Beatrice Sutton Carroll, 86, homemaker, political activist who registered voters

May 17, 1999|By Jill Hudson Neal | Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

Beatrice Sutton Carroll, a homemaker and local political activist known as "Mom Bea," died Friday at Catonsville Common Nursing Home from Alzheimer's disease. She was 86 and lived in the Ashburton neighborhood for 40 years.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Mrs. Carroll worked as a secretary to the Colored Women's Democratic Campaign Committee of Maryland and Women Power Inc., two influential grass-roots political organizations that helped reshape city and state politics by registering thousands of blacks in West Baltimore to vote.

"She was a very diligent person," said Victorine Q. Adams, the former legislator, city councilwoman and founder of both groups, which met every month at her Hanlon Park home.

Mrs. Carroll "was a one-of-a-kind person who was quiet and persistent," she said.

Members of both voter-registration groups were mostly housewives in and around West Baltimore. In 1964, the women's Democratic committee registered 30,000 new voters for President Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign.

"I remember her as a dedicated person and a very good mother," Adams said of Mrs. Carroll.

Born and raised in Wilson, N.C., Beatrice Sutton attended Wilson County schools until the ninth grade. In 1942, she moved to Baltimore, where she met and married her husband of 56 years, James A. Carroll, who survives her.

During World War II, Mrs. Carroll worked as a riveter at the Glenn L. Martin Co. aircraft factory in Middle River.

The couple resided in West Baltimore and moved to their Boarman Avenue home in Ashburton in 1959.

Mrs. Carroll was an active member of Gospel Tabernacle 1990 PHOTO Baptist Church and of the Tabscott Gospel Choir and the Reviving Prayer Band.

Services will be held at 10: 30 a.m. Wednesday at Gospel Tabernacle Baptist Church, 3100 Walbrook Avenue.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Irvin M. Sutton Sr. of Baltimore; two daughters, Gloria C. Wells and Geraldine S. Curry, both of Baltimore; two sisters, Lula M. Hayes of Fayetteville, N.C., and Mabel S. Williams of Rocky Mount, N.C.; a brother, Bruce Sutton of Chicago; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association Inc., 1850 York Road, Timonium 21093.

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