Black History Month: Lessie Price
AIKEN, S.C. - As FOX 54 continues our coverage of Black History Month, we focus on a person who is a true fixture of the CSRA's political landscape. You may have heard the phrase that less is more. but, in this story, Lessie is constantly trying to do more.
Lessie Price is a person in motion. She's always been that way. The foundation for her drive was set at an early age, by her father, during a conversation she'll never forget!
Her father told her, "Little girl, little girl. Nothing in life is free! Don't you understand? You have to work for it! Work for it! And he's right. And so all of us had jobs.
And Lessie Price didn't want just any job! She was ready to make a positive difference at an early age!
I asked her, "At ten years old?"
She smiled and said, "At ten years old. And getting people registered to vote. And sometimes she's take me to the courthouse to get people registered there."
Before Price's political career began to take shape, she worked her way up, at SRS, from a mail clerk to a high ranking position in government affairs.
"The moral of this story is that you don't have to have showmanship in everything you do. Just do your job! And, if you do your job, you will be rewarded for it. I'm convinced of it!
Because they saw her getting results, neighbors wanted Lessie Price to run for a seat on the Aiken City Council. It was 1975. No woman had ever served on the council.
Price said, she encountered a lot of doubters.
"Lessie Price? Lessie Price? Who does she think she is? She ain't got no qualifications. Why is she running? That was the quote. And yes, I ran. I lost that first race. That was in 1975. I was in my early 20s. I said, I will never do that again!"
Famous last words! Fast forward 12 years later. It was 1987. Price ran again. Yet, she had more support. South Carolina Governor Dick Riley campaigned for her and she won, becoming the first woman to serve on the Aiken City Council.
"Just having the courage to do something sends a message as well."
Now, moving into her 34th year of service on the Aiken City Council, Lessie Price doesn't like to spend time reflecting on her many accomplishments in office, but she admits, there are highlights. Price was able to work with city leaders to secure millions in funding for affordable homes that surround the community center named in her honor.
"The greatest thrill that I get, when a person needs a job, when a person needs help, and that person gets what they need, oh my goodness! You're talking about excitement. There's a thrill that goes through my veins, that person gets his or her dreams fulfilled."