Scores of mourners filled Warren Memorial United Methodist Church Wednesday to celebrate the life of Portia Alexandria Scott, the retired managing editor and long-time employee of her family’s newspaper, the Atlanta Daily World.
“She was always cheerful, had a wonderful smile, was studious, opinionated, and had a loving personality,” said the Rev. Hilliard M. Lee Jr., chaplain of the Booker T. Washington High School Class of 1960. “She was a lady of class.”
The Rev. Richard D. Winn Sr. said that through her work at the Atlanta Daily World, Scott “played a crucial role in shattering the prejudices presented in the mainstream press” and that she “informed and educated the community and gave prominence to the less fortunate.”
The Rev. Donald K. Reed Sr. officiated over the funeral service. Other speakers reflecting on Scott’s life included Judith Allen Ingram of the Women of Warren’s Subunit 5 and Fulton County Commissioner Emma I. Darnell.
Following the funeral service, Scott’s body was interred at Lincoln Cemetery.
Scott suffered cardiac arrest at home following a brief bout with ovarian cancer. She died Oct. 2 at the age of 70.
“Portia loved her family and she loved the Atlanta Daily World,” said ADW Publisher M. Alexis Scott following the service. “She dedicated her whole life to the paper and its service to the community.”
Scott worked at the Atlanta Daily World for more than 40 years in various capacities. She began with a teen column when she attended Washington High School, and she later served in numerous roles, including as a reporter and columnist.
“After I wrote stories, I typeset, made proofreading corrections, and did some layout,” she said during an interview that was published in a 2005 dissertation by Maria Odum-Hinmon, Ph.D. She also served as “night editor, night production assistant. We never left until the paper was ready to go to press. I can remember seeing the sun come up sometimes when we switched from hot type to cold type. That was a challenge for us” when the process for printing the paper changed.
Portia Scott was born June 9, 1943 to Ruth Perry Scott and C.A. Scott, who ran the paper for more than 63 years after his brother, W.A. Scott II, who founded the paper in 1928, was killed.
Portia Scott earned a bachelor’s degree at Howard University and a master’s degree at American University. In 1986 she ran as the Republican nominee for Congress and in 1998 for State Senate. A lifelong Republican, Portia Scott was very interested in the empowerment of women and like her father, believed it was important for African Americans to be well represented in a two-party system.
She held two federal appointments under the Reagan Administration (on a commission that oversaw federally sponsored African-American art around the country and on a commission to oversee the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. historic site) and served on the president’s advisory board for historically Black colleges and universities under the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Portia Scott also taught journalism at Clark Atlanta University and was an active member of different civic and community organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Atlanta Chapter of The Links Inc. She founded the Southwest Atlanta Branch of the Friendship Force of Greater Atlanta. She was an active member of Warren Memorial United Methodist Church, serving in Subunit 5 of the Women of Warren and also in the Bereavement Ministry.
She is survived by her daughter, Maryam Jordan, and son-in-law, Demetrius Jordan, as well as three grandchildren, Nehemiah, Petra and Levi; two nephews, Scott and Steven Walker; a niece, Staci Walker Lynch; a brother-in-law, David Walker; and a devoted friend, Fred Howard. Her older sister, Jocelyn Scott Walker, preceded her in death.