Former State Rep. Paul Ragsdale dies at 66

August 17, 2011 2:52:26 AM PDT
Former Texas Rep. Paul Ragsdale, one of the first African Americans elected to the Texas House since Reconstruction, has died. He was 66.

Ragsdale was elected first in 1972 and served seven terms representing a Dallas district. Cherokee County Democratic Chairman Ceasar Roy told the Jacksonville Daily Progress Tuesday that Roy, who died Sunday in Tyler, was amiable and jovial but a "no-nonsense legislator."

With seven other lawmakers, he founded the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in 1973. Records show he authored more than 124 House bills and championed Black History Week in Texas. He's also credited with getting pictures of black citizens who served in the Legislature and Constitutional Convention before 1900 to be on permanent display in the Capitol in Austin.

Services were set for Saturday in Jacksonville.