HomeNewsShirlene Mercer dies, last of Lane's 'Freshman Four'

Shirlene Mercer dies, last of Lane’s ‘Freshman Four’

Life-long Jacksonian and activist Shirlene Mercer has died, according to the City of Jackson. Mercer was the last surviving of Lane College’s “Freshman Four,” who led sit-in protests at “white’s only” lunch counters in Jackson.

Mayor Scott Conger memorialized Mercer in a Facebook post, saying the Mercer families and Conger families have had a close relationship.

“I remember being intimidated just being in the same room as her, but she wouldn’t let you sit back and be quiet. She wanted to hear from you. She asked you questions. She always took a genuine interest in people. As I grew up and began working in public service, I could always count on Shirlene for a wise word or a stern correction, because she demanded the best out of everyone and she knew how to get it out of you,” Conger wrote.

“As you look through the history of Jackson, you can see her fingerprints on so many things. She made a difference. She cared for people. She believed in people. She will be sorely missed,” he continued.

Conger said he has also asked Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to lower the flags to half-staff in memory of Shirlene Mercer.

As The Jackson Post gathers more memorials for Mercer, we will publish them. We also send our condolences to her family, husband Luther Mercer, daughter Tina Mercer, and son Luther Mercer II.

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