John Winters was the first African-American elected to the Raleigh City Council. He was also North Carolina's first black state senator of the 1900s, but it was not just politics where he made his mark.
In the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Winters helped tear down the walls of racial injustice. As a builder, he created affordable housing for African-Americans.
"We have lost a true icon, somebody that was a truly classy gentleman in the way he carried himself, in the way he embraced helping others and in the way that he cared about his community," State Auditor Ralph Campbell said.
Winters had been ill and was staying with his daughter in Atlanta when he died. His cause of death has not been released yet. He was 84.
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