By Special to the Daily World
The Rev. Elizabeth Mitchell Clement, author and former AME Bishop, eulogized the late Willie Juliet Dobbs Blackburn Thursday, July 28 at 11 a.m., remembering her as a devoted wife, daughter and mother. She was 101 years old, and a longtime member of Friendship Baptist Church, where the memorial service was held.
The service was officiated by Friendship pastor, the Rev. Dr. Timothy T. Boddie, who said the deceased was a loyal member of the church until her health failed, and was one of six daughters of the late Maynard Holbrook Jackson Sr., once pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. Other speakers were: Dr. Jane Smith, executive director of LEADS at Spelman College; Dr. Carolyn Denard, Asst. Vice Provost of Academic Affairs at Emory University and founder of the Toni Morrison Society, and Mrs. Carol Ann Jackson Miller, niece, who spoke for the family and surviving sisters Mattiwilda Dobbs Janzon, and Dr. June Dobbs Butts.
The Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews, pastor of First Congregational Church, gave prayer, and the Chancel and Hymn choirs, sang. Carl Williams Funeral Directors, Inc. was in charge, with Interment held at the Garden Memorial Cemetery in Jackson, Miss.
Born on Jan. 12, 1910, to the late John and Irene Dobbs on Younge Street, Willie Juliet Dobbs Blackburn was a sibling of Irene, Millicent, Josephine, Mattiwilda, and June. She dedicated her life to her family and the education of others. She participated and taught student drama productions and proms to publishing the Blue and White Flash. Dobbs-Blackburn produced the Delta Jabberwalk, and co-founded the Jackson-Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and was president of the Opera/South Guild and a founding member and former president of the Jackson Chapter of Links, Inc. Before moving back to Atlanta, the deceased also served as associate professor and chair of the Division of Language Arts at Jackson State College, now Jackson State University, where she represented the school often at public and school affairs, delivering honors to the presidents and visiting dignitaries. A graduate of Spelman College, Juliet Dobbs-Blackburn was valedictorian of her class in 1931. She is recipient of several awards and honors, including the naming of the Willie Dobbs Blackburn Hall of Language Arts at Jackson State University, and was named Professor Emeritus by the State of Mississippi in 1974.
Dobbs-Blackburn was a world traveler having visited the East, West and South Africa, Europe, the Holy Land, Japan and China. Through her position as Secretary of the Mississippi State (Black) Teachers Association, she met and married Benjamin Allan Blackburn Jr., a Morehouse graduate of 1928 and her husband of 41 years. Two children were born to this union, Juliet Dobbs Blackburn and Benjamin Allan Blackburn II, both of Atlanta. The deceased is also survived by three grandchildren, Kellye B. Echols, Benjamin Blackburn III, and Leigh B. Dowell; six great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.