Liz Byrd: Pioneering Stateswoman, Educator, and Advocate

Photograph of Elizabeth Byrd, ca. 1960, University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Harriett Elizabeth Byrd Papers, Accession Number 10443, Box 3, Folder 6.

Photograph of Elizabeth Byrd, ca. 1960, Harriett Elizabeth Byrd Papers, Collection Number 10443, Box 3, Folder 6. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

This week, Wyoming had to say goodbye to one of its heroes: Elizabeth (Liz) Byrd passed away Tuesday at her home in Cheyenne.  Byrd was the first African-American woman to serve in the State Legislature.  It was due to her tireless efforts over almost a decade that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/Wyoming Equality Day is celebrated in the state.  Byrd also worked to promote the interests of children and teachers in the state, which was what compelled Byrd to first run for office.  Politics was not her first career; she had been a teacher for many years before her election to the State House of Representatives in 1980; she later won a seat in the State Senate in 1988.  She worked in education for 37 years in all, an impressive career on its own, but also advocated for children and their educators in her political capacity as well.  Byrd lived a life that was full of milestones and will be greatly missed.

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