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Sunday 15 September 2019
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Legacy of Constance Mitchell Honored by Monroe County Legislature

Constance Mitchell

The hallway outside the Legislature Chambers in the County Office Building has been renamed to honor the first African American woman elected to office in Monroe County.

The public gathering area was renamed the Constance Mitchell Concourse. A plaque was affixed in the concourse during a ceremony May 17.

“Constance Mitchell was a living testament to the power that everyday people possess to make change through public service,” said County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “As the local leaders who have followed in her footsteps, we must all hold true to Constance’s example so that we too can leave our community a better place than when we found it.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, center,
at the unveiling of a plaque honoring the late
Constance B. Mitchell, the first African American woman
elected to public office in the county.
Photo provided by Monroe County.

Before the County Legislature was formed in 1967, Monroe County was represented by a Board of Supervisors, which met in the Legislative Chambers of the County Office Building.

Mitchell served on the Monroe County Board of Supervisors from 1962-1965, representing Rochester’s Third Ward, now called Corn Hill. Mitchell was the first African American woman to hold public office in Monroe County.

She and her husband, John, also co-founded Action for a Better Community, a nonprofit organization committed to helping low-income individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency.

Dinolfo submitted a legislative resolution in April to honor Constance Mitchell. The resolution received unanimous, bipartisan support at the May 14 meeting of the Monroe County Legislature.

“With this dedication, we memorialize and honor (Mitchell’s) efforts for all after us to see.   It is my hope, that as I stand on her shoulders along with Mayor Lovely Warren, Mayor (William) Johnson, and many other politicians of color, that we will continue the work she was so passionate about,” said Rochester City Council member LaShay D. Harris.

Constance Mitchell died Dec. 14, 2018. She is survived by her daughter, Constance Mitchell-Jefferson, one grandson and two great-grandchildren.