Born on Feb. 13, 1943 in the settlement community of Snowden within the Town of Mount Pleasant, Thomasena Stokes-Marshall’s family moved to the Bronx in New York City when she was 5 years old.
She graduated from New York University with a degree in public administration and community organization and began her career as a corrections officer for the New York State Department of Corrections. After five years, she took the exam for the NYPD and became a police officer in 1968. After doing patrol for 10 years she was promoted to detective and assigned to community affairs where she finished out her law enforcement career retiring in 1991.
She and her husband Claude Marshall moved back to the Snowden community in 1993 to care for Ms. Stokes-Marshall’s aging parents. Becoming increasingly involved in the community, she successfully ran in 1998 for a seat on Mount Pleasant’s Town Council, becoming the first African American to hold the post. She served four terms (17 years) from 1998-2015.
She championed the town’s development of a senior center which opened its doors in 2009 bearing her name. The opening of the Thomasena Stokes-Marshall Senior Center was an accomplishment she considered one of the greatest of her life.
Ms. Stokes-Marshall also sought to celebrate Gullah-Geechee culture, including sweetgrass basket art, which originated in Mount Pleasant, by creating the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association.
After leaving council, she co-founded the African American Historic Settlement Commission in 2016 to protect the history and character of settlement communities like Snowden.
Serving on the Mount Pleasant Affordable Housing Task Force, she sought to bring attainable housing to the community and broke ground on Gregorie Ferry Townhomes in May of 2021.
In her retirement, Ms. Stokes-Marshall remained active in several charitable organizations, including East Cooper Meals on Wheels, East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the International African American Museum exemplifying her servant's heart and desire to give back to the community.
Thomasena Stokes-Marshall will be truly missed. Her lasting legacy and mark on the Town of Mount Pleasant will be remembered for generations to come.