Long-time Columbia activist dies at age 69

Feb 10, 2014

Columbia says goodbye to longtime activist Wynna Faye Elbert. 

Elbert passed away on Sunday, at the age of 69, due to complications related to diabetes.  She is remembered around Columbia for her youth and civil rights activism.  

Credit Scarlett Robertson / KBIA

Elbert has partnered with a variety of organizations such as the Columbia Department of Parks and Recreations and the NAACP. She has founded and helped implement policies and programs to help improve the quality of life for African Americans.

“She was basically one of the major people in the community that mobilized people and motivated people to get up, stand up, and do something to make the community better,” said a former colleague of over 25 years, Bill Thompson.

As a Columbia Native and resident, Elbert has spent her life in Columbia working to improve the community beginning her activism at the age of fifteen. She has won several awards from the city and state for her contributions.

Not only has Elbert worked towards improving social justice for the vast majority of her life, she has also taken on several entrepreneurial endeavors including hosting a radio talk show called “ Straight Talk” for more than 20 years and owning a soul-food restaurant for about  five years. 

“She certainly did more than just helping out the African American community and the Douglass park area. She really did a lot for all of us,” said Mike Griggs, director of the Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Those close to Elbert say that her impact will live on and her contributions will never be forgotten. Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized but the family plans on a public service.