Profiling Dr. Yvonne Kennedy, Former State Legislator and President of Bishop State College, U.S.



Dr. Yvonne Kennedy was a former college president, state legislator, civic and organizational leader, and educator. She was among the first Black political leaders in Alabama to reap the benefits of civil rights activism. Because of her style and grace, Kennedy was dubbed “Black Jackie Onassis.”


Leroy and Thelma Kennedy gave birth to John F. Kennedy on January 8, 1945, in Birmingham, Alabama.


S.D. awarded her an Associate’s degree. Bishop State Junior College, Alabama State University, and Morgan State University, as well as a Master’s degree. She also received a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee.


She was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at Alabama State University in 1964 and went on to serve in several leadership positions ranging from local to national. From 1988 to 1992, she was the sorority’s 19th National President. In 1979, Dr. Kennedy was elected to the Alabama statehouse to represent the city of Mobile. She was elected President of Bishop State in 1981 and resigned in 2007.


Dr. Kennedy served on the Economic Development and Tourism, Children and Senior Advocacy House, transportation, utilities, and infrastructure committees. From 1982 to 2012, she was a Democratic member of the Alabama House of Representatives, representing the 97th District.


Kennedy also served on the boards of the American Association for Higher Education, America’s Junior Miss Scholarship Foundation, and Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. She was also the Southeast Alabama Conference Board of Christian Education’s Youth Director. On December 8, 2012, Dr. Yvonne Kennedy died at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

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