Celebration of life set for Montgomery icon, Herman L. Harris

Celebration of life set for Montgomery icon, Herman L. Harris
Herman L. Harris, seen here in this 2013 file photo, was a Montgomery icon. He died Wednesday at age 92. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Herman L. Harris, a Montgomery area icon, has died, according to his family. He passed away Wednesday at age 92.

Harris was born in Burkville in Lowndes County on July 1, 1927, and was the last of his parents’ nine children who survived into adulthood.

Harris graduated from the Montgomery County Public Schools in 1944 as Loveless High School’s valedictorian and senior class president. He went on to earn degrees from Alabama State University and the University of Chicago and served in the U.S. Army Occupational Forces in Japan after World War II.

A community leader, educator, and civil rights advocate, Harris focused his career on social inequalities in education, ethical values, race relations, and equity, his family said.

Harris’ educational leadership started in Butler County Public Schools where he was a teacher and principal. He continued to serve his community in both those roles after returning to Montgomery County Public Schools.

In 1975, Harris made history as one of the first African-Americans to be elected to the Montgomery City Council. He also served on the Montgomery County Board of Education from 1988 to 2004, and as its chairman from 1994 to 1996.

Harris was recognized with countless awards and citations for his lifetime of efforts, and he held leadership roles in multiple organizations and boards. In 2010, the Montgomery Parks and Recreation Department also honored him by naming Woodcrest’s Recreational Complex after him.

He is survived by a host of family members including his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

A celebration of life is set for Friday at 11 a.m. at Holt Street Memorial Baptist Church, the church where Harris had faithfully served since 1960.

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