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) email@example.com
1905 Westmoreland Street
Richmond, VA 23230
fax: (804) 358-4066
past editions online
WWW. VCCQM . ORG
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)
her late husband—
The Rev. Glenn T.