(1927 – 2013)
Mrs. Inez Mims Petty started her career with Extension as a Negro Home Demonstration Agent in Lawrence County working with both youth and adults in 1947. According to former 4-H’ers under Mrs. Petty’s leadership, she had a deep passion for her work as an agent. She conducted 4-H Club meetings at the local schools for minority students in Courtland, Moulton, Town Creek, and Hillsboro communities. She did numerous home visits and one-on-one sessions, where she taught the 4-H girls how to cook and can food for the garden. She also taught them how to sew, starting with an apron, and as their sewing skills developed, they could then make a skirt or dress. Mrs. Petty impressed upon the 4-H’ers the importance of having good leadership and communication skills through projects in public speaking and leadership activities.
Mrs. Petty carried numerous young ladies to Tuskegee Institute to compete in the State 4-H Competitions. Many of her 4-H’ers received high honors and recognition as a result of her guidance and assistance. She emphasized to the 4-H’ers the importance of furthering one’s education as a means to improve personal economics and the quality of life. In fact, several of Mrs. Petty’s 4-H’ers followed the same career path to become Extension Agents or educators. According to many, that knew Mrs. Petty, was an outstanding role model for young ladies and all youth based on her intelligence, poise, skills, and self-confidence.
Mrs. Petty was a trailblazer within the Extension organization. In 1977, she was promoted to the position of County Extension Coordinator — a position that had never been held by a female or black within the state of Alabama. She made many, many positive accomplishments in this role and impacted the lives of many, many families of all races in Lawrence County. She retired in September 1985.
Inez Mims Petty left a great legacy with 36 years of service in Lawrence County and the state of Alabama. Epsilon Sigma Phi honors her by placing her name on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Inscription Number: 584