Shreveport has lost a gentle giant. Civil rights pioneer Dr. C.O. Simpkins has died. He's been in the hospital for several days, but we have learned he passed Wednesday night. Simpkins was a retired dentist who was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement across the south.

Dr. Simpkins was 94 years old.

Mayor Adrian Perkins posted this message about Dr. Simpkins

Shreveport Councilman Willie Bradford, a longtime friend of Dr. Simpkins says this is a sad day for our community.

Bradford also posted this message:

With profound sadness and a heavy heart, I regret to inform you that Dr. C.O. Simpkins, beloved civic leader, and hero in the Civil Rights Movement passed away tonight, December 4, 2019 after being hospitalized for several days.
My most heartfelt condolences to his devoted wife Elaine, and the family. May God bless and comfort them during this time of sadness and grief.
May the Soul of Dr. Simpkins Rest in Peace. Bradford adds: "What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.”

KEEL News was privileged to speak to Dr. Simpkins in January of 2016 during which he remembered Dr. Martin Luther King.

Funeral arrangements for Dr. Simpkins are pending.