2007 Regular Session
By: Representative Buck, Woods, Gadd
A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF MRS. BERNICE E. TOTTEN AND EXPRESSING DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS UPON HER PASSING.
WHEREAS, Bernice E. Totten, born September 1, 1921, departed this earthly life on Wednesday, January 31, 2007, to enter into eternal rest with her Heavenly Father, causing great sorrow and loss to her family and friends; and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Totten attended MI College where she received a teaching certificate that allowed her to teach school at Strickland School under the tutelage of Mrs. Euretha King and Union Valley School under the tutelage of Mrs. Susie Matthews before undergoing an eight-week training program at Tuskegee Institute in 1968 to receive a teaching certificate in early childhood education and additional studies at Rust College through the Head Start Program; and
WHEREAS, deemed a trailblazer all of her life, Mrs. Totten helped in founding the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM), which was the first Head Start Program, later changed to ICS Head Start, one of many programs originating from the civil rights struggle; and
WHEREAS, before her involvement with CDGM and ICS, Mrs. Totten was very active in the civil rights movement, commencing her work with voter registration drives in the 1950s, aiding in freedom summers by housing freedom riders in her home, which became the distribution headquarters for donated items sent from the North; and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Totten overcame obstacles that presented themselves during the time she sought public office, winning the office of road supervisor in 1974 and progressing to serve three additional consecutive terms, claiming the honor of being the first African-American road supervisor in Marshall County and the first African-American female to hold that position in the entire state; and
WHEREAS, after her retirement as supervisor, during which time she was faithfullly supported by her late husband, Napoleon Totten and their 13 children, Mrs. Totten engaged all the more in helping the residents of her community, diligently executing the service of a Christian and servant; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to commend the life of such an outstanding individual as Mrs. Totten, whose life was a beacon of hope and a ray of sunshine for all who have been privileged to be in her company:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend the life and legacy of Mrs. Bernice E. Totten and express deepest sympathy to her family and friends upon her passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Mrs. Totten and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.