G. McConway
July 12, 2023

Longtime Democrat Council Member Dead at 72

The city of Detroit lost one of its heroes this week.

Former Detroit Council Member Reverend JoAnn Watson has passed away at the age of 72, reports the Detroit News.

In addition to serving on the city council, Watson has been active in many causes throughout her career.

Longtime Advocate

Jones touted herself as a civil rights leader. She was a member of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, the pastor at the West Side Unity Church in Detroit, and was recently named to the Detroit task force on reparations.

During a previous interview, Jones claimed that Martin Luther King’s speech in Detroit is what led her down the path of service she chose. Jones, on the inequality she claims to have witnessed, stated, “The girls never get stopped, but the boys of my family would get stopped frequently by police for nothing, and so we witness injustice.”

Current Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield added, “The City of Detroit, the Nation, and the World lost a true Detroit and Civil Rights icon. Mother Watson, as we all so affectionately called her, was a trailblazer, stalwart, and one-of-a-kind freedom fighter who loved her people and the Lord.

“Mother Watson, the first woman to serve as the Executive Director at the Detroit NAACP, former Detroit City Council Member, and a former delegate to the 2001 United Nations World Conference on Racism, laid the blueprint for fighting on all fronts for equality and freedom.

“There are so many elected officials, leaders, advocates, pastors, business professionals, and community leaders that are who they are because Mother Watson was who she was – present company included. I had the distinct honor of appointing Mother Watson to the Detroit’s first-ever Reparations Task Force recently, in honor of her life’s work and dedication around the issue.

“Further honoring her legacy, we launched the Task Force at her church, and having the opportunity to appoint her, along with our subsequent conversations, are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life,” reports WDET.

Watson, while not a household name, was considered a living legend in Detroit.

Now it will be up to her followers to continue her legacy.

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