The Guilford County Board of Commissioners paid a very special tribute to former Guilford County Commissioner Carolyn Coleman, who passed away in January leaving a vacancy on the board and an empty spot in the hearts of the many people she had helped, loved and represented over the years.

On Thursday, Aug. 18, the Board of Commissioners held an hour-long ceremony during which they dedicated a very important county meeting room – the Blue Room on the first floor of the Old Guilford County Court House – to Coleman.

The room is now officially the Carolyn Q. Coleman Conference Room.

Coleman, who spent her life fighting for civil rights and social justice, continued to promote those causes during her two decades as a county commissioner,

The August 18 event kicked off at noon with opening remarks from Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who spoke highly of the former commissioner he served with for much of this century.  Alston spoke of Coleman’s long legacy of service both to North Carolina government and to Guilford County government and he added that the current board should try to live up to the bar Coleman set.

He also said that she had been a mentor to him and had encouraged him to get involved with the NAACP.

Alston also spoke about the importance of the room, which is truly key to Guilford County government.  In 1920, when the old court house was built, the room was the commissioners’ main meeting room since the county’s court proceedings took place on the second floor, where the commissioners now have a much larger meeting room.

About a decade ago, the county formed a naming committee that named a large number of county rooms and buildings. However, the Blue Room was not renamed.  Alston said they were waiting until there was someone important enough to the county to name the key room after.

At the meeting, Vice Chair of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Carlvena  Foster read the board’s proclamation naming the room after Coleman and presented the document to Coleman’s granddaughter, Genesis Horton (seen above, second from the left), who also provided kind remembrances of her grandmother.

One day, Genesis Coleman may follow in her mother’s footsteps. In fact, Genesis attempted to file to run for the seat Carolyn Coleman previously held, but was unable to do so at that time because of a state law that requires a candidate to be a member of the party they run in for at least 90 days prior to the day they file to run.

Coleman served as a Guilford County Commissioner from 2022 until her death at the age of 79 earlier this year. She worked as the special assistant for Minority Affairs to former Governor Jim Hunt from 1993 to 2001and was then elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners representing eastern Greensboro and Pleasant Garden in District 7.

She was elected as the Board’s first African-American chairwoman in 2005. She received the North Carolina Association of Black County Officials’ Fredrick Douglas Award for her work during the pandemic – including her work with the county’s Feeding the Communities Program that provided 8,000 boxes of food to families in need between December 2020 and July 2021.