Family and Friends of Selma Rankins
Local Civil Rights Crusader and community leader Selma Rankins, Jr. died Thursday, March 10, 2016, in his home surrounded by his loving family; he was 74 years old. He was born February 26, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana and ironically landed in Monroe, Michigan and decided to make this his home.
Mr. Rankins retired from Monroe Public Schools in 2004 after a 30 year teaching career at Lincoln and Christiancy Elementary Schools. Retirement did not mean quitting to Mr. Rankins; it only meant more time to dedicate to his life mission of diversifying and improving education for children of color. Known for his outspoken communication style; Mr. Rankins challenged school boards members in many districts to do more to support at-risk youth and to close the achievement gap between minority and white students.
Having faced many racial obstacles and challenges himself growing up in the segregated south, Mr. Rankins never accepted failure as an option. He knew that making education a priority was the only way to succeed. He graduated from Carroll High School in 1961; Grambling State University in 1968 and served in the Vietnam War in 1969. He earned his Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University.
Mr. Rankins often volunteered in classrooms during Black History Month teaching students about positive black role models such as Charles Drew, George Washington Carver, and Brown vs. Board of Education and their contributions to America. He challenged young people to set positive goals and to use education to achieve those goals. He always encouraged them to serve in some capacity to improve their communities.
Mr. Rankins has been the recipient of numerous awards honoring his tireless commitment of service to his community. Some of the awards include The NAACP Community Award, The Trailblazer Award from the Second Missionary Baptist Church; Outstanding Community Leadership Award from the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, and several others. He also received a Proclamation from Mayor John R. Iacoangeli (2004) and the Monroe City Council naming September 11, 2004, as “Selma Rankins, Jr. Day!”
One of the most memorable moments in Mr. Rankins’ life was in 2008 when now President Barack Obama was elected President of the United States “I never thought in my lifetime we would have a black president,” he quoted during an interview with Monroe Evening News; “This is a win not only for all blacks but for all people. It’s a better world!”
Mr. Rankins was a life-long member of Solomon Temple Church of Monroe, Louisiana, under the Pastorship of Reverend J.B. Brown. Although he never officially joined a church locally; he would often visit local churches and support programs that invested in the community.
Mr. Rankins is proceeded in death by his parents Hattie and Selma Rankins, Sr.; and a brother, Bertram Rankins. He is survived by daughters, Laticia Rankins, Nycole King, grandchildren, Mystikal King-Carter, Malyiah King-Carter, and Ny’Rice Watkins, sister, Evelyn Aubrey-Rankins, brother, Roosevelt Rankins, niece, Tika Aubrey, nephew, Jamie Aubrey, and adopted daughter, Tina Campbell, and a host of friends and supporters in Monroe, Michigan.