Former councilwoman Claudette McDaniel dies

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - She was the first black woman ever to serve as the city's vice mayor. Tonight, City Hall is mourning the passing of longtime council woman Claudette McDaniel.

Claudette McDaniel was the first black woman elected by her fellow council members to serve as the city's vice mayor. She held her council seat for 14 years.

"With my experience I did deliver, when I was on City Council," said Claudette McDaniel on the campaign trail in 1998. At the time she was fighting to get her old seat back. McDaniel never got back on city council, but her mark there was already made. In 1977, when she was first elected, she helped make history as one of five members to form the first black majority on council.

"I was there, I was part of history, it was a big moment," said former council woman Willie Dell.

She served by McDaniel's side.

"She had a radio program. Early on she had a voice and she had a way with people. She was a people person." Dell says, she and McDaniel didn't always agree, but they got along. "I think that will be her legacy, that if you want something done you do it."

"She pushed hard for things to happen and because of her strength she was able to convince others to support her, said former Richmond Mayor Walter Kenney.

McDaniel died Wednesday in a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She was 70 years old.

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