Maxine Mimms' mother taught a neighbor how to read. And her father refused to let his children experience humiliation on public transportation in segregated Virginia. They walked everywhere during the Depression. Maxine grew up steeped in black pride and service. She became an ally of MLK and Maya Angelou.
Mimms in the late 1960s poses for her official photo for Seattle Public Schools. Mimms Collection
In 1968 she was named Sensitivity Training Director for Seattle schools, a position financed by the Civil Rights Act. Four years later, she joined the faculty for The Evergreen State College. She also began teaching college-level coursework at her kitchen table in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood, providing access to four-year degrees for working adults.
Evergreen's Tacoma program has now awarded more than 2,700 degrees, a legacy that generates generational success stories. At 90, Dr. Mimms conducts classes in her Mason County home. There's a constant stream of visitors. "This phone rings 24/7," says a close friend. "She is solving the problems of the world sitting in that chair."Read more about Maxine Mimms
Click/tap images for larger view
Mimms with close friends Odetta (left) and Maya Angelou (center). MLK called Odetta "The Queen of American folk music." Mimms introduced Odetta to teaching in 1989 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Mimms Collection
Top Left: Mimms with close friends Odetta (left) and Maya Angelou (center). MLK called Odetta "The Queen of American folk music." Mimms introduced Odetta to teaching in 1989 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Mimms Collection
Top Right: Ever the educator, Mimms talks with Evergreen Upward Bound students, a program to help low-income high school students become the first in their family to obtain a college degree. The Evergreen State College
Bottom: Tacoma's newly-elected mayor, Victoria Woodards, issued Mimms keys to the city at her 90th birthday event. Mimms Collection