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Rozelle Boyd, first Black member of Indianapolis City-County Council, has died

Rozelle Boyd
Posted at 8:20 AM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 12:22:29-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Rozelle Boyd, the first African American and longest serving member of the Indianapolis City-County Council, has died.

Boyd was elected in 1965 and served until 2007. In 2004, Boyd served for a time as president, making him the first African American and Democrat to hold this position.

On Twitter, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called Boyd a trailblazer and staple in the community.

The Madam Walker Legacy Center in Downtown Indianapolis described Boyd as "a legend whose legacy and impact will live on for years to come."

Boyd was a recipient of the IUPUI Chancellor's Medallion in 2009 for breaking barriers in Indiana politics.

The award is given to people of "vision, character, high achievement, and distinguished voice," including those in public service, according to the university's website.

Boyd served as assistant dean for University Division at IU-Bloomington from 1968 to 1976. He also founded and directed what is now the Groups Scholars Program, which addresses "low attendance rates among first-generation, low-income and physically challenged students," according to IUPUI.

Boyd graduated from Butler University in 1957 with a degree in political science, according to IUPUI.

Butler University shared the following statement after Boyd's death:

“The Butler University community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of alumnus Rozelle Boyd. As the first African American elected to the Indianapolis City Council, and later the first Black City-County Council President, Mr. Boyd was a true trailblazer whose impact on our great city will be forever lasting. He was a man of tremendous courage and conviction, and was deeply admired and respected by all who were fortunate enough to have known him. We extend our most heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.”

After obtaining his degree, Boyd taught U.S. history and served as a counselor in the adult education program at Crispus Attucks High School, where he was once a student, according to IUPUI.

He also served on several community and civic boards.

WRTV Reporter Nikki DeMentri contributed to this story.