Jessie Rattley

  • Fall 1990

Jessie Rattley served as former mayor of Newport News, Virginia from 1986 to 1990. In 1951, Mrs. Rattley established the Business Department at Huntington High School in Newport News - the first Black High School in Newport News to offer business training to its students. She went on to the Peninsula Business College in 1952, which provided an opportunity for youths and adults to be trained for careers in business. Mrs. Rattley was the administrator of Newport News General Hospital, a non-profit, minority owned entity, which has been in operation for the past 80 years and was elected to the Newport News City Council as the first Black and first woman in 1970 She was re-elected in 1974, 1978, and 1982, and she began serving her term as mayor in 1986. Mrs. Rattley is very active in the National League of Cities, the Virginia Municipal League, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and was appointed by President Carter to serve on the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Education.