Monday Ms. Stories is a feature that focuses on the women of Onondaga County’s past that many may have either forgotten, haven’t heard of, or don’t know much about.
Marjorie Carter (b. 1929) Marjorie Carter was born in Syracuse and grew up attending Syracuse city schools. While at school, Carter felt inspired by her teachers, and by the sixth grade, she had decided to become a teacher herself. After graduating from high school, she attended SUNY Cortland as the only African American student in the college. She graduated in 1950 with her teaching certificate, ready to inspire other young students. She was hired by the Syracuse City School District only a few months later, and became the first African American teacher in that district.
Carter began her 40-year teaching career by teaching first and second grades. She became an instructional specialist with the help of federal government funding, and she taught a teacher-training program for adults at Syracuse University during summers. She later became a NYS delegate for the National Education Association, a board member of the New York State United Teachers, and the first president of the Syracuse Teacher’s Association. Carter retired from teaching in 1990, but has remained active in the community through volunteering with a number of organizations and causes including the Syracuse Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, and the Everson Museum.
She has received a number of awards for her service including the “Pioneer Award” by the Black Leadership Congress of Syracuse (1973), the Distinguished Alumni honor (1977), and was named a “Great Leader” by the Onondaga Women’s Political Caucus (1993). In 2000, Carter established the Marjorie Dey Carter ’50 Scholarship in Urban Education to benefit outstanding students in SUNY Cortland’s Urban Teacher Education Program.