Memorial held for Shirlene Ross Mercer

JACKSON, Tenn. — A memorial service honored a beloved community member.

Hundreds gathered at the Carl Perkins Civic Center to commemorate the life of the late Shirlene Ross Mercer. Mercer held various roles in the lives of many, including wife, mother, friend, and activist.

As a civil rights advocate, Mercer ingeniously challenged Jim Crow laws. Her activism involved contributions to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and coordinating “Weekly Anti-Crime Marches.”

These accomplishments are just a glimpse into her achievements. Shirlene Mercer’s commitment to civil rights earned her recognition within Jackson’s community.

Mayor Conger, along with other city and state officials, addressed her service, emphasizing the significance of the day for Jackson.

“Her legacy will be forever in the City of Jackson. I, Scott Conger, Mayor of the City of Jackson, Tennessee declare the day of August 9, of 2023, the Day of Shirlene Mercer,” Conger said.

Additionally, during the service, her niece Bonay Mercer Neely delivered a moving performance.

Throughout her life, Mercer forged friendships with officials due to her role as a community activist.

Her friend Harold Ford Sr. joined the service, sharing that Shirlene’s impact stretched beyond her birth and death, making the days in between profoundly meaningful.

May Shirlene Ross Mercer’s legacy continue to resonate in Jackson’s history and in the hearts of those who cherished and remembered her.

Mercer was the last surviving member of the “Freshman Four.”

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