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that I’ve endured here for my good. He’s used it for my good. He’s

protected me, provided for me, he’s done everything. I couldn’t ask

for anything else.”

In August, Edwards’ house was struck by lightning for the second

time. She explained that there were probably minerals in the soil

that drew the lightning to her house. But her attitude was not one of

defeat. Her voice contained a lightness. Her spirit sang of hope.

Our country’s history of racial injustice is not one that can or

should be denied or forgotten. This history of injustice has shaped

both individuals and communities throughout our country Edwards

being one of them. These are individuals who can think quickly on

their feet. Individuals who can present solutions to problems with

confidence. Individuals who can have their houses struck by lightning

and respond with hope and resilience. For forty-one years, DLS has

had one of these individuals using tenacity, quick-wittedness, and

optimism to direct legislative commissions.

Lydia Freeman is a graduate of Bluefield College, former intern

at David Bailey Associates, and currently Teach for America fifth

grade teacher in Northampton County, NC.

Hugh A. Joyce


cell: (804) 305-9595

1905 Westmoreland Street

Richmond, VA 23230

o ce:

(804) 358-9333

fax: (804) 358-4066






past editions online




multitude of leaders, such as Ramsey Clark, Dr.

Demetrios G. Kousoulas, Shirley Chisholm,

Emperor Haile Selassie, Donny Hathaway, Dr.

Nathan Hare, Stokely Carmichael, Dr. Martin

Luther King, Jr., Dr. Robert Martin, and other

music, political, education, scientists, judiciary,

and artists and cultural legends during her time on


“But I didn’t appreciate exactly the moment

in history during that time,” explained Edwards.

“That was also during the Motown era, and so we

had a lot of Motown related people who were also

students and guests. It was a really really exciting

place to be. Just seeing the history actually being

made. To be able to touch it.”

Over the years, Edwards remembers the

struggle of being the first African American

hired at DLS while her brother, a graduate of

Harvard University, joined the military due to an

inability to find employment in the late 1970s. She

remembers the streets she couldn’t cross to get

ice cream in the summertime. She remembers the

places she was unable to live in Richmond. She

remembers the dirt sidewalks of her childhood

village of Woodville, where the community taught

its children how to safely interact with the white community. She

remembers her maternal grandfather enduring the indignities he

suffered for the right to vote, teaching her how to vote, taking her

to vote. She remembers getting all dolled up, just to go into the

stores on Broad Street, but not being able to try on any clothing. She

remembers that even in 1974 there were still places in Richmond that

made the illegal choice not to serve her.

Despite challenges, Edwards persevered and flourished at

her research position in Richmond, climbing to the position of

Senior Research Associate, knowing that her work mattered to her


“I continued to work here (DLS) in spite of the challenges

because I love the work and I was always taught to persevere and to

have hope,” said Edwards. “Remember, I grew up during Jim Crow

and the Civil Rights Movement and that experience develops mettle.

My family and church family were my support and safety systems.

They encouraged me not to give in or give up and reminded me that I

had been divinely placed here for a purpose.”

“It has been a blessing working here,” Edwards continued. “It’s

been a real blessing. The Lord has used even all of the negative things

Delegate Jennifer McClellan, Valerie Braxton-Williams (Confidential Assistant for Policy,

Commissioner's Office, Virginia Employment Commission), Brenda Edwards (Senior Research

Associate, Division of Legislative Services)

Brenda and

her late husband—

 The Rev. Glenn T.

Edwards, Sr.