Through their life and work, the following Black women have made an impact in the State of Maryland through their leadership in state and local government.
(l-r) Verda Welcome, Lena K. Lee, Sheila Dixon, and Adrienne Jones. (AFRO Archives and Courtesy Photos)
Civil rights leader and former Maryland State Sen. Verda Welcome, was the second Black woman to be elected to a state senate in the nation and the first Black woman to be elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. Lena King Lee was the third Black woman to earn a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law and served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 to 1982. When she decided to retire from the House, she hand picked her successor, a young lawyer named Elijah Cummings. Sheila Ann Dixon, a former teacher, ascended Baltimore’s political ladder becoming a member of the Baltimore City Council in 1987, where she served for 12 years before becoming Baltimore’s first Black women city council president in 1999 and then the first woman to serve as Mayor of Baltimore in 2007. Del. Adrienne Jones, born in the historically Black enclave of Cowdensville in Baltimore County, was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1997, serving Baltimore County. Twenty years later in 2019, Jones became the first Black and first woman to be Speaker of the House of Delegates in the state’s history.