NewsAround Acadiana


Pillars of Acadiana: Purvis and Mary Morrison

Posted at 9:41 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 22:41:18-05

Meet Purvis Morrison. He was born and raised in Scott, Louisiana. He comes from a family with deep roots in the area.

Attending school during desegregation was difficult for him to understand because Morrison was raised not to see a person's skin color, which meant he was able to look beyond that and see the character and heart of that person.

"My dad had a saying. He always would tell me as a young boy growing up, he would tell me, 'Check yourself.' I don't want to hear what somebody else said, what somebody else did," explained Purvis. "I want you to tell me what you did."

Purvis' political career was an uphill climb. In 2002, he ran for Scott councilman.

"Scott is majority white, we're talking about a community that is 80-85% white," said Purvis. "I always felt that people would really look in their hearts and push that aside."

He won, and a few years later he ran for a bigger seat - Lafayette Parish councilman. He secured that seat too.

"They're all preparing me to lose the election. Everytime I talk to them they say, 'You ran a good race, Purvis' and 'You did a good job' and I just kept saying, 'I'm going to win!'"

His optimism encouraged him to run for Mayor of Scott in 2013. He won, becoming the first Black mayor of Scott.

"I didn't want to be the first Black mayor of Scott," he said. "I wanted to be the best mayor of Scott. I never thought about being the first Black. When I ran that was not the goal, to be the first Black, no. We're running to be the best mayor, or the best councilman, or the best anything. That's how we run. It doesn't have anything to do with that."

Mary Morrison, Purvis' wife, is also celebrated in her own way.

She was the first Black woman elected to the Lafayette Consolidated Government council.

In 2013, the same year her husband ran for mayor, she broke another barrier - the first Black woman to serve on the Lafayette Parish School Board. She's currently the president of the school board - again, another first.

"You work hard and you do your job and you present yourself in a positive way," explained Mary. "And never walk in a room inferior or feeling that you're different than anyone. You present yourself as a strong individual, get yourself educated. And you go out there and you can be whatever you want to be."

The Morrisons continue this legacy with their children and grandchildren. It's the family's commitment to grow a stronger community to move this area of the south past its history to create a brighter future.

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