Mrs. Inez Crutchfield, Meharry Board of Trustees Member, Civil Rights pioneer and political innovator, named to the TECW Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame
Mrs. Inez Crutchfield, a member of Meharry's Board of Trustees, was inducted into the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame, a program of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women (TECW). The induction ceremony was held at the Nashville Airport Marriott on Monday, October 28, 2013 at Noon as part of the 10th Annual Economic Summit for Women.
A native of Lebanon, Tennessee, Mrs. Crutchfield grew up in Watertown, Tennessee where she was educated in the public school system. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in health education in 1947 and 1949 respectively. In 1954, she did post graduate study at Ohio University.
During her tenure as an assistant professor for health education at Tennessee State University from 1949 to 1985, Mrs. Crutchfield was an active member of the university community. She served on numerous departmental and university committees including the Faculty Senate and the Advisory Board on International Affairs.
Mrs. Crutchfield is probably best known for her role in local and national politics and for being "first" in many of her undertakings.
Her involvement in national politics began when she became the first African-American woman to serve as a representative for Tennessee on the Democratic National Committee. She was the first African-American woman to become a member of the Democratic Women's Club of Davidson County and the first African-American woman to serve as president and as a member of that organization's executive board. She was also one of approximately 15 women invited by President Jimmy Carter to attend a minority briefing on legislation affecting minorities.
Her civic contributions have been recognized with a variety of awards and honors, including Woman of the Year, Outstanding Woman in Politics and Nashville Links, Inc. in 1980; the naming of the Mary Inez Gibbs Crutchfield Room in the Tennessee State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985 and The Athena Award in 1994.
In January 2006, the Tennessee Democratic Party and Davidson County Democratic Party honored Mrs. Crutchfield as "one of the individuals who has exemplified the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."by providing leadership for all Tennesseans during the Civil Rights Movement."
An active member of the community, Mrs. Crutchfield has served on numerous organizational and political boards and committees that include the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, lifetime member), the Black Women's Forum, the Hubbard Hospital Advisory Board, the Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (charter member), the Nashville Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation (member of the board of directors) and the Meharry Medical College Board of Trustees (1985 to present).
She is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Nashville YWCA and an Alumnae Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
On October 4, 2013, Mrs. Crutchfield was honored as a human rights advocate at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
Over the years, Mrs. Crutchfield has opened her heart and her home becoming a surrogate mother to seven young women as they pursued their undergraduate degrees. These women became members of her family and five of them have graduated and gone on to become successful professionals.
She was married to Carl Crutchfield, former Dean of Admissions and Records at Tennessee State University, until his death in 2009. They had two children, Carlton Gibbs and Maribeth Janet and three grandchildren, Carl Steven (Carlsie), Chase Gibbs and Chelsea Renee Inez.
A member of First Baptist Church Capital Hill for more than 50 years, Mrs. Crutchfield is a member of the Sanctuary Choir, Matrons Circle and the Political Action Committee at the church. She has been a keynote speaker at several local churches.
An untiring participant in civic and political organizations, Mrs. Crutchfield has distinguished herself as a committed, caring woman who works to make life better for others through community service.