Representative Demetrius Newton, (D-Birmingham), 85, passed away at his home in Birmingham.
Newton was elected to the House in 1986. He served as the first African-American Speaker Pro-Tem of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1998 until 2010.
He received his B.A. from Wilberforce University, a J.D. from Boston University, and was an attorney in private practice.
Representative Newton was a member of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church and is the father of two children, Deirdre C. Newton and Demetrius C. Newton, Jr.
A former National President of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the Wilberforce University Alumni Association, Representative Newton has been distinguished by receiving awards such as the “Outstanding Lawyer Award” by the Alabama Lawyer Association, and the “Outstanding Legislator Award” by the Alabama Poultry & Egg Association. He is also a Past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Birmingham Urban League. Representative Newton was a current member of the Alabama, National, and American Bar Associations, as well as, the American Judicature Society, NAACP, 101 Black Men, and the Vulcan Gold Club.
Statement from House Minority Leader Craig Ford Regarding the Death of Rep. Demetrius Newton
Minority Leader of the House, Representative Craig Ford, (D-Gadsden) released a statement saying, “My thoughts and prayers are with Demetrius’ family. Demetrius was a true statesman and a good friend. He made history as the first African American to serve as Speaker Pro Tem of the House, and his experience and advice were invaluable to me. I am deeply saddened by his loss. The state has lost a great representative and a good man.”
Statement from Representative Darrio Melton Regarding the Death of Rep. Demetrius Newton
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of a friend and colleague, Representative Demetrius Newton. He dedicated his life to public service and improving the great state of Alabama, and his loss will be felt in both the state House and in my house. Representative Newton achieved so much to pave the way for African-Americans in politics and his legacy will not soon be forgotten,” said Representative Demetrius Newton in a statement.
Representative Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010.
Twitter Statements Released by Speaker of the House Representative Mike Hubbard
“Representative Newton was a true gentleman and I considered him to be a great friend for the 15 years that I had the honor of knowing him.”
“Mr. Newton was an intelligent, fair, and kind man as well as a respected and knowledgeable legislator who fought for his district.”
“His 27 years of service to the AL Legislature and his incredible impact on the Civil Rights movement will forever be a part of AL history.”
Twitter Statements Released by Governor Robert Bentley
“I want to extend muy deepest sympathies to the family of Representative demetrius Newton.”
“I had the honor of serving with him in the Alabama House of Representatives for eight years.”
“He was a fine geltleman, and we had a strong mutual respect for each other.”
“Rep. Newton will be greatly missed, not only by his own constituents, but also by the entire state of Alabama.”
Statement from Rep. Napoleon Bracy on the Death of Rep. Demetrius Newton
“I was broken-hearted to learn this morning of the death of my friend and colleague, Rep. Demetrius Newton. Rep. Newton helped pave the way for African Americans with his role in the Civil Rights Movement and later serving as the first African American Speaker Pro Tem of the Alabama House of Representatives. He was a statesman and an honorable man. I am privileged to have known him and to have served with him in the legislature. I will pray for his family as we all mourn his passing.”
Rep. Napoleon Bracy is a Democrat from Mobile. He is serving his first term in the state legislature. He also serves as the Chairman of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.