Johnnie M. ParrisJohnnie M. Parris Marsan, was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. She was married to James Parris, to their union eight children were born:  William Lanier, James Benet, Glenda Sue, Byron Keith, Michelle Denise, Maurice Valgean, Cecial Nicole and Mauricette Giselle.  Johnnie, and her husband James, lived all over the United States as James served in the U.S. Air Force.  Johnnie took on the segregated government, she confronted the Homestead Air Force Base Commander, challenging their segregation policies.  She became the first African American woman to join the N.C.O. Wives Club at Homestead Air Force Base and held numerous offices.  To facilitate political empowerment for African Americans and the disenfranchised, she founded and organized Dade County’s first chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), was a field secretary to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and served on the Florida Council on Human Relations Board of Directors.  She was instrumental in organizing busloads of citizens from Florida to participate in the Poor People’s March on Washington.  She was a charter member of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and was cited for outstanding achievements.

To continue her legacy, the Johnnie M. Parris Memorial Scholarship for Public Service is awarded to an African American high school student with aspirations to enter politics, public service or civil rights law.

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