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One year ago: Mary B. Henry

August 14, 2010 |  7:00 am

Mary-b-henry Mary B. Henry, a civil rights activist and Los Angeles icon who died one year ago, would likely have been beaming if she had lived to see the passing of the historic healthcare legislation last year.

Henry, who fostered the rise of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center from the ashes of the 1965 Watts riots, was honored by presidents, governors and mayors for her lifelong work to provide quality education and social services to the poor.

Her work on President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty task force led to the Head Start program that brings nutrition and early childhood education to inner-city children.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas remembered her as a tireless advocate for quality healthcare. Rep. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) described Henry as "a huge positive presence in our community" and its "matriarch."

Henry was named the Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year in 1967, and in 2002, the Mary B. Henry Child Development Center was opened at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

For more on the woman who fought for the health of impoverished Angelenos, read Mary B. Henry's obituary by The Times.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Mary B. Henry. Credit: Los Angeles Times