Roscoe R. Nix, a Montgomery County civil rights leader who used his political influence and confrontational style to draw attention to racial inequities in one of the region’s most affluent jurisdictions, died Jan. 4 at a hospital in Riverdale, Ga. He was 90.
Mr. Nix, whose civil rights activism spanned more than half a century, said in a 1980s profile in The Washington Post that his roots in the Deep South defined his outlook on race relations.
Growing up in segregated Alabama had its obvious problems, he
said in the article. But the North suffered from “self-righteousness,” he added, and was more likely to overlook its record of discrimination. He vividly recalled organizing a demonstration after being refused service by a Silver Spring restaurant in 1962 .
While working in various federal government jobs, Mr. Nix won a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education in 1974 and railed against de facto school segregation. The second African American elected to the board, he served four years.
Mr. Nix remained deeply committed to education while leading the county’s chapter of the NAACP from 1980 to 1990, a period when the organization was struggling to stay relevant to an increasingly successful black middle-class community.
On the school board and afterward, Mr. Nix pushed for greater resources for schools in poorer neighborhoods and spoke out about racial disparities in school suspension rates. He established recognition programs for high-performing black students and encouraged African American parents to become advocates for their children.
Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring was named for him in 2006.
You can read the rest of his obituary here.
A viewing for Nix will be held at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Blvd. West in Silver Spring on Wednesday, Jan. 11, from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
The funeral will be on Thursday at 11 a.m., with viewing at 10:00 a.m., at The Church of Redeemer on 1423 Girard St. NE in Washington.
Mr. Nix will be buried after the funeral service at Parklawn Memorial Park, 12800 Viers Mill Rd. in Rockville.