Xanthene Norris, SC African American History Calendar Honoree

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As an educator and community leader, Xanthene Sayles Norris has established an exemplary career of public service and civic engagement.

Born in Winston Salem, N.C., Norris grew up and attended public schools in Greenville, S.C. She graduated from Sterling High School in 1946 as the valedictorian of her class. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Clark College in Atlanta, Ga. and a master’s degree from Furman University in Greenville. She is a retired educator who served as a Greenville County teacher, high school counselor, and adult education director.

Norris was the Past Executive Director of the local Miss America Palmetto Scholarship Program, and presently is Chairman of the A.J. Whittenberg Academic Scholarship. She has been an annual Greenville County Democratic Party State Convention delegate since 1997 and was a State Democratic Party delegate to the 2004 and 2012 Democratic Party National Conventions.

Because of her diplomacy, initiative, and determination to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Greenville County officially observed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for the first time, on January 16, 2006, and as a continuing national celebration.

Presently, Norris is a Greenville County Councilwoman. She has been elected for five terms since 1997 and represents District 23. Councilwoman Norris is Chairman Pro Tem of Greenville County Council. She currently serves on the Finance Committee and is Vice Chairman of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee. She is a Trustee, the College Ministry Chair, and the Personnel Chair of the historic Springfield Baptist Church. Additionally, Norris is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a life member of the NAACP, a board member of the Peace Center, and the past United Negro College Fund Upstate Chair. In 2016, the Greenville Business Magazine selected Norris as one of the fifty most influential people in Greenville.

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