Cynthia A. Carter
In 1997, Cynthia Abney Carter was the first African American woman to be elected to the Annapolis City Council in the state of Maryland. She served as a councilwoman for two terms, from 1997 to 2005.
Belonging to one of the original families to live in Annapolis public housing, when College Creek Terrace was redeveloped, a street was named in their honor – Abney Way in Obery Court.
In 1957 Cynthia Elaine Abney, daughter of Reid Aponte and Beatrice Hughes Abney, a nurse, graduated Bates High School, moving to New York and marrying Richard Perry in 1963. They were divorced in 1979. She later married Elmo Carter. She has three children: Duane Pergerson, Rickey Lamar, and Shelley Lamar.
Along with her home life, Carter began a career of helping others. One of her early occupations was being a part-time bus company clerk. Afterward, she began her involvement with the handicapped. For years she took courses in sign language to “bridge the communication gap between the deaf and the hearing.” Eventually, the Office of the Handicapped gave her a small operating space and some equipment. With that, she volunteered eight to ten hours a day, at least five days a week,eventually founding the Link Relay Message Service, a volunteer telecommunication service for hearing and speech impaired persons.
Carter completed her education at Sojourner-Douglass College in Annapolis, then continued her service to the community. She served on the Anne Arundel County Disability Board, and the Anne Arundel County Minority Business Enterprise Program, and was an active member of the Holy Temple Cathedral in Annapolis.
In 1997 Carter ran for Annapolis Alderman of Ward 6 and won the race as a write-in candidate by reaching out to people from door to door throughout the ward. She had a “desire to improve the lives of people of color and people living in subsidized housing.” Her achievements on the City Council were numerous: she served on the Council’s Public Safety, Housing and Community Development, and Environmental Committees. She also acted as chair of the Housing Authority for the City of Annapolis Board of Commissioners and served on the board of the Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency. Furthermore, she was a member of the Caucus of African American Leaders and Anne Arundel County Branch of the NAACP.
Carter consistently worked to improve services and equity for the underserved people of Annapolis. Crime among youth in low-income communities is the largest conflict she felt she had to work at helping to overcome. As a result of few activities to keep youth interested before and after school, youngsters tended to get into trouble.
She also advised scores of candidates, from Aldermen to Congressmen with words of wisdom: “No one is invincible. Never assume any candidate is an automatic winner. If you work hard and find issues that resonate with the voters, it makes a big difference”.
On October 22, 2015, Cynthia Carter resigned from the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis stating, “I’ve done all I can do.”