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Charles County, Maryland

Charles County Commemorates Hattie Carroll with Ceremonial Naming of Pedestrian Walkway

For Immediate Release
2017-298
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 4:30pm

Charles County Commemorates Hattie Carroll with Ceremonial Naming of Pedestrian Walkway

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, the Charles County Commissioners voted to pass Resolution #2017-17, honoring Ms. Hattie Carroll an African-American waitress killed in a 1963 hate crime committed by a Charles County resident. The assailant was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six months in jail and a $500 fine. On Saturday, Oct. 28, at 11 a.m., the Commissioners will recognize the injustice committed against Ms. Carroll by ceremonially naming “Hattie Carroll Way,” a pedestrian walkway on the east side of the Charles County Government Building in La Plata. To date, Ms. Carroll has not been commemorated in a permanent way in the state of Maryland.

The court handed down the sentence on the same day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. held the March on Washington and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. 2016 Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, who was 22 years old at the time and traveling home by train after performing at the march, read a newspaper article about Hattie Carroll’s death and the subsequent sentencing. He later wrote, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” a protest song about the case.

“Hattie Carroll may have been a sung hero of the civil rights movement thanks to the song by a very young Bob Dylan, but otherwise her infamous death has not received any permanent commemoration. This recognition is long overdue,” said Commissioner Ken Robinson (District 1).

Vicki Marckel, a Charles County teacher whose commissioned artwork includes the Vatican, will unveil a portrait of Ms. Carroll at the ceremony. This painting will later be on display in the Charles County Government Building lobby, and ultimately presented to the Carroll family. Also on display will be artifacts from the court proceedings donated by Mr. Bruce Poole, whose father, David Poole, was the lead prosecutor in the case. 

Poole said, “What happened in the State of Maryland vs. Zantzinger case was an important moment in Maryland’s civil rights history and was a much-discussed case in our household while I was growing up.  My father was proud of the prosecution in the case and, like so many others, he was shocked at the light sentence.  The Charles County commemoration of Ms. Carroll and this landmark case is both appropriate and timely.”

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About Charles County Government
The mission of Charles County Government is to provide our citizens the highest quality service possible in a timely, efficient and courteous manner. To achieve this goal, our government must be operated in an open and accessible atmosphere, be based on comprehensive long- and short-term planning and have an appropriate managerial organization tempered by fiscal responsibility. We support and encourage efforts to grow a diverse workplace. Charles County is a place where all people thrive and businesses grow and prosper; where the preservation of our heritage and environment is paramount; where government services to its citizens are provided at the highest level of excellence; and where the quality of life is the best in the nation.

It is the policy of Charles County to provide equal employment opportunity to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religious or political affiliation or opinion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other status protected by law.