Black History: Constance Mitchell

Constance Mitchell

Constance Mitchell
Constance Mitchell

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Originally from New Rochelle, New York, Constance Mitchell moved to Rochester, N.Y. with her husband John Mitchell in 1950. She played a very active role in empowering the community socially, politically, and economically. In 1961 Constance Mitchell was elected to the Monroe County Legislature (formerly the Monroe County Board of Supervisors).

She was the first African-American and African-American woman elected into office in Monroe County and held the highest political position in the country among blacks at the time. Constance served two terms on the board which solidified her role as a servant leader in the Rochester community. During her term she met and became close friends with Malcolm X after she was invited by Dr. Freddie Thomas to attend his speech at the University of Rochester in 1962.

After her political run she continued her work as a Civil Rights Activist participating in the march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When she returned from Alabama Constance knew she had much to advocate for in the black community right here in Rochester.

Constance and her husband co-founded Action for a Better Community, she also served in a multitude of leadership positions for organizations in the community including the Urban League of Rochester, United Way of Rochester, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Crime Stoppers. She was the first woman elected to the Board of Directors of Rochester Community Savings Bank (known as Citizens Bank) and Rochester Gas & Electric Company.

Constance Mitchell, continues her work speaking at different events most recently, the Discussions On Race In Rochester at East High. She currently resides in Chili, N.Y. with her husband John Mitchell