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Francesta Farmer
Francesta Farmer

United States

Fran dedicated her life's work to civil rights, international affairs and governance. View her special remembrance page >>

More by user: Katy - AllAfrica
Created: 5th Jun 2009
Modified: 9th Jun 2009
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Health, NGOs
International Civil Society Organizations

Biographical Information
Francesta Farmer
(At a Glance)
Gender: female

Ms. Francesta Elizabeth Farmer, 59, a lawyer and expert on African political and social development, died recently of pulmonary failure. Fran, as she was affectionately called by friends and family, dedicated her life's work to civil rights, international affairs and governance. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Fran worked at the Office for Civil Rights, and later at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington. She served as the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Between 1984 and 2007, Fran lived primarily in Africa, where she had homes in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Abuja, Nigeria. While Fran resided in Africa, she worked and traveled throughout the African continent. She served as the regional technical adviser for Pathfinder International from 1993 to 2001. Her duties included directing maternal and child survival projects in east, west and southern Africa. Fran later worked at the National Democratic Institute as the regional director of programs for central and west Africa. During that time, she led the domestic monitoring efforts for Nigeria's 2003 elections. Fran's commitment to social justice and equality compelled her to work tirelessly with many agencies dedicated to improve the quality of life for many communities within African countries. Fran is the oldest daughter of Hilda Harrell Farmer and the late Fred E. Farmer Jr., both of Fayetteville. Fran is survived by her mother; daughter; son-in-law; two grandchildren; three sisters; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

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People :  Francesta Farmer

Fran dedicated her life's work to civil rights, international affairs and governance. <a href="">View her special remembrance page >></a>

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Author: Tami Hultman
Sat Jun 6 13:17:25 2009

My memories of Fran are so diverse that I'll do separate vignettes. When my son Roban was eleven, Fran insisted that I bring him along with me to a conference she had organized for African women parliamentarians. And she used her own money to help pay for his ticket to make it possible.

At the Mt. Kenya Safari Club, where the event took place, children under 12 were banished to a separate eating place. "Now, Roban," Auntie Fran said before we went into the main dining room, "you are 12. If anyone asks, you are 12."

"But I'm not 12,"… [Read Full Text]

Author: Charlie Cobb
Sat Jun 6 12:05:35 2009

I had met Fran when she was Director of the Congressional Black Caucus and thought she had decided to leave it rather suddenly. Both personally and as a reporter, I liked her being there because she always spoke to me with a direct honesty rare on Capitol Hill. I wondered tentatively in a conversation with her, why she was leaving; what she planned to do next. Well, she replied, you always have to be true to the best in yourself. I don’t think there was ever a time when she wasn’t true to the best in herself, and her best… [Read Full Text]

Author: Kwindla Hultman Kramer
Sat Jun 6 12:20:33 2009

I first met Fran as a teenager, and my early memories of her are as possibly the coolest person in the world and a tireless advocate on behalf of (my) adolescent rights. She helped me learn about the world, spent time writing numerous letters of recommendation, and served as an example of how to live an engaged, analytical life. Later, when I was in college, she took me out to dinner every time she came through town, and continued to provide both invaluable advice and a shoulder to lean on. She taught me a great deal, but always gently, gracefully… [Read Full Text]

Author: Roban Hultman Kramer
Tue Jun 9 19:07:37 2009

There are already so many wonderful stories about Fran here from those who loved her all over the world. They are a testament to how many lives she touched and how many people she inspired. I count myself lucky to be one of those people and to have grown up knowing such a kind, courageous, and unusual person. Many of my memories of Fran are from my early childhood and the times I spent with her in Kenya. She took me on safari and shared my amazement at the animals I was seeing for the first time. I remember… [Read Full Text]

Author: Rosa Whitaker
Fri Jun 12 19:30:45 2009

I met Fran when I was young and was inspired by her and had long standing admiration for her. My colleagues and I at The Whitaker Group were deeply saddened to learn of Fran’s passing. As TWG’s Director of Public Affairs, she brought a warm spirit and the kind of wisdom that can only be attained through hard work and a selfless commitment to bettering the lives of others. She shared our passion for Africa and was always prepared to go the extra mile to ensure that Africa’s interests were well served in Washington. As one of our senior staff,… [Read Full Text]

Author: Carl LeVan
Thu Jun 25 16:20:42 2009

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Fran's untimely passing.

She joined NDI's team in Nigeria a few years after I left. I quickly became friends with her during my subsequent visits to Abuja, and I stayed with her for a few weeks in 2004. I remember getting off the plane and showing up at her house as a tired and hungry graduate student, and her cooking me an amazing dinner even though it was late at night. We saw each other a few times after she returned to the DC area.

I valued her friendship… [Read Full Text]

Author: bernicescoar
Sun Jun 28 17:06:13 2009

Fran was one of my most outstanding students, I was her biology teacher at Carver High School, Columbus, Ga. She, another classmate and I made several trips to Tuskegee(Institute) University visiting the George Washington Carver Foundation to extract DNA from pecans as we prepared for the Regional Science Fair in Columbus(1963-64). Fran won 2nd place in the regional. So many fantastic memories come to mind as I think of Fran. I want to thank God for Fran's families and to let them know that we are so blessed to have known her.

Author: asmau benzies -leo
Thu Mar 18 14:40:28 2010

I first met Fran in 2002, when i was selected by NDI in Abuja, .Nigeria to serve as a legislative intern with the National assembly.From the first day we met at Chelsea hotel for a training workshop before the internship programme,Fran became fun of me and at the end of the training workshop that day we had a long discussion that form the basis for our relationship.During the concluding part of the internship,the interns organised a mock parliament and Fran made sure i participated fully during the sessions.From then on she calls me Hon. Asmau and whenever she does… [Read Full Text]

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