Mentor in Memorium: Willie T. Barrow (1924-2015)

Willie_BarrowThe Rev. Willie T. Barrow was an American community organizer who championed civil rights for minorities, women, gay people and consumers; opposed the war in Vietnam and apartheid; and mentored generations of community organizers, including Barack Obama and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Known as the “Little Warrior” (she stood 4 feet 11 inches), she was a fiery advocate for civil rights. She was known as a person who would never back down from her beliefs.

She was married for 56 years and wrote a book on how to get married and stay married. Her advice: “Don’t try and make your mate over. It cannot be done.”

She opened her home to Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, and Addie Wyatt, and told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2012 that “We have to teach this generation, to train more Corettas, more Addies, and more Dorothys.”

In a prominent place in her home is a signed photograph of Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters. The White House released a statement shortly after being notified of Rev Barrow’s death in which the President declared, “To Michelle and me, she was a constant inspiration, a lifelong mentor and a very dear friend. I was proud to be among the more than 100 men and women she called her ‘Godchildren,’ and worked hard to live up to her example. I still do.”