Delilah O. Langlois, 93, Long Island civil rights activist
Delilah O. Langlois, educator and civil rights activist who helped organize the "Poor People's Campaign" march on Washington in 1968, has died.
She died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack at Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, relatives said. She was 93 and lived in Hempstead Village.
Delilah Langlois' son Patrick Langlois, 50, of Hempstead Village, called her his "only mentor." "It gave me a sense of pride knowing that she was instrumental in the movement," he said.
"If it wasn't for masses of people like her, we wouldn't have Obama as president today," he said.
Slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. organized the 1968 campaign.
Delilah Langlois organized bus trips, passed out brochures and encouraged Long Islanders to join blacks across the country there in the social justice fight.
She had been secretary of a branch of the NAACP in Amityville.
"She allowed me to miss a test at school to catch a bus from Amityville to Washington D.C.," her daughter Rosetta Langlois, 60, of Hempstead Village said. "We determined that was a better education than anything else."
But life didn't come without hardships. Having given birth to eight children, she lived long enough to mourn the passing of five.
One died after being hit by a vehicle, while another succumbed to leukemia.
Another child passed away from diabetes, while liver cancer and heart failure resulted in the deaths of two other children.
A cervical cancer survivor, she also outlived three grandchildren.
"I'm going to miss her dancing, singing and her positive attitude toward life," Rosetta Langlois said. "I call her the gambler. She knew when to hold them, when to fold them and when to walk and run," she said.
Delilah Langlois attended Jarvis Christian College in Texas for some time, before eventually earning a nursing degree. In her professional life, she worked at the Pentagon transcribing court hearings.
She spent 17 years on the nursing staff at Pilgrim State Hospital and later became a reading specialist teacher in Center Moriches in 1978, family members said.
Besides her children, Rosetta and Patrick Langlois, she is survived by another daughter, Brenda Sondej, 62, of Elberton, Ga.
She was buried at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale.