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When Zena Stephens officially swears in at the Jackson County Sheriff in Texas, she will become the first Black woman elected to the role in state history. Stephens beat out a Republican rival in a tight race, and expects there will be tough challenges ahead.

Little information on Stephens’ personal life exists online but what is known is that she is the current chief of police for Prairie View A&M University and has worked previously in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in the past. She held her celebration speech in Beaumont at a well-known soul food spot and jazz bar, where her husband, Darrell, greeted her with a bouquet of roses.

Stephens edged out her white male Republican opponent, Ray Beck, in a hard-fought battle that went down to the wire. There is still some holdup on when Stephens will be officially confirmed, as Beck is challenging the election results.

Stephens said she realizes the importance of her election as she felt she didn’t have anyone to look up when she was a young girl. She hopes to inspire other minority girls by way of her example.

PHOTO: Zena Stephens campaign

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LIttle Known Black History Fact: Zena Stephens  was originally published on