Civil Rights Activist Rev. Willie T. Barrow Dead At 90

willie t barrowCivil rights activist Rev. Willie T. Barrow has died after being admitted into the intensive care unit at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago Monday night with a blood clot in her lung.

Barrow, 90, died around 2:30 a.m. Thursday at her South Shore home, according to John Mitchell, chief of staff at Rainbow/PUSH. He did not have a cause of death, but Barrow had been hospitalized the end of February for a blood clot.

With Revered Jesse Jackson in the 1960s, she helped form the Chicago chapter of Operation Breadbasket. It eventually became the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, where she is chairperson emeritus.

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Rev. Barrow just celebrated her 90th birthday in December.

Barrow grew up in rural Texas on a farm with her six siblings. Her father was a local pastor. She was called to ministry when she was sixteen. While studying ministry in Portland, Oregon, she organized the first African American Church of God. She was also a welder in a shipyard, where she met Clyde Barrow, whom she married, and where she became involved in the labor movement.

In 1945, she settled in Chicago, where she pushed for the election of the city’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington, and the nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama. She has advocated for the rights of minorities, gays, women and union members.

Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot gets wedged into an artery in your lungs. These blood clots most commonly originate in the deep veins of your legs, but they can also come from other parts of your body. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

It’s rare to have a single pulmonary embolism. In most cases, multiple clots are involved. The lung tissue served by each blocked artery is robbed of blood and may die. This makes it more difficult for your lungs to provide oxygen to the rest of your body.

An associate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Barrow worked on the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 March on Selma.

Our prayers and thoughts are with her family.