Sturla honors the life of Lancaster icon Nelson Polite
HARRISBURG, April 11 – The state House of Representatives unanimously adopted H.R. 773 honoring the life of Lancaster civil rights leader Nelson M. Polite Sr., introduced by state Rep. Mike Sturla, D- Lancaster.
Polite, who died in February at 92, served as former president of Lancaster City Council and former chairman of the Lancaster City Planning Commission. In addition to his service to the city, he was a member of the NAACP, Crispus Attucks Community Center, Lancaster Recreation Commission, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Way.
A member of the Boy Scouts, Polite formed Troop 15 in 1947. He was also a member of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite Masons and was a 33rd Degree Mason, the highest honor in the Free Masons.
During the civil rights era, Polite protested segregation in Lancaster. He helped to lead protests at the segregated Rocky Springs pool and outside downtown stores that offered few jobs to African-Americans. After the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., he walked the streets to urge calm. Polite was a civil rights icon who always worked for equality and fairness.
“I am privileged to commemorate Nelson Polite’s life and contributions to Lancaster. He truly embodied a good citizen and I am proud to have called him a friend. I will miss him and his profound advice and explanations, and I’m sure all who knew him will miss him as well,” Sturla said.