Roots of Our Community - The Bend Magazine

Roots of Our Community

Recognizing Coretta Graham and Joel Mumphord

By: Jessie Chrobocinski  Photo via: Debbie Noble, featuring Coretta Graham

Too often, feats of Black Americans in every aspect throughout our history are undervalued. From socio-economic and political to cultural and institutional oppression, activists and community leaders have instilled the courage for others to stand up against racial oppression.  

In this regard, two local political activists Coretta Graham and Joel Mumphord, have dedicated time to educate our community and organize opportunities for those who can to vote. Coretta Graham is the first Black Democratic Party Chair of Nueces County. Joel Mumphord has held the role of the organization’s Election Administrator for ten years.

Graham’s role helps educate our community on the importance of activism, voter registration, political awareness, and involvement. While under her leadership, the Nueces County Democratic party helped elect the county’s first female county judge.

“Coretta has been a great leader and one of the most effective party chairs. She has done a lot for the party,” says Mumphord. “Last year was difficult with COVID, but we maintained our workers while keeping them safe.”

Mumphord’s position facilitates filling election workers – including 42 early voting election workers, a ballot board, and working with the Republican Party to find locations to host primary and general elections.

“I had a great teacher, Susan Reeves, and a person who believed in me, Joseph Ramirez. I stepped up to the plate [when appointed as Election Administrator],” says Mumphord. “I love the process, and I have worked with many different party chairs. I like that I get to help bring in a younger group who have never been involved in politics to get the experience and show them the importance of each of the roles that support the election process.”

“This success means progress for the community to become more diverse and inclusive in leadership and political opportunities for African Americans who live in the Coastal Bend,” shares Graham.

Black leaders continue to uproot longstanding systemic issues across our community and the world, to continue building a system that works for all and provides outstanding, accessible, and equitable opportunities. As we celebrate Black History Month, let us not only reflect and be reverential, but strengthen a personal commitment to end racism, oppression, and inequality.