Retired librarian Nancy Gardner Sewell was the first black City Councilwoman in Selma, Alabama, where the famous 1965 civil rights march to Montgomery originated. (There were three attempts to march the route, with only the last one consummated due the protection provided by the US Army and the Alabama National Guard.) The year of the march another big–but quieter–thing happened near Selma: Nancy Sewell gave birth to future Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell. Soon Terri would be valedictorian at Selma High School. Then onto Princeton, Harvard Law, Oxford–you know the names.
Elected to Congress in 2010, Sewell understands that any contemporary march for civil rights needs to be as much about capital as the capitol. So in addition to serving on committees in Washington, she takes the prospect to the streets at home, sponsoring a Jobs Fair that brings economic opportunity into the light for people who haven’t seen any in a while. Her district is an area commonly pounded by disaster-level storms and tornadoes, with an unemployment rate approaching 20%. 5,000 people showed up last summer to find work, including Brandon Todd, who won a job as a Route Salesman for Coca-Cola. Mr. Todd lays it on pretty thick for Representative Sewell on her website, talking “unlimited possibilities” and saying he would “like to extend my gratitude to Congresswoman Terri Sewell and her awesome staff for putting the Job Fair together, because if it wasn’t for them and Gods grace, this opportunity would’ve passed me by.” But outsize gratitude would seem to be in order. This congresswoman actually did what every single person who has run for office in the last five years has promised. Terri Sewell got the man a job.