Carolyn Q. Coleman, County Commissioner for District 7 passed away surrounded by family and friends Wednesday evening, January 26, 2022. She was 79.
Coleman, most known for her firebrand activism goes back to Savannah, Georgia where she was among the first of three students arrested in the sit-in demonstrations. She dedicated her life to challenging issues of racial inequities. Professionally, she served as a member of the NAACP as a member of the national staff for over 28 years in capacities such as Regional Youth Director, Alabama State Director, NC State Director and Southern Voter Education Director. She was appointed to work for two terms as Special Assistant to North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt. Coleman held a Master of Science degree in adult education from North Carolina A&T University and studied at Memphis Theological Seminary.
Commissioner Coleman was first elected to the County Board of Commissioners in December of 2002 serving nearly 20 years representing Guilford County’s Pleasant Garden community and Eastern Greensboro, as the District 7 representative.
Commissioner Coleman served as Guilford County’s First African American Chairwoman in 2005 and recently received the North Carolina Association of Black County Officials’ Fredrick Douglas Award for her efforts during the Pandemic. Commissioner Coleman advocated and personally facilitated the County’s Feeding the Communities Program which provided 8,000 boxes of food to families in need between December of 2020 and July of 2021.
She advocated for a livable wage and lead a multi-year push for a minimum wage $15.00 per hour rate for County employees, school nutrition workers and school bus drivers.
Chairman of the Board Melvin “Skip” Alston shared that, “Commissioner Coleman has been a dear friend of mine for decades. We have worked side by side over the years representing Guilford County and the State of North Carolina. Not once in her remarkable life, did she slowdown in her advocacy and commitment to supporting equity, inclusion and tolerance. Her passing came as a surprise to us all. I was shocked to receive the call yesterday to join her family at the hospital so that we could spend time with her during her last hours. We are all grieving for the loss of our friend right now.”
Commissioner Coleman along with Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston lead the charge in securing a Countywide disparity study in October of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. She proved relentless in her efforts to ensure that all businesses including minority and women owned had equal access to governmental contracting opportunities.
Vice Chairwoman Carlvena Foster stated, “This is such a loss to this board, the Greensboro community and the entire state. She was a true warrior, civil rights activist and pillar in the community. She will be deeply missed.”
The County Board of Commissioner vacancy her death leaves behind will activate measures under North Carolina General Statute 153A-27.1 which outlines the process that the County will take when vacancies occur on the Board.
Family representatives have asked that they be provided privacy as they grieve. Additional information regarding her funeral services will be released at a later date.