Eva Partee McMillan was born May 7, 1921, five minutes before her twin sister, Neva Partee, to Joseph Chavis Lee Partee and Mary Rebecca Sowell Partee in Bradford, Tennessee. They were welcomed by brothers; Arlyn Clifton, and Cecil, sisters; Mildred, and Faye; (a sister Grace passed some years prior). Their mother died several months after the twins were born and their dad lovingly raised his children as a single parent.
January 1, 1930, the family moved to the White Rock community in Far North Dallas and united with Christian Chapel CME Church. She attended the local public schools: Addison Negro School, Armstrong School, and graduated from Vickery High School in 1938 and then moved to Dallas in Freedmen’s Town.
On May 15, 1941, she married The Rev. Marion Ernest McMillan; pastor of the new St. Luke Methodist Episcopal Church, now St. Luke United Methodist “Community” Church. Four children were born to this union, Karen, Ernest, Jacqueline, and Katherine. The family worshipped at St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church, now St. Paul United Methodist Church and other churches that Rev. McMillan pastored.
As a young wife and mother during the early 1940s, Mrs. McMillan began work in the civil rights movement when her brother, Arlyn Clifton (A. C.) Partee, was appointed Executive Secretary to the Dallas Progressive Voter’s League. As an elections clerk and community activist she registered voters and collected poll taxes. She also served on numerous school Parent Teacher Associations.
During the 1960s, she became an organizer in the civil rights movement and with others co-founded the Dallas Black Women’s United Front (BWUF), the BWUF Food Co-Op, and People United for Justice for Prisoners (PUJP), the Anti-Klan Network, the Dallas Anti-Apartheid Coalition, the Anti-Death Penalty Coalition, and other organizations.
In 1975, Mrs. McMillan was elected, and served two terms as president of a national civil rights organization; The Southern Conference Education Fund, (SCEF) headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and later Atlanta, Georgia. She also served on other national boards, including Operation Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee, and was a member of the American women’s delegation to the People’s Republic of China in 1975.
Other boards and committees on which she has served included: Dallas Citizens Police Review Board, the Dallas Municipal Library Board, Executive officer and writer-contributor for Black Dallas Remembered, Inc. Member of the African American Genealogy Interest Group (AAGIG), the Dallas Genealogy Society (DGS), and the African American Read-In.
She was named a “Living Legend” by The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) in 1989 and that same year was presented with the Kentake Award by The Third Eye. In 2003, she received The National Council of Negro Women, Inc,. Minnie H. Goodlow Page Section Civic and Social Service Award. Also awarded the SCASSI OYOMESI Warrior Award by the Southern Conference on African American Studies, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 by the Dallas Peace Center. She was acknowledged in 2019 as part of the International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month Recognition program by Pan African Connection.
During her over 60 year membership at St. Paul United Methodist Church she served on many committees and in 1995 SPUMC presented her with the Community Service Award. In 2012, she reunited and is a member of her childhood church, Christian Chapel CME Temple of Faith.
Mrs. McMillan celebrated her 100th birthday today on May 7, 2021.
Public viewing from 1 pm – 6 pm at Black and Clark Funeral Home, located at 2517 E. Illionois Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75216 on Tuesday, October 5.
Funeral service and Celebration of Life is scheduled for Wednesday, October 6 at 11 am, at Christian Chapel Temple of Faith, located at 14120 Noel Road, Dallas, Texas 75254
Private burial (for immediate family only) at White Rock Garden of Memories Cemetry.