Raleigh proudly recognizes February as a way to acknowledge the heritage and contributions of Black Americans. City of Raleigh departments were tasked with identifying a figure in Black History that had a direct impact on the work they conduct and the services they provide to the Raleigh community.
Our organization is making a concerted effort to embed racial equity into our policies, procedures, and business practices. Through this work, we will build upon the legacy of those before us, and create what the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. called “The Beloved Community.”
Join us in celebrating these individuals that have contributed to advancing our work.
Marchell Adams-David – City Manager
The first woman and African American in history to lead the City of Raleigh.
Samuel J. Cullers – Planner
The first Black “professional trained” urban planner and an advocate for ending housing discrimination against Black families.
John H. Baker Sr. – Police Officer
The Raleigh Police Department’s first African-American police officer on December 1, 1942.
Captain Willie Carter – Firefighter
Upon completing his military service, he joined the Winston Salem Fire Department in 1951, as one of eight of the first black firefighters in North Carolina.
Dr. Gladys West – Transportation
Contribution to the field of transportation was to develop computer and mathematical models that made the Global Positioning System (GPS) possible.
Ernest T. Attwell – Parks
A pioneer in the field of recreation extended the “quality as well as quantity” of recreational opportunities for minority groups in the first half of the 20th century.
Gaston Alonzo Edwards – Housing and Neighborhoods
The first African American architect registered and licensed in the state of North Carolina.
Michael Stanley Regan – Water
The first black man to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and is responsible for combating climate change, promoting green energy innovations, and addressing the effects of environmental racism.
Dr. Anna Julia Haywood Cooper – Equity and Inclusion
Dr. Cooper was born August 10th, 1858, and was an African American “author, educator, sociologist, speaker, Black liberation activist and one of the most prominent African American scholars in United States history.”