A picture of Representative Bennie G. Thompson
Bennie T.
Democrat MS 2

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  • Honoring the Life and Legacy of the Late Nausead Lyvelle Stewart, Esq

    by Representative Bennie G. Thompson

    Posted on 2015-12-03

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    THOMPSON of mississippi in the house of representatives Thursday, December 3, 2015 Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life and legacy of an extraordinary public servant, the late Nausead Lyvelle Stewart.

    Nausead was born August 15, 1931 in Starkville, Mississippi to Tommy James Stewart and Rosa Rogers Stewart. Upon graduation from Oktibbeha County Training High School, she chose to attend Tougaloo College where she graduated with honors in History and Home Economics. Afterwards, she taught high school history for thirteen years in West Point, Mississippi, while acquiring her M.A. degree from Atlanta University.

    Nausead entered the University of Mississippi School Of Law in 1967 and graduated with honors in May, 1970, where she was the first African American law student to serve on the law journal. In law school, she roomed with Constance Slaughter Harvey, who finished the law school a semester earlier, as the first African American female graduate. Nausead contributed immensely to the legal profession and the pursuit of equal justice for all.

    Upon graduation, she, along with her classmate Geraldine Harrington Carnes, was hired by the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee (LCDC) to assist the then director, Armand Derfner and Jim Lewis with civil rights litigation.

    A year later, when LCDC closed its Mississippi Office, Nausead was hired to work across the street at Anderson, Banks, Nichols and Leventhal to assist with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) civil rights litigation. That work consisted primarily of dealing with the post desegregation discriminatory practices in teacher and administrator hiring and retention. Nausead played a primary role in litigating several cases to assure the enforcement of the Uniform Singleton Decree. That Decree provided for the utilization of objective non-racial standards in determining which education professionals would be retained should desegregation result in a loss of positions due to duplication. It also provided a first right of refusal for subsequent new openings to any professionals who were not rehired because of such duplication. Additionally, Nausead worked on other successful employment class actions against large employers in our state. A case law query will reveal some of the great work that she did during this era and continuing in to the 1980s.

    In 1975, Nausead became a partner and the firm name was changed to Anderson, Banks, Nichols and Stewart.

    [[Page E1711]] Three years later, Nausead left the firm to assume the position as head of the Jackson Office for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, thus completing the circle of having been a lawyer for the three foremost civil rights legal offices in the 1960s and 70s, the Lawyers Committee, NAACP LDF, and LCDC.

    In the 1980s, the Lawyers Committee closed its Jackson Office, whereupon, Nausead joined the Walker and Walker firm in Jackson, headed by John L. Walker and William Walker, Jr. While working there, Nausead handled the firm's appellate work and motion practice and was a mentor for James E. Graves, Jr. and Regina Quinn who also worked there during her tenure. In 1982, Nausead offered her services to the citizens of Hinds County for the County Court Judge position thus becoming the first African American female judicial candidate.

    After practicing law with the Walker and Walker firm for several years, Nausead assumed a position with Minact Inc. where she engaged in grant writing and compliance until her retirement.

    On July 18, 2000 and during her retirement, Nausead served as a Jackson Civil Service Commissioner after having been appointed by Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson and served until May 2, 2006.

    Nausead took great pride in community services on numerous boards of community organizations and received awards for her work with those organizations. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. which she joined while at Tougaloo College.

    Nausead was preceded in death by her aforementioned parents. She is survived by her sister, Doris Anderson; brother, and Thomas J. Stewart, Jr.

    Mr. Speaker, on November 10, 2015, we lost a treasure in Nausead. I ask that my colleagues join me in recognizing a diligent advocate, a conscientious worker, and a selfless servant leader whose life was dedicated to the cause of humanity, Nausead Lyvelle Stewart.


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