Living in Ohio as a young goverment teacher and community activist, Carolyn wanted to attend the 1980 LWV-sponsored presidential debate. Learning that tickets were only available to Cleveland League members, she joined.
Membership with the League gave Carolyn unique access to policymakers. Her passion for education and democracy reform put her in front of the school board, city council, and eventually the state legislature. A historian by nature, Carolyn wrote a book for the LWV Education Fund, One Man, One Vote: The History of the African American Vote in the United States.
In the mid-90s, Carolyn served on the national board of LWV, becoming the national president in 1998. During her tenure, Carolyn shepherded the League into the technology age, launching LWV’s first voter information website, DNet—the predecessor to VOTE411. She testified before Congress, conveying the League’s support of important bills like the Help America Vote Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.
As the League’s first African American national president, Carolyn made it her mission to prioritize diversity in the League’s initiatives and partnerships. Now, she’s carrying on that mission with her new book, The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters.
“The best way to celebrate what we’ve accomplished is by looking at our stories. The resolve of those women that have come before us gives us the energy to move forward.”