Honoring Lillian Huff
The event was sponsored by a group of Mrs. Huff’s long-time friends and political associates. The key person who took the initiative to plan the event was Margie Wilson. Ms. Wilson said, “God placed it on her heart to plan this event for Lill,” and there were a number of others who joined her to honor Lillian for her many years of service as a community activist.
Mrs. Huff has a legacy of being actively engaged in the Democratic party for most of her adult life. She was born in Tampa, Florida and grew up in the days of deep-seated segregation. Her experience living in the segregated south served as a springboard to her involvement in local and national politics. She has lived to see incredible progress over the years and has become an informal historian. Many politicians have crossed paths with Lillian Huff as they campaigned throughout the city for various positions. A number of politicians have sought her counsel prior to making the decision to run, have asked her advice on running an effective campaign, and she has been a strong force on Mayoral and Council campaigns. She has been an active participant in every mayoral election since the appointment of Walter E. Washington who was appointed by President Johnson as the mayor-commissioner of Washington, DC in 1967. Mayor Washington became the first African American chief executive of a major U.S. city and went on to become the District of Columbia’s first elected mayor. He remained Mayor until Jan 2, 1979, when Marion Barry, who defeated him in the previous fall election, took office.
Lillian is well-steeped in the history of DC politics, largely because of the role she’s played in its evolution over the last fifty years. She is one of the founders of the D.C. Federation of Democratic Women, established 43 years ago in 1972 and later became the charter President for the DC Federation. Mrs. Lillian Huff chaired the District’s only D.C. Statehood Constitution Convention. Mrs. Huff served on the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which drafted the Charter for the DC Democratic Central Committee, now known as the DC State Democratic Committee; and she made the motion which led the DNC to establish three seats on the DNC for National Federation of Democratic Women, as well as, designating that one of those seats be reserved for a black woman.
Among the many guests who came to pay tribute to Mrs. Huff were former mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, who served as the mistress of ceremony. Mayor Muriel Bowser was represented by Kimberly Bassett, Executive Director of the Office on Women’s Policy & Initiatives. Councilmember Vincent Orange shared tributes and remarks, as did representatives from the offices of Councilmembers McDuffie and Anita Bonds.