The life of Erie’s first African American city councilman, Attorney Larry Meredith is being celebrated Thursday.

Wednesday night, we heard from two current city councilmen who said Meredith led to way for others.

Local leader and Erie native Attorney Larry Meredith was a long-time public servant, and the first African American to serve on Erie City Council in 1977.

Meredith’s life will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Grace Church in McKean. Calling hours are from 10 a.m. to noon with the funeral service to follow.

One current city councilman, Maurice Troop, said Meredith inspired him and countless others.

“It was special to me to follow my uncle’s footsteps and I know it was special to him to swear his nephew in as a councilman,” said Maurice Troop, Erie City councilman.

Attorney Meredith served on numerous boards including the John F. Kennedy Center, where he most recently served as president. Troop said Erie’s youth looked up to Meredith.

“They saw someone concrete that they could actually talk to and speak to and see that he was doing things. And he grew up in the same community that they grew up in, so they knew. And not just black kids- kids in that community in general just knowing that somebody that grew up in the situation that he came from could be successful,” Troop said.

City Councilman Mel Witherspoon said his friendship with Meredith goes back decades and his legacy should be celebrated.

“He has done so much quietly. He was a quiet giant in the community,” Witherspoon said. “He will be missed. He’s my friend. He’s my brother. I just- there’s going to be a void in my life,” Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon said he’s going to spearhead the naming of a street after Meredith and he supports the idea of placing a plaque in the lobby of city hall to honor him.

“He was the first African American to win a seat on city council. Folks need to know that and that’s what I’m going to push for,” Witherspoon went on to say.