Family, friends gather to remember local Civil Rights leader

Local

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The life of a local Civil Rights leader is being celebrated, as loved ones pay their final respects.

For nearly a century, Dr. C. O. Simpkins, 94, dedicated his life to improving the lives of others.

“He was a man among men and he knew how to hedge his bets,” said Dr. Powell. “And he won because he knew how to hedge his bets with grace.”

Family and friends gathered at Galilee Baptist Church Saturday for funeral services honoring Simpkins.

Simpkins served in the U.S. Air Force and the Louisiana legislature, but the retired dentist is most widely known for his role in the Civil Rights movement.

“He was a great man and he was quite an inspirational person to talk with,” said Earl Harris Sr.

His activism put his and his family’s lives at risk.

“He had to escort us to school with his gun at his side. Every single day,” said Deborah Simpkins-Savage. “That is how I saw him as a child. A giant of a man who made us unafraid.”

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins presented a proclamation to Simpkins’ family for his contributions to the city.

“I am where I am, and our city is what it is, in no small part because of the sacrifices he made and the example he set for all of us,” said Perkins.

Those close to Simpkins are remembering not only his courage to fight for what was right, but also for his kindness.

“He loved people,” said John D. Caruthers. “Friend and foe alike.”

Today’s service serving as a celebration of life and the impact Simpkins has made on the course of history in our community.

“I’m not a big supporter of funerals, but this one I’m glad to be here to just take it all in,” said Powell.

Simpkins passed away December 4.

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