The late Charles McMillan, a former National Association of REALTORS® president, was one of more than 100 Black veterans memorialized at a Jan. 15 event in Grand Prairie, Texas, marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event took place at Antioch Life Park Cemetery, where McMillan is buried.
McMillan was NAR’s first Black president and a towering figure in the association’s history, known for his wisdom and grace in good times and bad. As 2009 president, he helped guide the association through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, advocating on behalf of not just REALTORS® but also the public. “Consumers need to know that we have their best interests at heart,” McMillan told REALTOR® Magazine at the start of his term. “REALTORS® are a preeminent advocate for private property rights and a natural ally for consumers.”
Many of Dallas’s first African American settlers, including former slaves, are buried at Antioch Life Park Cemetery, says Angela Luckey, president of the Grand Prairie NAACP and organizer of the event. Luckey, who also serves on the Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation board, leads the town in honoring veterans several times during the year.
Kristin Smith, a REALTOR® and the daughter of 2022 NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith, and Kaki Lybbert, 2022 NAR vice president of advocacy, were on hand to honor McMillan and lay a wreath on his gravestone. “He was a man of so much character, love, advice, and wisdom,” said Smith during the ceremony. “He was someone you could count on. We want to thank him for his service…and everything he contributed…especially to the REALTOR® family.”
McMillan served two terms in the Air Force, earning the rank of staff sergeant. He died in 2017. He would have been 70 on Jan. 11.