The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators (TBCSL) and the city of Nashville are mourning the passing of former Democratic State Rep. Mary Pruitt. She represented District 58 serving the South Nashville area and parts of Berry Hill for 27 years, following in the footsteps of her late husband, Charles Pruitt.
Charles Pruitt passed away in 1985 after 15 years in the State House. Ms. Pruitt won a special election to fill the seat that same year, saying she wanted to maintain the “honest and total representation” and “unique character and independence” that her late husband provided. She retired in 2012.
“Mary Pruitt loved the people of District 58,” said TBCSL Chairman G.A. Hardaway. “Whether it was the years she spent as an elementary school teacher educating young children, supporting her neighborhood church or fighting for the district as a state lawmaker, she was always passionate about her community and the families that live there. Rep. Pruitt’s indelible legacy of servant-leadership is punctuated with her trademark integrity and her notable compassion for educational equity.”
Current District 58 Rep. Harold Love, Jr. said: “Rep. Mary Pruitt served District 58 with distinction and class. There was never any question about her commitment to seeing that her constituents were treated with the utmost respect when it came to policy issues that might affect their lives. Rep. Pruitt leaves a wonderful legacy behind.”
Finally, Nashville state Sen. and former state Rep. Brenda Gilmore said: “One of the greatest champions and icons for the underserved has departed this earth to dance with the angels in the Kingdom of the Lord. From the very beginning of her life to the last minutes of her life, she fought the greatest odds and took on the biggest challenges so that the marginalized could have a full quality of life. She was my seatmate for six years and I will always appreciate the time that she invested in mentoring me. She worked hard to advance the rights of women, kids and minorities. Her example, just as the recently departed Congressman John Lewis, calls all of us to speak up when we see something that is not right, not fair and not just. Her legacy and the legacy of her husband will live long in my heart and the hearts of many in Nashville and in Tennessee.”
According to Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, Pruitt passed away at the age of 86, after suffering complications from a fall.