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Walter Percival Carter (April 29, 1923 - July 31, 1971) was a civil rights activist and a central figure in Baltimore’smarker civil rights movement, organizing demonstrations against discrimination throughout Marylandmarker. A hospital, an elementary school, a recreation center, a college library and a day care center in Baltimore are named for him.

Background

Carter was the seventh of nine children born to Carrie P. and Walter Carter Sr. in Monroe, North Carolinamarker. He received his bachelor's degree from North Carolina A&T where he participated in voter registration, the debate team, and was a member of the Progressive Party. He was well-liked by his classmates, and admired for his keen intellect and unusual sense of humor. Carter obtained a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) at Howard Universitymarker. While studying at Howard, he met young Stokely Carmichael and the two became friends.

Social activist

Carter led voter registration drives in the South, was a World War II veteran. As chairman of the local chapter of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), he was an organizer massive and aggressive campaigns, including the 1960 Freedom Rides to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Gwynn Oak Park, Howard Johnson Chain, and other eating establishments along Routes 40, 1, 150, and 50; apartment buildings, hotels, and other public accommodations throughout Maryland. {Maryland coordinator of the March on Washington in 1963. He was a coordinator of the massive Federated Civil Rights Organization march, of more than 3,000, to protest segregation in housing in 1965, and the chief architect of the Activists, Inc. That year, the Apartment House Owners Association of Maryland was forced to open facilities to all. In the late 1960s, Carter convinced the Community Chest, now known as the United Way of Central Maryland, to fund grass roots organizations with African American constituents, such as Echo House. Carter protested segregated housing and poor living conditions that African Americans faced in Baltimore in the late 1950s and through the 1960s. He organized protest marches, often taking the fight to the homes of the whites who owned the segregated housing.

Carter was appointed by mayor Thomas L. J. D'Alesandro III, to head the Community Action Agency (CAA). But, the Baltimore City Council voted 10-8 on September 30 to not confirm Carter's appointment. According to news accounts, Schaeffer complained that Carter was "too radical", and would move the agency forward at a pace at which the city was not yet ready. Due to Carters rejection, 12 of 21 members of the Community Action Committee, three top members of the Urban Coalition including Parren J. Mitchell resigned from their positions in demonstration of protest to the rejection of the nomination of Walter Carter.

In 1963, Carter created the William L Moore Foundation, for fellow CORE activist and Baltimorean William L. Moore. Moore was marching to the mansion of the Alabama state Governor to deliver a letter. While embarking on this lone march on April 23, 1963 in Gladsden, Alabama, Moore was shot in the head twice and later found by a motorist passing by. The letter that Moore intending on giving to the Governor was later found and never delivered to the Governor of Alabama.

Legacy

Walter P.
Carter Elementary School
Walter P.
Carter Recreation Center
Carter died on July 31, 1971, as he was giving a report to the Black United Front, at the Union Baptist Church in Baltimore. The previous day, Carter had won a court battle against, then slumlord, Morris Goldeseker. Goldseker had sought an injunction against Carter, who had had been picketing and leading protests outside Goldseker's office, calling on him to "Stop the Black Tax", referring to the excessive fees charged in an effort to scam blacks out of their rights to homeownership.
Congressman Parren Mitchell added this to the Congressional Record:
Mr. Speaker, the State of Maryland last week, lost one of the most able civil rights leaders in the person of Walter P. Carter. Expressions of sympathy have come from across the nation and around the world. I think this should be a very special lesson to this House to learn that there are whites who recognize the contributions of a man who articulates black identity and black awareness.


The Walter P. Carter Mental Health Hospital was established in Baltimore in 1974 in Carter's honor. There is also a day care center, a public school and a college library in Baltimore named for Carter.Every year, the children at the Walter P. Carter Elementary School participate in a "Walter P. Carter Day" program where they come up with different ways of celebrating his legacy.

Family

Carter's wife, Zerita "Joy" Richardson Carter, a native-Baltimorean, and retired public school teacher, continues to reside at the family home in Ashburton. Carter's younger daughter, Jill Priscilla Carter, is an attorney and member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Carter's elder daughter, Judith Lynn, is married to Baltimore Citymarker circuit court judge Sylvester B. Cox and together they have two daughters, Lindsey and Erin. Lindsey Carter Cox, so named in honor of her grandfather, is a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.marker majoring in Business Administration, and is scheduled to graduate in May 2009. Erin Taylor Cox, the younger of the granddaughters, was the All City Volleyball Champion in 2008, and is,currently, a freshman at Morgan State Universitymarker in Baltimore where she is a member of the volleyball team. She is Scheduled to graduate in 2012.

Notes


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