Alma Byrd dedicated her life to education and public service in Richland County.
Byrd, 92, died earlier this month in her Columbia home. She embodied dedication to education from the time she was a child in Aiken, graduating from then-segregated Martha Schofield High School.
Byrd would graduate cum laude from Benedict College with double majors in English and French, according to her obituary. She would go on to receive a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City and a doctoral degree in comparative literature from the University of South Carolina.
Byrd taught in elementary and secondary schools as well as at Benedict, Allen University and Voorhees College.
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She served on the Richland 1 school board for 11 years through 1991 and was among the earliest African-American women in modern times to be elected to the S.C. House of Representatives. Byrd served in that role for two terms, ending in 1998.
Former Richland County Sen. Kay Patterson, who served in the House with Byrd, called her a community leader.
The state Senate, in a resolution adopted five days after her May 3 death, said it is “grateful for the life and legacy of Alma Weaver Byrd and for the example she set for all who knew her.”
Byrd’s active civic life included membership in the NAACP, National Conference of Negro Women, the League of Women Voters, the National Association of University Women and many other organizations.