Thursday, March 13, 2008
Dessie Lee Patterson, S. Mansfield Mayor murdered
Dessie Lee Patterson, Mayor of South Mansfield, Louisiana in Desoto Parish, was recently slain on Tuesday, March 11, 2008. The 88 year old was brutally stabbed to death by suspected killer, Bobby Harris for $200 in $1 bills.
The small amount of money he took makes it even more senseless and tragic.
Mayor Dessie Lee Patterson became the state's first black female mayor on March 14, 1971 when she was appointed to fill an unexpired term in the village of South Mansfield. Her term was set to expire in December 2008.
Prior to becoming Mayor she was involved in politics and community activism decades earlier. Patterson was one of the pioneers in the Civil Rights Movement in the local area. She joined federal officials in the 1950s and 1960s to encourage blacks to vote since elections in South Mansfield even were hampered by the lack of registered voters.
I did not know the lady personally but her story touched me and senseless murder saddened me especially since she was from the ancestral parish of my father's maternal line.
She was described as a sweet-spirited person who gave her life for this community and worked tirelessly in her role as Mayor.
I'm sure that she will be missed but by all accounts, her memory and legacy will not be soon forgotten.
May you rest in peace!