color of her skin, are now available for people of all colors," Pastor Robert Earl Houston of First Baptist Church in Frankfort said during his opening prayer.

The first African-American woman to serve in the state Senate, Powers was instrumental in organizing the 1964 March on Frankfort and gaining passage of the landmark civil rights bill that followed two years later. Lexington Sen. Reggie Thomas suggested the General Assembly would do well to follow the blueprint she laid out.

"There are so many areas where we could follow Georgia's example and promote equality, promote fairness, promote opportunity. That's what we need to do to carry forward her legacy," Thomas said.

On orders from the governor, all flags at state office buildings will remain at half-staff in her memory until sundown.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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