Funeral services will be held Saturday for Geraldine R. Washington, a prominent Los Angeles civil rights leader who died Jan. 5 of natural causes at the age of 81, NAACP spokeswoman Joy Atkinson said. She had been ill for several years and suffered from a form of dementia, the spokewoman said.

Washington, who was president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP for 14 years beginning in the mid-1990s, was known for her activism on education.

During her tenure as president, she worked to reverse declining enrollment of Blacks in the University of California system and pushed for local job training programs, Atkinson said.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Washington “an outstanding educator and tireless advocate of equal opportunity for all students.

“Her legacy of service to Los Angeles, its students and the community will live on through the many lives she touched,” Villaraigosa said.

“Geraldine Washington distinguished herself in a variety of ways,” noted Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Most memorable to me was her leadership with NAACP. She was active in supporting the voter registration drives throughout the ’90s, well into the 2000’s and beyond. She stood up for justice and education and law enforcement and was a very clear example of the leadership that women bring to bear in the civil and human rights movement. My memories of her are filled with respect, fondness and her great sense of humor.”

“Dr. Washington was a passionate and effective leader of the Los Angeles NAACP. She devoted her life to making sure that all students can have the same access to a quality education. Her contributions to her community, our children, and our country are truly immeasurable,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.
NAACP National Board Chairman Roslyn M. Brock added: “Dr. Washington was instrumental in shaping so many young lives, both in the classroom and as policy advocate on the NAACP Education Committee. Her dedication to her community and to her students was unparalleled.

She will be missed.”

Washington, was the sixth of seven children born to Nathan and Havannah Anderson Robinson, in Little Rock, Ark. A product of public schools, she went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in education and then worked for 40 years in public school systems.

One of her key recent accomplishments was her work as part of the Alliance for Equal Opportunity in Education to ensure that UCLA as a land-grant college enrolled a student population reflective of the state’s demographics.

During her tenure heading the L.A. NAACP, Washington reactivated the chapter’s ACT-SO program for students and created a community skills center.

In addition to her work with the local chapter, Washington was active on the national NAACP education committee and spent years as the national coordinator for Women covering Region I.

This includes nine Western states as well as Japan, Germany and Korea.

Funeral services are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Second Baptist Church, 2412 Griffith Ave., Los Angeles. Viewing will be held Friday from 2-8 p.m. at Angelus Funeral Home, 3875 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles.

Washington is survived by her husband of 57 years, Willie Washington Jr.; her son Stanley and his wife Karen; her brother Richard Tyrone Robinson, his wife Sylvia of Los Angeles; her sister Dorothy Steward of Chicago; and grandchildren Christian and Chasen.

In lieu of flowers, Washington’s family requests that a donation be made to the Dr. Geraldine R. Washington Youth Scholarship Fund. Make checks payable to WIN for Dr. Geraldine R. Washington Youth Scholarship Fund and mail to: Mary Anne Smith, WIN President, Women In NAACP, P.O. Box 56408, Los Angeles, CA 90056.