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Autrilla Scott, Long Beach Community Presence & Civil Rights Pioneer, Passes


(Feb. 17, 2013) -- Longtime Long Beach community presence and civil rights pioneer Autrilla Scott, who played a prominent role in Long Beach history and was the former Arkansas babysitter and nanny to then-toddler Bill Clinton, has passed away at the age of 82.

Photo by Will Cullen

Word of her death on Sunday Feb. 17 spread quickly in the community. We share remembrances of Ms. Scott below. If you're among the many whose lives she touched, feel free to share your thoughts with us at And thank you.

Photo by Will Cullen

Retired Long Beach Police Department Commander Josef Levy:

Photo by Will Cullen

Autrilla Scott's past was a remarkable one that I always enjoyed hearing about. My family and I have many fond memories of Autrilla Scott, dating back to 1996. At that time, my wife Lysa was co-facilitating the City of Long Beach Neighborhood Leadership Program. A collaborative program that was co-facilitated by the National Conference, now, The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ).

Autrilla was a participant in the NLP Program, a five month program that empowered neighborhood leaders to take on more active roles in their community. This program provided resources and allowed the participants to write mini-grants for community projects. Autrilla was passionate about having the alley behind her home paved so children, walking to school didn't have to navigate their way through the weeds, trash and pests, etc. She learned that the residents would be required to raise the money to pave the alley and wanted her project to be associated with this effort. Since fundraising could not be a project, it was decided that she needed to gain support from her neighbors and surrounding community. She organized and held the famous "Alley Rally" which became a yearly event and the City ultimately paved the alley and called it Autrilla Scott Lane.

Photo source: Release ( accompanying Historical Profiles of Long Beach African American Women by Sunny Nash & Carolyn Smith Watts

A few years ago Autrilla wrote me the following framed poem which I prominently displayed in my office at the West Police Station :

The Policeman

The first time I met this man, he is the husband of my leadership teacher, a family man.

We needed him to help us make a "Alley Rally" plan,

Working together as people we created the "Alley Rally" plan for all races living in the land.

What is now known as "Autrilla Scott" Lane

Thanks to the Policeman

Autrilla was a kind, generous woman who was passionate and determined about making positive change in her community. For many years, she would host the annual National Night Event. I recall attending these events and seeing Autrilla sitting on her front porch, watching children from different racial, ethnic cultural groups playing in her yard and taking in the delicious food she prepared. She also established a Neighborhood Watch.

When I think about individuals who have left their mark in Long Beach, I think about Autrilla Scott and her passion for people, social justice and equality. She will leave a large void in the Central Long Beach area and we will miss her dearly.

Photo by Will Cullen

Further to follow.

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