Sarah Stevenson holds the title of several firsts in Charlotte: first Black president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools integrated Parent Teacher Association in 1970 and the first Black woman elected to the local school board.

She also notably led the push to desegregate the district’s classrooms.

But along with Stevenson’s work in education, she helped create the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum, a civic event that is now an institution in Charlotte.

Yesterday, the forum unveiled a new name — the Sarah Stevenson Tuesday Forum — to honor its founder.

At age 96 and living in a nursing facility, Stevenson thanked the group during its virtual broadcast. 

“I don’t have the words,” she said. “I am not able to thank you the way I would like to, so let’s do this….”

She then began singing the hymn:

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Stevenson helped found the Forum in the 1970s with the late Jim Richardson and the late Rev. Bob Walton. Stevenson presided over meetings for decades, and she attended the Forum weekly through late 2019.

In Sept. 2020, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners presented a proclamation declaring the day as “Ms. Sarah Mingo Stevenson Day” in honor of her 50-plus years of service to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

Keep reading to learn more about Stevenson. 

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