Nightly News   |  January 16, 2014

Evelyn Wynn-Dixon: the People’s Mayor

At one point, Evelyn Wynn-Dixon was ready to give up on life, but she found a way to turn things around and is now an inspiration.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, a real success story involving a remarkable woman who made it despite overwhelming odds evelyn dickson was ready to give up but found inspiration in a lot of different lives.

>> how foolish was that? my life could have ended here.

>> reporter: evelyn dickson says what brought her to this bridge in 1973 started with a bad decision, she got pregnant during her first semester in college.

>> back then, a girl was put to shame.

>> reporter: she dropped out, got married and had three more children and by the age of 32 was a homeless mother.

>> do you think people judged you?

>> you had to go to the canteen to get food, and people said horrible things to you, that is my tax money.

>> reporter: when it all became too much, she thought her insurance policy would provide for her kids if she took her life.

>> i thought it would be simple like on the movies, and it was not.

>> reporter: she then decided to work her way back.

>> i said this is not going to defeat me. i'm going to prove to people that i can make it.

>> reporter: she earned a nursing certificate, then a bachelor of science , and eventually a phd in public health .

>> the key is not when you fall, it is how you get up after you fall. i've had the vision of what it could be.

>> reporter: at the age of 58 with no political experience, dr. dickson ran for mayor of riverdale, georgia.

>> and i won my whole campaign for $2,318.57.

>> reporter: she built the new city hall complex, ran unopposed for the second term. is it hard being the mayor?

>> i don't think of myself as the mayor, i feel like i'm the mom of the county. if you walk up and want to hug me, i hug you back. and i appreciate y'all.

>> reporter: there are millions and millions of women today who live on the edge of poverty. what would you say to them?

>> find something to believe in. and that it is not going to be sunny every day.

>> reporter: at the age of 64, mayor dickson says she prays her life is an example for others.

>> i am the american dream , i am, so i made it, i may have been homeless, on food stamps , and