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Tewksbury was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. and then moved around the country. She spent her secondary school years in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area. Before moving to Charlottesville as an adult, she was a civil rights lawyer in Portland, Oregon. 
- Web. Human Rights Commission under scrutiny after staffer’s resignation, Graelyn Brashear, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, May 21, 2015, retrieved March 17, 2018. Print. May 21, 2015 .
- Web. Zan Tewksbury, City of Charlottesville, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 27, 2014, retrieved April 28, 2014.