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Ella Scarborough laid to rest Wednesday

In 1987, Ella Scarborough became the first African American woman elected to Charlotte City Council. She served the city and Mecklenburg County for decades.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hundreds of community members paid tribute to Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella Scarborough as she was laid to rest Wednesday. 

Scarborough's family held a funeral service at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, where Scarborough was a member, Wednesday afternoon. 

The 75-year-old commissioner, who was also the first African American woman elected to Charlotte City Council in 1987, died Thursday.

Aretha Blake, a district court judge, attended Scarborough's funeral Wednesday. She said Scarborough was an mentor and an inspiration to other women seeking public office. 

“She was friend. She was someone I could confide in. She gave amazing advice, and most importantly, she led by example," Blake said. "She stood up and allowed us to know that our voices matter and that our community matters and that everyone has an opportunity to give.”

Credit: WCNC

Scarborough was a native of Sumter, South Carolina, and moved to Charlotte in 1971. She served the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for decades, dating back to her first election in 1987.

She was elected to the Mecklenburg County Commission in 2014. In 2016, she was elected chair of the board. She also twice ran campaigns for mayor of Charlotte.

"I met Ella when I first ran for elected office and we became friends," Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said. "We both grew up in SC and embraced Charlotte as our new home. Her death is a significant loss for the city we both came to love. My thoughts are with her children, who are as smart & dynamic as their mother."

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 8 to approve medical leave for Scarborough. Scarborough was a proud alumnus of South Carolina State University, her family said, and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She was also a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte.

Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
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