Terri Sewell talks to supporters at the St. James Hotel in Selma during her celebration party. Sewell became the first black woman to be elected as a Representative for Alabama. -- Rick Couch photo

Sewell brings history home

Published 12:17am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A piece of history was again brought to Selma Tuesday night during Terri Sewell’s victory party at the St. James Hotel.

Sewell, who defeated Selma resident Don Chamberlain for the 7th Congressional District seat, also became the first black woman to represent Alabama in Washington.

Despite her historic victory, Sewell said the election was bigger than she.

“This win is not about me,” she said. “This win is for the 7th Congressional District. I am so honored and humble to have the opportunity to represent home.”

Sewell said she spent her formative years in Selma and deemed it an honor to return to the hotel that sits at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge to “carry a torch that so many women have paved the way for.”

Her opponent, Chamberlain, said he felt his campaign fell just short.

“It went as we expected it to,” Chamberlain said. “A lot of money came in from Washington and we just didn’t get our message out there like we wanted to.”

At the same time, Chamberlain said he supports Sewell and hopes she is able to make strides for the Black Belt in Washington.

“She ran a clean campaign, it never got nasty like some of the other races,” he said. “I wish her the best of luck.”

When asked about positive influences in her life, Sewell said she could look no further than her immediate family.

“I have a wonderful role model in my mother,” she said. “Some people ask me where do you get your tenacity. My mom was the first African-American woman to sit on the city council of Selma and was also the person who gave me my first book. I traveled through those books long before I ever had this chance.”

There will be little time for celebration, Sewell said, so she can hit the ground running.

“I know that we need better jobs, I know that we need better schools,” she said. “As a person who grew up in this community, I understand.”

As she greeted friends, family and supporters, Sewell reflected that her election to the 7th District brought her full circle.

“I started here in Selma and there was never a time when I didn’t think that I could achieve and be whatever I wanted,” she said. “That is not only a testament to my mom and dad, it is a testament to a whole community.”

  • selmaOnMyMind

    Can she get in office first and prove herself before going negative on her Bama22? Lolcats has it right though, I thought you would have been gone by now. Is there anything I can to help you leave this “God awful place” (in your mind only of course)? I will donate a U-Haul as long as it is a ONE-WAY TRIP!!! On that note, you do have a pleasant day.

  • yellowroseofTexas

    The purpose of the Tea Party movement is to remind politicians they serve the people. Participants basically have been sending a wake up call to the DP and RP. Both parties had not been doing what they should do about immigration, the economy, health care, etc.

    • aacourtland

      It’s going to be interesting, yellowrose…, to see what the next two years will look like. You’ve got a volitile tea party crowd headed to Washington and a hunkered down establishment republican crowd already there, not to mention the Democrats on the other side. On November 2nd, the tea party placed a “wake up” call to the Democrats. It will be interesting to see the call they place to the members of the Republican party. I foresee gridlock, infighting, and namecalling. What do you see?

  • fleecing foundation

    Congrats. Hope you words come to fruition for Dallas County. I know you are an Obama supporter, but let’s hope you don’t get engulfed by the delusional politics of this administration too much. They are on their way out in 2012, so I wouldn’t get too chummy. Do the work of ALL the people, stay above the b.s and you’ll do fine.

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  • bama22

    Yea, congrats to you. We’ll see how long the quote “This win is not about me” quote lasts. She is an Obama supporter people! But as usual, this is Dallas County and go figure. I’m glad I will not be living in Selma when the next election comes along.

    • lolcats

      Sewell carried the election in Dallas County by 70% and the rest of her district as a whole by 73%. Which means she had better turnout outside of Dallas County.. GO FIGURE..

      You have been “moving” for a year now… Is it gonna be easier to move in 2011? LOL

    • aacourtland

      Need some help moving out?


    Congratulations Terri, don’t get caught up in Washington and think you’ll be there forever (like Arthur Davis did) and remember your roots. Popdukes12

  • Selma

    Congrats Terry, we are proud of u and know that u will do an excellent job for the people of Selma and District 7. You will represent us with dignity, intelligence, and professionalism. The people of Selma are blessed to have one of its own in such an esteem position.

  • lolcats


    You do realize the purpose of the teaparty was to get rid of bi-partisan politics… Right?

    • lolcats

      Sorry that should of been “partisan” politics

      • aacourtland

        You said it right the first time.

  • Renigade

    Selma should be very proud and Congresswoman Sewell is to be congratulated on her victory. Her parents are also to be congratulated for their role in her accomplishments. I wish her great success in the years ahead. Not only does she represent the 7th District, she represents the State of Alabama. I wish her only the best. A TEAPARTY REPUBLICAN!!!

  • home

    “Good Job Terri”, looking forward to working with you.

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