Born and raised in the deep South, Bogue Chitto, Mississippi, shortly after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in a loving home with maternal grandparents (who later adopted her, her sister, and female cousin), one biological sister, one biological female cousin, and three male cousins. We were raised pretty much as siblings with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins at the homestead on a daily basis.
I moved to California in 1973 with my maternal aunt and uncle, Mary and Melton McMorris, both educators who would play a major role in molding and shaping me to follow “the arc of the moral universe that always bends toward justice.”
I began my career with Santa Barbara County in 1979, became a Defense Investigator in 1984 with Santa Barbara County and was assigned to the Public Defender Office. There I served as Chief Investigator from January 1995 until my retirement on January 18, 2016. I was the first African American female in California to hold the distinction of Chief Investigator.