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Washtenaw United: Honoring Alma Wheeler Smith For Women's History Month

Alma Wheeler-Smith
Eastern Michigan University

Albert Wheeler was Ann Arbor's first, and only, African-American mayor.  His activism in the Civil Rights Movement inspired his daughter, Alma Wheeler Smith, to enter the political arena as well.  She served 14 years in the Michigan Legislature and continues to be a voice for equity and equality across race and genders.  WEMU's David Fair reflects with Wheeler Smith with an eye towards what the future may hold. 

WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area.  And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services.  It is a community voice.  It is 'Washtenaw United.'




Alma Smith served in the Michigan Legislature for 14 years, 6 in the House and 8 in the Senate.  She served on the powerful Appropriations Committee in both chambers.  Prior to service in the Legislature, she worked as a Senior Producer at the University of Michigan Television Center and Legislative Coordinator for State Senator Lana Pollack.  While working and raising three children, Alma represented her community as an Ann Arbor Cablecasting Commissioner, South Lyon Community Schools Board of Education Trustee and president, and Washtenaw County Commissioner.  She currently serves as chair of the University Bank Board of Directors and as a director on the boards of SOS Community Services, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and the Legislative Retirement System.  Alma graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Journalism and did advanced degree work in Political Science and Business Administration.


Alma Wheeler Smith

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him atdfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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