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Juanita Williams; One of First Black Women to Seek Elected Office in Georgia

August 27, 2000

Juanita Williams, 75, a former Georgia legislator who was one of the first black women to run for public office in the state. The wife of civil rights leader Hosea Williams, Juanita Williams graduated third in her class at Savannah State College in 1957 with a degree in elementary education. She later earned a master's degree from Atlanta University in 1967. In her first try for public office in Georgia, Williams competed for Chatham County Superior Court clerk in 1961, but lost in a rough campaign that saw the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in her yard and a sniper shoot at her house. She also had an unsuccessful run for the Atlanta City Council in 1977. In 1984, she was elected to the Legislature and served four terms. Williams was unable to attend an Aug. 11 ceremony in which the city of Atlanta presented her husband with a Lifetime Services Award. Hosea Williams, a field general in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., recently was hospitalized and is being treated for cancer. On Wednesday of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a form of anemia, in Atlanta.

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