Phoenix to honor late civil rights icon Calvin C. Goode

PHOENIX – Phoenix City officials, residents, and prominent members of the Black Community will be honoring late civil rights icon, city guide and longtime Arizona resident, Calvin Coolidge Goode, over the coming weeks.

Goode died on December 23 of a disease unrelated to COVID-19. He was 93 years old.

Next week, on Monday, the city is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday with a virtual awards ceremony in honor of the newest recipient of the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award.

The events follow an open coffin public tour on Saturday in front of the former town hall, renamed after Goode. Dozens of people gathered, put on face covers, and exchanged memories to celebrate Goode’s life.

Mayor Kate Gallego said it was rare for anyone in the city to have a state. But she also said it was an honor for her and the city to celebrate his life in front of a building named after him – one of only two buildings in Phoenix named after city officials.

Goode was the Phoenix City’s second black councilor and the longest-elected official in its history. He was a member of the Phoenix City Council from January 2, 1972 to January 3, 1994, including serving as Vice Mayor in 1974 and 1984.

Goode often disagreed with other council members during his 22-year tenure, voting against highway rebuilding projects in the 1980s, which he argued would destroy neighborhoods that were already struggling to repair before segregation.

As recently as 1960, half of Phoenix’s black population lived south of downtown Phoenix, and the neighboring town of Tempe was considered a “sunset city” where blacks could work during the day but had to be gone by dark or at risk of arrest or violence.

Goode spent his time fighting to improve the quality of life for low-income black residents in Phoenix, long after his final days on the council. He retired in 1994 but continued to advocate equal opportunities, affordable housing and education through several organizations including the Eastlake Neighborhood Association and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Originally from Oklahoma, Goode and his family moved to Arizona as a child. He attended Carver High School, a school for black students in Phoenix, before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arizona State University.

The pastor of the first institutional Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Warren H. Stewart Sr., who was a friend and neighbor of Goode’s in Eastlake Park, recalled the work of the late city council in urging the city to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday in front of the state. Founded the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center and supported the AME Church in the historic Tanner Chapel as a historic landmark.

Goode was also a longtime member of the Church, which opened in 1886 and is known as the oldest African American church in the state. Jeri Williams, Phoenix Police Chief, who attended the tour with her family, even said Goode had his own bank in the AME Church shrine, which they both attended.

In 1977 Stewart said Goode welcomed him to Phoenix and spoke of First Institutional as pastor at his installation. But Stewart said “the most prestigious” memory he had was receiving the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. The award was launched in 1994 when Goode retired. It recognizes a person who has improved the city by promoting social and economic justice and defending civil rights.

“I am not overwhelmed with grief because he lived until he was 93 and was active until his last moments,” Stewart told The Associated Press. “I’m grateful to God that He was able to be around. I’m full of lots.” of Thanksgiving Day. “

Mary Rose Wilcox shared Stewart’s sentiment, calling Goode a “very principled and grounded man who brought the right aspects of his Christian faith and principles into public service.”

He lifted people around him and made everyone else a little bit better, she said.

Wilcox, who became the first Hispanic woman to serve on both the Maricopa County’s city council and board of directors, said Goode was on the council when she was elected in 1982.

“He was a mentor to me and took me under his wing. We became really good colleagues and formed a strong coalition of South, West and Intercity Phoenix. We have served together for a decade and we have been very committed to civil and human rights, ”said Wilcox, adding that he was not afraid to speak on behalf of the black and Latin American communities.

Several current councilors and other state politicians emphasized the impact he had on their lives and work, including Felecia Rotellini, Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, and Councilors Carlos Garcia, Michael Nowakowski, Thelda Williams and Debra Stark.

“Mr. Goode was a quiet man, but a lion-hearted man – an unwavering force for progress, equality and civil rights,” said Democratic MP Reginald Bolding in a statement: “It’s up to all of us who knew him, who loved him or who right now learn something about him to keep the fire burning. “

US Democratic MP Ruben Gallego said Goode “left our neighborhoods and this world better than he found it and that is a legacy his family, friends and everyone who knew him should love.”

Goode is survived by three sons, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His wife Georgie, whom he married in 1960, died in 2015. She was 87 years old.

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