In a ceremony yesterday held at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Annapolis Mayor Cohen honored the work of present, past and future African American Alderpersons.
According to a post made by Carl Snowden on the Annapolis Democratic Action Group facebook page.
On Sunday, October 27, 2013, 4PM, at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, 84 Franklin Street, Annapolis, Maryland, Mayor Josh Cohen will honor African Americans who have served, are serving and will be serving on the Annapolis City Council.
Most Marylanders are unaware that the city of Annapolis has the distinction of being the first jurisdiction in the State of Maryland to elect an African American to public office. This achievement occurred in 1873, exactly eight years after the Civil War ended in 1865.
The first African American in the State of Maryland to be elected to public office was Alderman William H. Butler. Since the election Alderman Butler, African Americans have served on the City Council with the only exception being 1909-1915.
The Maryland General Assembly in 1909 disenfranchised black voters and it took the U.S. Supreme Court to restore the voting rights of African Americans in the city of Annapolis in 1915.
Here are some interesting facts, the first African American democrat elected was the late Alderman Samuel Gilmer in 1981(prior to that only African American republicans were elected).
Alderwoman Cynthia Abney Carter became the first African American woman elected to the Annapolis City Council in 1997.
She has been followed by Alderwoman Classie Gillis Hoyle and Alderwoman Shelia Finlayson. They will be joined in December by the third ward Democratic nominee Rhonda Pindell Charles, Esq., who is running unopposed.
By the way, it was Alderwoman Hoyle who changed the law to allow women to be called “Alderwoman” instead of “Alderman”.
There have only been 19 African Americans to serve on the City Council, since 1708, when the city created its charter.
I have been informed that the Honorable Joseline Ivy, a candidate for Maryland’s Lt. Governor will be a special guest who will be attending Sunday’s event.
If Delegate Ivy is elected next November she will become the first democrat elected Lt. Governor in our nation’s history.
Currently, the only African American male on the City Council is Alderman Kenneth A. Kirby. Each of these individuals have or will leave a legacy for those that will follow.
Of all of the civil rights gains that we have made in this nation, the right to vote is the most precious.
As we join Mayor Cohen and others in celebrating the contributions that many Americans have made, let us remember that on November 5th , when you cast your ballot, you too are leaving a legacy. Congratulations to those who have served us through public service.
In a future column, I am going to explain who I am voting for in the Annapolis City General election on November 5th and why.
Our best days are ahead of us and what we do today will help to determine what the future looks like for our children and grandchildren.