Yevola S. Peters
Yevola Ruth Smith Peters was the first African American female to have an Annapolis city street named after her.
To pave the way for the development of the Greenbriar housing area in the late 1990s, the street, “Yevola S. Peters Way” was created. Although the City had historically named streets after men and women of other ethnic groups, Yevola S. Peters Way was created as a testament to Mrs. Peter’s long-standing community work in the Annapolis area.
Yevola was born to Katie Pough Smith and Hampton David Smith, who were both teachers at Claflin College, an HBCU now known as Claflin University, in Orangeburg, South Carolina, the home of Claflin. She graduated with a bachelors’ degree from Morgan University, a master’s degree from Boston University, and she pursued further studies at the Universities of Arizona and Maryland. Her professional work began as a music teacher and later a band director, starting her career as an educator in the public school systems in Kent, Howard, and finally Anne Arundel County. A change in her career experiences included work in various capacities at the Anne Arundel County Economic Opportunity Committees, Inc., known by many as the Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency, where she initially became the Director of Youth Development Program. Subsequently, she became Community Organizer, and among other areas, she worked as the Chief Program Officers, Assistant Director, and finally, became the Executive Director of the Agency in 1991. Nearly ten years later, she returned to the Agency as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and continued her work there until 2005.
Beyond her extensive professional background of service to the community, Mrs. Peters expanded her community advocacy work in 1969, when she became staff at the Community Action Agency. Her later work for this agency was a natural fit for Peters because of their support in anti-poverty areas and their work for families and youth. These experiences were augmented by her many years of self-employment as a trainer and consultant in organizational and program development, board training, and conflict resolution, among other areas.
Mrs. Peters’ professional work and volunteer activities supported and highlight her community advocacy. In addition to her years of community support provided through work with the Community Action Agency, from 2006 through 2016 she served the community in various County government roles. She served as the Director of Constituents Services and Special Assistant for Human Relations and Minority Affairs, working for multiple County Executives of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
Further, within the Annapolis community, Mrs. Peters served on numerous boards and worked with numerous organizations. Among others, these include a founding member and past president of Banneker-Douglass Museum Foundation, Inc. and a founding board member of the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center, Inc.; She is currently an active member and leader within the St. Phillips Episcopal Church.
Yevola was married to Everett E, Peters for 50 years. She has three children, multiple grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She credits her upbringing in Orangeburg, S.C., and her parents’ example of community activism, for instilling in her a desire to help others.
“My parents were both educators,” Peters said. “They’d see children in need, and they would nourish them.”