For more than 20 years, Geraldean Hall not so quietly worked on the political campaigns of candidates she felt would benefit the residents of Flint, the best.
As family and friends prepare to honor Hall at her funeral service, conversations are being had about the void her death now leaves.
“Gerri was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met in my life. She was a person that found joy in pouring everything she knew into other people, particularly up-and-coming young activists, politicians, leaders, and influencers,” said Delrico Loyd. “What made her contributions to us so valuable was the fact that she was committed to doing and saying whatever she needed to say and do to literally empty herself of all of the knowledge she had.”
Gerri, as she was known to family and friends, became involved in local politics when she worked on former Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley’s first mayoral campaign in 1990.
After helping Stanley on his campaign, Hall, a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, worked on the campaigns of current United States Congressman Dan Kildee, former State Representatives and County Commissioners Brenda and Floyd Clack as well Loyd, who once served as Flint City Councilman.
“You could not find a more dedicated person than Gerri as far as being committed to the Democratic process,” said former Genesee County Commissioner Brenda Clack. “She was dedicated to getting the information out there. Even when it came to the recent debate on changing the (voting) districts, she would call me and say look at that map. It is not right. That’s just the way she was. She wanted to make sure the map was drawn where there weren’t any inequities.”
Hall also became a prominent figure in the Democratic Party. She served as Vice-Chairperson of the Genesee County Democratic Party before eventually being promoted to Chairperson. In 2019, Hall was awarded the Genesee County Democratic Party’s most prestigious award, The Andrew Jackson Transue Award.
She also served on several committees with the Genesee County Democratic Party. Hall’s work in Flint and Genesee County eventually gained the attention of the Michigan Democratic Party.
Her local political work earned her a spot on the Michigan Democratic Party’s State Central Committee, which acts as the governing body for the Michigan Democratic Party.
Up until her death on May 14, 2022, Hall continued to be a force as a political organizer locally, in the state of Michigan, and in national elections.
Hall was also the driving force behind the Genesee County Democratic Party Black Caucus. According to the Caucus’s by-laws, it was created to “promote the interests and concerns of Blacks (and) minorities within the Democratic Party and to elect democrats.”
“If she got into something she was there for the long haul,” said 2nd District Genesee County Commissioner, Charles Winfrey.
“She was a good person that the Democratic Party was lucky to have. She kept the Democratic Black Caucus running for years,” Winfrey said. “I do not think that without her commitment and dedication to it, it would not have lasted this long. She took it on her shoulders and kept it alive.”
While there is no questioning the impact she has had politically, Hall’s real legacy may be the numerous young black leaders and activists she mentored.
Much like Ella Baker, who served as a mentor to the late Georgia United States Congressman John Lewis and Stokely Carmichael, during the Civil Rights Movement, Hall served as a mentor to many current leaders and activists in Flint.
“She was a mentor, a guide, a resource, a supporter, a cheerleader and so much more,” said Kyle McCree, Director of State Government Affairs for Consumers Energy. “She was just a warm person that opened up doors for others. She never asked for anything for herself. It was all about helping people and helping the community. She was the greatest.”
McCree was first introduced to Hall after he spoke to his uncle, former Genesee County Register of Deeds, Melvin McCree about possibly pursuing a career in politics. He remembers that she was more than happy to help and provided him with directions on how to proceed.
Hall’s family says that the attention to detail that made her a prominent political organizer did not disappear in her personal life.
In fact, her son Carl Hall Jr. says that his mother taught him the proper way to do everything. He saw this approach in everything she did.
He says paying attention to details was important in all the roles he saw his mother in. He added that her way of operating was the same whether in her career as an accountant for General Motors, one of the many boards she served on, or in her personal life.
While he did not understand the importance of following proper processes as a child, he gets it now that he is an adult.
“Certain things have a certain order of operations and it really matters as you get older,” he remembers. “It’s like a math problem. They say you have to show your work. Yes, you can guess the answer. Yes, you have the right answer but you have no idea how you got there. Once you have your process it allows you to think through other stuff with that same process.”
Order was everything to Hall and she made sure her son knew that family was at the top of her order of importance.
“She was not doing a lot of that stuff while I was in school, he added.” You know just like I know having a kid that is active in sports is a full-time job. My senior year I didn’t play basketball, but I still played soccer, I was in robotics and I played tennis. She did all of this stuff and she never said it was too expensive, or I don’t have time. She always made a way.”
Now Hall’s family and the Flint community are forced to reimagine life without a person that loved being a resource to all.
“In respect to her I think it behooves us to continue her legacy and redouble the effort she put into it,” Winfrey said.