Civil Rights Leader, Politician Powers Dies

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-30 17:49:49-05

A prominent civil rights leader in Kentucky who became the state's first woman and African-American elected to the state's Senate has died. Georgia Davis Powers was 92.

Raoul Cunningham, Kentucky NAACP president and longtime friend, said Powers died at about 3:40 a.m. at her brother's house in Louisville.

Her career in the Kentucky Senate spanned from 1968 to 1989.

The Louisville Democrat gained national attention after she said in her autobiography she had a yearlong affair with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was with him at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before he was killed.

In "I Shared the Dream," Powers said the affair started about three years after she first met King and ended when he was assassinated in 1968.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes released the following statement:

"I am deeply saddened today after the passing of my dear friend, Sen. Georgia Davis Powers. I will miss her grace, wit, and most of all, courage. She brought each of those traits to her work – serving as the first female and African American state senator and as a brave champion for civil rights in our country. Kentucky and our nation is a better place because of her. Let us each carry on her passion for equality for all."