AACC Building Renamed In Honor Of 1st Black Woman To Serve On County Council


Anne Arundel Community College on Monday changed the name of the Arundel Center North to the Sarah E. Carter Building in honor of the first Black woman to serve on the County Council. (Courtesy of Jenny Proebstle, Office of County Executive Pittman)

GLEN BURNIE, MD - Officials on Monday renamed an Anne Arundel Community College building in honor of the first Black woman to serve on the County Council.

The former Arundel Center North is now called the Sarah E. Carter Building. The Glen Burnie facility houses AACC's Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute.

“We are immensely proud,” Carter’s daughter, Vanessa Carter, said in a press release. “We always knew what a wonderful woman she was. It’s nice to know that others appreciated her contribution to the county.”

Current and former leaders celebrated the renaming with a ceremony and sign unveiling. The event was held on the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the civil rights rally where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

Carter was elected to the Anne Arundel County Council in 1974, winning her countywide election by 13 votes. County Council elections were countywide at the time, unlike the district elections of today.

Carter served for 8 years and is still the only Black woman to serve on the County Council.

“Sarah E. Carter’s election in 1974 resonated with African Americans in the same way as Governor Wes Moore’s did,” Carl Snowden, the Convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders, said in the release. 

Councilmembers Pete Smith (left), Julie Hummer (second from left), Allison Pickard (second from right), and Amanda Fiedler (right) present Vanessa Carter (middle) with a citation. (Courtesy of Brian H.)

Before running for office, Carter served on several boards and commissions. She hosted voter registration drives and worked at the polls.

Carter advocated for worker's rights and health equity while in office. She created the Well Baby Clinic in Brooklyn Park when African American children and women lacked access to public health care. 

Carter and her family also rehabilitated an old building to create classrooms for Black children in her neighborhood. She later worked to integrate Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

The former Sarah Howard spent most of her life in the Cedar Hill neighborhood near Brooklyn Park. She graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore and then attended AACC.

Carter died on Jan. 20, 1998 in Dover, Delaware. She is survived by five sons and three daughters.

“Councilmember Sarah E. Carter's name will now be remembered by all of Anne Arundel County,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said in the release. “I want to thank the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Committee, the Caucus of African American leaders, and all who came out to celebrate this historic moment.”

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Anne Arundel County contributed the money to rename the building at the request of the Caucus of African American Leaders. 

A photo board at the event honored the life of Sarah Carter. (Courtesy of Brian H.)
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