Phoenix city officials, residents and prominent members of the Black community will honor late civil rights icon, city leader and longtime Arizona resident Calvin Coolidge Goode in the coming weeks.
Goode died on Dec. 23 from an illness not related to COVID-19. He was 93.
A virtual memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be livestreamed online by the Historic Tanner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Facebook.
Next week, the city will celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday with a virtual award ceremony honoring the newest honoree of the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award.
The events follow a public, open-casket viewing hosted on Saturday outside of the former city hall, renamed after Goode. Dozens of people gathered donning facial coverings and sharing memories in celebration of Goode’s life.
Mayor Kate Gallego said it was a rare occurrence to have someone laid in state in the city. But she also said it was an honor for her and the city to celebrate his life in front of a building named after him — one of only two buildings in Phoenix named for city officials.
Goode was the second Black councilmember for the city of Phoenix and the longest-tenured elected official in its history, serving on the Phoenix City Council from Jan. 2, 1972 until Jan. 3, 1994, including as vice mayor in 1974 and 1984.
Goode often disagreed with other council members during his 22-year tenure, voting in the 1980s against freeway expansion projects he argued would destroy neighborhoods already struggling to repair from segregation.
As late as 1960, half of the Black residents in Phoenix lived south of downtown, and the neighboring city of Tempe was considered a “sundown town” where Black people could work during the day but had to be gone by nightfall or risk arrest or physical violence.
Goode spent his time fighting to improve the quality of life in Phoenix for low-income Black residents long after his last days on the council. He retired in 1994, but continued advocating for equal opportunity, affordable housing and education through multiple organizations, including the Eastlake Neighborhood Association and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.
Originally from Oklahoma, Goode and his family moved to Arizona when he was a child. He attended Carver High School, a school in Phoenix for Black students, before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arizona State University.
First Institutional Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Dr. Warren H. Stewart Sr., who was a friend and neighbor to Goode in Eastlake Park, recalled the late councilor’s work from pushing the city to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday before the state, creating the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center and helping the Historic Tanner Chapel AME Church become a designated historic landmark.
Goode was also a longtime member of the church, which opened in 1886 and is known as the state’s oldest African American church. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, who attended the viewing with her family, even said …read more
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