Tessa Hill-Aston, the fifth female president of the Baltimore City branch of the NAACP, was sworn in Jan. 13 at the New Fellowship Christian Community Church in Park Heights, Baltimore.

Hill-Aston, 60, also serves as the city housing administrator and is the chapter’s first female leader since the legendary Enolia P. McMillian reigned more than 20 years ago.

Hill-Aston took the oath of office surrounded by family, close friends, supporters and dignitaries. Well-wishers crowded the medium-sized church, forcing ushers to set out folding chairs behind pews to accommodate the large crowd. The spiritual event included prayers and musical selections from the church choir.

Media personality Anthony McCarthy was the host and other notable attendees included Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who spoke briefly; City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young; Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chair Maria Welch; Baltimore mayoral candidate Otis Rolley; and City Council members Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, Sharon Green Middleton, Belinda Conaway, William “Pete” Welch and Carl Stokes. The governor, mayor and others officials sent representatives.

Hill-Aston was elected president by NAACP members Nov. 16 with the endorsement of former president Marvin “Doc” Cheatham. Her opponent, longtime former Baltimore City chapter head, G. I. Johnson, challenged the vote but NAACP Headquarters dismissed the case in early January.

The historic organization’s new head said she’ll spend her two-year term engaging youth, increasing membership, developing new programs and cultivating relationships with other minority organizations.

Shernay Williams

Special to the AFRO