Carol Dawkins, 75, battled drug dealing

June 28, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Carol B. Dawkins, a former West Baltimore crossing guard and community activist who led several marches against drug use in her neighborhood, died Wednesday of heart failure while visiting relatives in New York.

A diminutive woman, Mrs. Dawkins, 75, lived and worked in the Sandtown-Winchester community for many years.

She was known for standing up to drug dealers and their customers.

"No one wanted to mess with her," said her son, Rodney Dawkins of Washington. "She had no fear of anyone. She didn't (( care who you were, how bad you were or what your record was. If you were doing wrong, she'd let you know."

Throughout the 1980s, when she saw drug dealing near her home at Riggs Avenue and Whatcoat Street, friends and family members said, she would stand in the crowd and sing gospel songs -- often with a microphone and amplifier.

At other times, she'd knock on doors of homes where she saw crowds gathering and ask, "Does your mama know what you're doing?"

"Sometimes you were surprised how she survived doing what she did," her son said. "Most of those people could squash her and not think twice about it."

Mrs. Dawkins organized anti-drug marches and rallies and went door to door gathering support.

"She had a way of guilting people into joining with her," said Gwen Frazier, a former neighbor. "If you said that you couldn't march with her, she'd ask you if you had children and if they felt safe around drug dealers. You felt compelled to join her."

A native of Trenton, N.J., the former Carol Allen came to Baltimore in 1943 and worked for many years as a nurse's assistant at area hospitals. In the late 1950s, she worked as a seamstress at the old London Fog Co. plant in North Baltimore.

Mrs. Dawkins was a crossing guard at several West Baltimore locations from the late 1970s until she retired in 1982.

When she wasn't working as a crossing guard, she walked through the community, talking to people and picking up trash.

"No one could fault her because she cared about the community," Mrs. Frazier said. "Everything she did -- crazy as it might seem to other people -- was all because she wanted her neighborhood to be a better place to live."

Mrs. Dawkins enjoyed quilting, gardening and watching sports on television -- especially professional wrestling.

A memorial service is planned for next month.

She married Edward Dawkins in 1950. He died in 1991.

In addition to her son, she is survived by a daughter, Gail White of Hyattsville; a sister, Delores Carrollton of Washington; and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 6/28/98

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