Jimmie Elliott Crystal Stair Scholarship Fund
The Jimmie Elliott Crystal Stair Scholarship will be awarded to prospective educators who demonstrate need. It was established by Jimmie’s son, Andre, and is dedicated to the unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and opportunities in the face of incredible odds.
Jimmie Elliott was born on October 17, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama. Andre says, “My earliest recollection as the fourth child of seven was seeing how hard my mother worked to raise seven children. Without a father, and without many of the comforts of life, we were fortunate to grow up in a small community of caring neighbors.”
Jimmie Elliott epitomizes the words, "Lift yourself up by your own bootstraps." Always viewed as the smartest among her seven siblings, she accepted a part-time job as a flexible clerk at a Birmingham post office on December 10, 1966. She studied and attained a Broker's Real Estate License in 1974 and opened an office. In 1975, she became the first black female supervisor in the Birmingham main post office. In 1975, she transferred to Huntsville, Alabama, accepting a position as supervisor of employee services. In short, she became the only female in the Alabama district to attain the postmaster level of 22 on the Executive and Administrative Schedule. In 1989, she was given a certificate of appreciation from the governor of Alabama for outstanding community service to improve life in the state of Alabama. She was proclaimed honorary mayor of Bessemer, Alabama, in 1991 for outstanding contributions to the cause of humanity and good government.
Andre says, “My mother came from places with boards torn up, places with no carpet on the floor, bare. All the time, she kept rising. She was a lifelong learner long before it became a popular notion, serving in myriad management and leadership positions as the first female of her color. She also served as a beloved Sunday school teacher. Her life is my inspiration. It is my hope that the Jimmie Elliott Crystal Stair Scholarship will inspire some student whose life has not been a crystal stair to rise and not simply sit down on the stairs. “ The scholarship’s name comes from the Langston Hughes poem, Mother to Son.