On the morning of February 4, 2014, Juliette Marie Carpenter went peacefully to be with the Lord. Juliette was born on July 10, 1920; she was the third child of George and Sarah Brown. Juliette attended St. Barnabas and St. Pius Catholic schools. She graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1939.
Juliette has always loved sports. She says she was an “adolescent tomboy.” She played baseball, basketball and even football with the boys in the neighborhood.
In fact, she was a star player on the Frederick Douglass basketball team. Juliette jokingly says that Cory McNeill, her grandson and assistant basketball coach for the University of Virginia women’s basketball team, inherited his basketball skills from her. Her love for sports continued as was evident in her undying devotion to the Baltimore Colts, Baltimore’s NFL football team prior to the arrival of the Ravens. She not only attended all the home games, but also the away games.
During World War II, Juliette worked at Glen L. Martin, a company that built airplanes; she was an electrician. Her job was to wire all of the pilot’s controls in the cockpit. She was the first African-American and the first female of any race to work this operation at Glen L. Martin. According to Juliette, the inspectors said that if Juliette did the job, they knew it was done correctly. How’s that for women’s power in 1943 from a 23 year old? After the war, Juliette worked for the State Department in Washington D.C. She started as a clerk and worked her way up to become a supervisor. After commuting to Washington for 25 years, she resigned.
She then began to work for the State of Maryland in a supervisory position. She worked there for five years and then retired. Juliette worked hard during her adult life, but she knew how to have a good time also. She loved to dress up, dance and enjoy the nightlife. The nightlife for blacks was on Baltimore’s famous Pennsylvania Avenue. Juliette and her friends frequented the Sphinx Club and the Club Casino, which was managed by her late brother, George A. Brown Jr. In fact, Juliette is featured in a video about Pennsylvania Avenue at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.
In 1943, Juliette married a wonderful man, Robert “Pity” Carpenter. Four years later their daughter, Pamela, was born on her father’s birthday and their wedding anniversary. Pity and Juliette separated a few years later, but they remained friends.
Juliette is fortunate to have personally experienced two outstanding historical events. She walked with Martin Luther King Jr., in the “March on Washington” in 1963, and she witnessed the inauguration of this country’s first Black President, Barack Obama. Juliette has truly lived a blessed life.
Juliette is survived by her daughter, Pamela; two grandsons, Anthony and Cory; two granddaughters-in-law, Robin and Kim; five great grandchildren, Brionna, Austin, Anthony, Gabrielle and Cayden; two sisters, Augustine and Bette; two brothers, Thomas (Elroy) and Earl (Plump); one brother-in-law, Golden (Sputs); three sisters-in-law, Shirley, Sylvia, Catherine, several nieces and nephews as well a host of other relatives and friends.
Services for Juliette Carpenter begin 10 a.m., Feb. 15 with the viewing and family hour at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 3301 Windsor Ave., in Baltimore, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. Burial is in the New Cathedral, 4300 Old Frederick Road, with a repast immediately after at St. Cecilia’s.
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