Empowered Women. Contemporary Women. Determination. Leadership. Strength. Achievement. These are so much more than words. They embody the women we are featuring this month as we pay special tribute to their achievements in Dayton and Montgomery County. In honor of black history month, over the next four weeks we will share with you four African American women who have made a huge impact on our community. We hope that you will find inspiration in their stories.
Today we are honoring Mayor Rhine McLin. She is a third generation politician and community activist, following in the path of her father and grandfather. Her family inspired in her a passion for helping others, unifying for a cause, and being politically active. Though hesitant to take over her father’s seat in the Ohio House of Representatives after his death, she did so with grace and determination. She began to lay her own path and became the first African American woman elected to the Ohio State Senate and later the first female mayor of Dayton. In 2005, she was the first African American woman to serve as head of the Ohio Democratic party.
McLin has degrees from Parsons College and Xavier University. She also holds a degree in Mortuary Science and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She was an educator at Central State University for many years, where she taught criminology, juvenile delinquency, and race relations.
McLin has been active in many community organizations, including: the Black Elected Democrats of Ohio, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Dayton Urban League, the Democratic Voters League, the National Council of Negro Women, the Ohio Funeral Directors Association, the Y.W.C.A., and the NAACP.
McLin has received a number of honors and awards for her work and activism. Among them: the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association "Legislator of the Year" Award; 1998 Dayton Daily News Top Ten Women Award; 2000 Columbus Area Women's Political Caucus "Breaking the Glass Ceiling" Award; Dayton YWCA 2002 “Woman of Influence” Award; 2003 NFBPA (Dayton Chapter) Marks of Excellence Award for Public Service.
Rhine McLin remains active and influential in Dayton and Montgomery County today. She has made a monumental difference in our community by breaking barriers for women and African Americans and serving the public as an educator and political figure. She found inspiration in her family’s goals to unify the community for a cause that benefits them. Using this, she set out on her own path to achieving greatness. Her passion and hard work to improve our community can inspire us to do the same.