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San Bernardino's First Black Council Woman Valerie Pope-Ludlam Dies at 78

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In June 1987, Valerie Pope-Ludlam became the first Black woman elected to the San Bernardino City Council where she represented the 6th Ward until 1996. A Detroit native born in 1933, died peacefully Easter Sunday.

As a councilwoman, Pope-Ludlam created many jobs in the community to include starting the first handyman program and was instrumental in obtaining funds to build a new medical wing at Community Hospital of San Bernardino.

She also opened a dress shop and beauty salon on Mt. Vernon.

Pope-Ludlam moved to California from Detroit in 1962 with her three children.

She co-founded the Community League of Mothers and led an anti-segregation boycott of the local school district.

The group established local Freedom Schools in protest to the contentious school board battle of segregation.

Her daughter Michelle Beauegard stated: "She was a doting single parent, community activist and a visionary who was ahead of her time. Whether it was professional, political or community, she never forgot her children. She was a very loving mother. She would always tell us to be honest, keep our nose clean, and expect to have enemies if we are doing the tireless work of the community."

She became interested in solar energy in 1974 and became president of the San Bernardino West Side Community Development Corporation. Her group started with the installation of solar water and space heating.

"She was on the cutting edge of solar and green technology long before the government and big utilities got on board. Early on she knew the value of harnessing the sun through solar collecting equipment. Climate change wasn't on the radar when the banks refused to fund her ambitions to launch an energy company on Cajon Blvd in Delmann Heights,” stated Beauegard.

She leaves to cherish her memory her children: Michelle Beauegard, George Beauegard and Marshal Griffin; nine grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and one great grandchild, and a host of aunts, uncles, and friends.

Services will be held at Temple Missionary Baptist Church, 1563 W. Union Street, San Bernardino on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

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