South Newport News in Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Jessie Menifield Rattley Municipal Center
Newport News, Virginia
— Educator, Politician and Civil Rights Pioneer —
In 1970, she became the first woman elected to Newport News City Council and was re-elected in 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986. Mrs. Rottley became vice mayor in 1976 and in 1986 she became the first Black and first woman to serve as mayor of the City of Newport News. She was the first Black president of the Virginia Municipal League (1978), and the first Black woman to serve as president of the National League of Cities (1980). Mrs. Rattley also served as trustee on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the Intergovernmental Advisory Council of the US. Department of Education. Mrs. Rattley was a senior lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a professor
Despite her many honors, her mission to improve the community never faltered. Her love of Newport News and compassion for its citizens made her a champion for all. She believed that “to solve problems you must have real personal contact with people.”
Mrs. Rattley was known for her actions from the streets of Newport News to the hallways of the state capitol and to the East Room of the White House. In recognition of her dedicated service to the City and its citizens, the Jessie Menifield Rattley Municipal Center, which contains City Hall and the surrounding buildings and grounds, was named in her honor on July 13, 2004.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Education • Industry & Commerce • Women. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #39 James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr., and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series lists.
Location. 36° 58.656′ N, 76° 25.816′ W. Marker is in South Newport News in Newport News, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of 25th Street and Washington Avenue, on the right when traveling north on 25th Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newport News VA 23607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Newport News (within shouting distance of this marker); Warwick Hotel 1883-1961 (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Victory Arch (about 600 feet away); Headquarters, Hampton Roads (about 600 feet away); Newport News Victory Arch (about 600 feet away); A Great Confederate Naval Victory (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Newport News (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Nameless Grave (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Newport News.
Also see . . .
1. Jessie M. Rattley. The Library of Virginia (Submitted on August 3, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Jesse Menifield Rattley (1929–2001). Working Out Her Destiny: Women's History in Virginia, 1600-2004 (Library of Virginia) (Submitted on August 3, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 3, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 744 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 3, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.