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Public Statements

The Death of Jane E. Mitchell

Location: Washington, DC

THE DEATH OF JANE E. MITCHELL -- (Senate - November 17, 2004)

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Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I wish to honor the life of a truly great woman, Jane E. Mitchell. She passed away on Saturday, November 13, after 83 years of standing up for the rights of others. Her impact on the State of Delaware is profound, and her spirit everlasting.

Many in Delaware know Jane Mitchell as the wife of Littleton "Lit" Mitchell, Delaware's first African-American lawyer and a remarkable force in the civil rights movement. With all of his astounding accomplishments, though, Lit never made a decision without talking it over with Jane. She may not have had his public profile, but she certainly knew the intricacies of the issues and just how much was at stake.

Far beyond her role as the wife of an influential man, Jane Mitchell was an extraordinary person in her own right. Her life is a story of achievement-each one greater than the last. In her nursing career, Jane began making history by being the first African-American at Delaware State Hospital to treat both black and white patients. Her career led her to become the first African-American nursing director in the State, and she was eventually the president of the State Board of Nursing and vice-president of the Delaware Nurses Association before her retirement.

After retiring, Jane Mitchell devoted her life to volunteering. Her causes were numerous, and she was passionately committed to each. She continued her work in medicine and civil rights, and became a powerful voice in the fight to improve the treatment of the mentally ill. In 1998, a building was erected in her name at the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

Jane E. Mitchell has been described as a pioneer, a trailblazer and a heroine. She devoted her life to promoting the welfare of others. Whether it was in her role as nurse, advocate, volunteer or wife and mother, Jane never wavered in her enthusiasm for doing good and making a difference. I am saddened by her passing, yet she continues to inspire me. Jane Mitchell's legacy is great, and I am honored to recognize her today.

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