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Israel Benjamin "Bo" Curtis
Louisiana State Representative
for District 26 (Rapides Parish)

In office
Preceded by Charles R. Herring
Succeeded by Herbert B. Dixon
Member of the Rapides Parish School Board for District D

In office
Succeeded by Herbert B. Dixon
Personal details
Born (1932-09-11)September 11, 1932
Died February 16, 2012(2012-02-16) (aged 79)
Resting place Alexandria Memorial Gardens in Alexandria, Louisiana
Nationality African-American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Jean Curtis
Children Andrea Yvette Curtis

Benjamin Frederick Curtis

Parents Israel "Chief" and Maria Curtis
Residence Alexandria, Louisiana
Alma mater Peabody High School

Grambling State University
Northwestern State University
Texas Christian University
Texas Southern University
Michigan State University

Occupation Educator and coach

Insurance agent and funeral home officer

Religion Missionary Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/wars Korean War

Israel Benjamin Curtis, known as Israel "Bo" Curtis (September 11, 1932 – February 16, 2012),[1][2] was an African-American educator and funeral home insurance agent who served from 1992 to 2008 in the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 26 in Alexandria, Louisiana.[3]


Curtis graduated from Peabody High School in Alexandria and Grambling State University in Grambling in Lincoln Parish, from which he gained a Bachelor of Science degree. He obtained a master's degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and he did further graduate studies at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, the historically black Southern University in Baton Rouge, and Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. After high school, Curtis served in the United States Army during the Korean War and was a long-term member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. For more than two decades after he completed Grambling University, Curtis was a teacher and coach in Rapides Parish. He retired from the classroom to become manager and funeral director of the Winnfield Life Insurance Company of Alexandria. He was a personal bodyguard for Martin Luther King, Jr., when the civil rights activist visited Alexandria.[1]

Dixon formerly resided in Dallas and Duncanville, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, dates not available.[4] With his wife, Barbara Jean Curtis (born 1934), Dixon had two children, Andrea Yvette Curtis (born 1958) and Benjamin Frederick Curtis (born 1963). He was a long-time choir member and deacon of the Nazarene Missionary Baptist Church in Alexandria. He was an active member of the Grambling University Alumni Association.[1]

Political life

In his first election to the Louisiana House in the November 16, 1991 general election Curtis, a Democrat, defeated Republican candidate Robert "Bob" Jordan, 6,810 (53.6 percent) to 5,901 (46.4 percent).[5] In his first reelection in 1995, Curtis defeated another Republican, Willard Adrian "Willie" Harp (born November 1956), 5,736 (67.5 percent) to 2,001 (23.5 percent). A third candidate held the remaining 9 percent of the ballots cast. Harp had also run for the seat in 1991.[6] In his last election to the legislature on November 15, 2003, Curtis defeated in a runoff contest fellow African-American Alexandria Democrat, Herbert B. Dixon, 5,512 (53 percent) to 4,892 (47 percent).[7]

In his sixteen years in the state House of Representatives, Curtis focused on constituent service and health care matters. He led the move to build the Rapides Primary Healthcare Center at 1217 Willow Glen River Road in Alexandria.[1]

From 1976 to 1992, Dixon was the District D member of the Rapides Parish School Board.[1] His successor on the school board and in the legislature was his former intra-party rival, Herbert Dixon.[8][9]

Curtis died in 2012 at the age of seventy-nine and is interred at Alexandria Memorial Gardens.[1][2]

The Curtis-Coleman Memorial Bridge, still under construction atop the Red River at Alexandria-Pineville, was named in 2014 for Curtis and Lemon "Billy" Coleman (1935-2015), the first black to have served on the Pineville City Council. The bridge was previously named for Governor O. K. Allen.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Israel "Bo" Curtis obituary". The Alexandria Town Talk. February 24, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Israel "Bo" Curtis". Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  3. "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016: Rapides Parish". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  4. "Israel Benjamin Curtis". Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  5. "Louisiana general election returns, November 16, 1991". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  6. "Louisiana primary election returns, October 21, 1995". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  7. "Louisiana general election returns, November 15, 2003". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  8. "Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  9. "Louisiana primary election returns, October 3, 1992". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  10. Jeff Matthews (August 18, 2015). "Trailblazer Coleman ‘will surely be missed’". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
Preceded by
Charles R. Herring
Louisiana State Representative for District 26 (Rapides Parish)

Israel Benjamin "Bo" Curtis

Succeeded by
Herbert B. Dixon
Preceded by
Member of the Rapides Parish School Board for District D

Israel Benjamin "Bo" Curtis

Succeeded by
Herbert B. Dixon

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