Myrtle Braxton. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee.
Richmond resident Myrtle Braxton’s life gives meaning to the word “service.” She is known and loved throughout the city and West Contra Costa County for her selfless volunteerism, generosity and goodwill.
On an ordinary day, Braxton can be found at one of many board or committee meetings, networking at a community event or participating in function at her home church, Easter Hill United Methodist Church.
She is president of the Laurel Park Neighborhood Council. She is also an active member of the Richmond’s Commission on Aging, the West Contra Costa County League of Women Voters, the California Alliance for Retired Women and other community organizations
“Somebody has to do it. I really enjoy what I do. My mother always said: ‘If you didn’t enjoy it, you wouldn’t do it,’ and I guess that’s true.”
Born in Dallas Texas, she and her family relocated to the Bay Area in 1943. They lived in Berkeley for a short time before moving to Richmond.
At the age of 17, Braxton took her first job working at the Social Security Administration (SSA) in San Francisco. She married her late husband Abraham in 1947. At the age of 20, she and her husband had the first of five children.
She continued at the SSA and even worked at the agency’s first office in Richmond. She worked for the SSA for 35 years prior to retiring early in 1981.
Although retired, she has kept a busy schedule. Her work has never stopped, trading a full-time job for full-time civic involvement.
“I’ve been retired for a longer period than what I worked,” she said, laughing.
“I want to see Richmond’s reputation change. What people think of Richmond is not true. I do all that I do to show the true side of Richmond,” she said.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.