Rosie Carpenter, educator and a major civil rights and community leader in Greene County turned one hundred years old on January 25, 2022.
She currently resides in Bowie, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, D.C.) with her daughter, Mrs. Joyce C. Dasher.
Carpenter was one of the few Greene County teachers that actively participated in the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in Greene County, actively encouraged Black people to run for office, and assisted Black people to register and vote, after passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
With her sister, Annie Thomas, she courageously made their home on Greensboro Avenue in Eutaw, Alabama, available as a “Movement House”, which provided a place for group meetings, planning sessions, and strategic assessments of weekly activities. Civil rights leaders like Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, James Orange and Ben “Sunshine” Owens were regular visitors during this period.
Her home was also used as an after-school refuge for children during the period of school integration. A historical plaque was placed and dedicated in front of her house, during the 50th anniversary of the July 29, 1969 Special Election that placed a majority of Black officials on the Greene County Commission and School Board.
Mrs. Carpenter was instrumental in the selection of Dr. Robert Brown as the first Black Superintendent of Schools in Greene County after the 1969 election. She served for many years in the Greene County Board of Education Central Office, under Dr. Brown and his successors.
In an interview with Monty Thornburg, educational historian, Carpenter said, “When I first worked in the Greene County school system, Black teachers could not enter the front door of the building. We had to go to the back door and beg for things for our students. Teachers were assigned to grocery stores in town to cash their pay checks and buy groceries, it was like living on a plantation. Needless to say, all of this was changed when we were able to elect a board which represented the majority of people of Greene County.”
Spiver Gordon said, “Mrs. Carpenter was a special kind of Black teacher who was also a grassroots community leader, willing to stand up for the people and make sure everyone was able to vote in Greene County. We all wish her a great 100th birthday.”
The City Council of Eutaw passed a proclamation naming January 30th as “Mrs. Rosie Carpenter Day” in the city.
Mrs. Carpenter family and friends are holding a zoom birthday celebration call on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 3:00 PM (Central Time); the zoom call number is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/ 7801834623# . You can also connect to Zoom Meeting ID : 780 183 4623, by calling 1-312-626-6799 and adding the meeting number, when prompted.