FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2020
Contact: Adele McClure, Executive Director
Phone: (804) 876-0221
The VLBC Deeply Mourns the Passing of The Honorable Mamye E. BaCote
Richmond, VA—Today we lost a legislative icon and a civil rights giant in the passing of The Honorable Mamye BaCote. The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) deeply mourns Delegate BaCote, one of its former members, and expresses its deepest sympathies to her family and friends.
“Delegate Mamye BaCote was a trailblazer for Civil Rights with the Virginia Union University student sit-in at a department store during the 1960’s,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler (D-75th, Sussex), referring to BaCote’s participation in the Richmond 34 sit-in protests at segregated businesses on February 22, 1960. “She believed in equity and justice for all and she fought for quality education of students and the Hampton University Proton Therapy Center in the General Assembly. Farewell, my seatmate and Rest In Peace.”
Delegate Jeion Ward (D-92nd, Hampton) stated: “It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of my first seatmate, Delegate Mamye BaCote. We were so excited to learn that we would be seated next to each other. Mamye loved that seat because she had direct access to the pages seated along the wall.”
Del. BaCote uplifted and inspired generations after her. VLBC Chaplain Del. Joshua Cole (D-28th, Fredericksburg) remembers his time with Del. BaCote when he was a House page in 2005. “Del. BaCote and Del. Ward kept us in check as we sat along the wall,” said Delegate Cole. “I remember her smile and her firm demeanor—she didn’t play any games and she has been such an inspiration to me over the years. I will miss her dearly.”
“She could seem stern, the teacher in her, but you’d look closely and see that glint of joy in her eye,” said VLBC Vice Chair Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-9th, Richmond). “Del. BaCote would be very serious when the time came, but there was always that sense of joy.”
“There are so many memories and stories that we all have of Mamye, but no one would dispute the fact that she was a tireless, determined, and feisty advocate for the 95th House District,” said Delegate Ward. “She carried the same bill for her city every year, which would prohibit guns in public libraries. Each year she carried the bill, and each year it failed. We promised her that we would keep fighting until her bill passed. This year, a bill to do just that was passed with the help of her successor, Delegate Price. Mamye, may you now Rest In Peace.”
Del. BaCote represented the 95th district in the Virginia House of Delegates for 12 years and served 7 years on the Newport News City Council prior to her time in the Virginia General Assembly.
“Delegate BaCote and I were more than just legislators together; we were friends at the same church, in the same sorority, and colleagues in the same department at Hampton University,” said Senator Mamie Locke (D-2nd, Hampton). “Our journey in politics began together in local government and when we ran for the General Assembly in 2003, she for the House and me for Senate, we were the M&M Team, Mamye with the ‘y’ and Mamie with the ‘i’ as she would make clear. Hers is a voice that will be missed because she was a fierce and tenacious advocate for the 95th District.”
“Mamye BaCote was small in stature, but a giant in her legislative efforts to create a more just and equitable society,” said Delegate Delores McQuinn (D-70th, Richmond). “Her commitment to the district she represented and the Commonwealth was effective in making changes. She leaves an extraordinary legacy of servant leadership and commitment that will live on.”
Del. BaCote was a fierce education advocate and legislator. She served as a dynamic member of the House Appropriations Committee and was dedicated to serving her constituents and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Del. BaCote worked hard to make the 95th District and the Peninsula community a safer and more just place,” said Delegate Marcia Price (D-95th, Newport News). “We will miss her compassion, humor, and wisdom which made her so unique. May we all continue her legacy by continuing to prioritize equitable education policy decisions.”