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Adams Honors Trailblazing Black Women on House Floor: Sen. Katie Dorsett & Rep. Mary McAllister

Oct 1, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) honored North Carolina state Senator Katie Dorsett and state Representative Mary McAllister on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Both women passed away earlier this year.

Video of the remarks is available here.

"I rise this morning to honor two exceptional North Carolina women who have left us this year – former Senator, Dr. Katie Dorsett and former Representative Mary McAllister," said Adams. "I admired and was friends with them both. They were both educators who went into public service, proud products of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Both advocates on behalf of Black Americans, founded organizations to combat Sickle Cell Anemia. They both knew the highs of winning elected office and doing exceptional work for their constituents, and the lows of personal tragedy; both women were predeceased by a child they loved like a best friend. They were both county commissioners and state legislators … and most of all, trailblazers."

Adams' full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise this morning to honor two exceptional North Carolina women who have left us this year – former Senator, Dr. Katie Dorsett and former Representative Mary McAllister.

I admired and was friends with them both. 

They were both educators who went into public service, proud products of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Both advocates on behalf of Black Americans, founded organizations to combat Sickle Cell Anemia. 

They both knew the highs of winning elected office and doing exceptional work for their constituents, and the lows of personal tragedy; both women were predeceased by a child they loved like a best friend.

They were both county commissioners and state legislators, and most of all, trailblazers.

Katie Dorsett was the first Black woman on the Greensboro City Council, and I was proud to follow in her footsteps.

After serving on the City Council, she was elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, and went on to serve in Governor Hunt’s Administration and the State Senate.

We served together in the General Assembly, and Katie was a long- time friend and mentor whose friendship I cherished.

When the Greensboro News & Record remembered her in July, they wrote that, “she carried herself with dignity, and always spoke her mind.”

That was Katie.

She was a great leader and a strong advocate for her community, and the state of North Carolina is poorer without her.

Mary McAllister was also a legislator and a county commissioner who broke barriers for Black women.

She was the first Black woman to win a countywide election in Cumberland County North Carolina.

She changed the way the County Commission elected commissioners so she wouldn’t be the last.

A fountain of confidence. She had a sense of humor and she could build relationships with anyone.

She wasn’t afraid to stand up to the "good old boys" club in the legislature, and we became fast friends.

It’s no surprise that her first campaign slogan was “Mary Has Moxie.”

I am humbled to have the opportunity to honor these strong women on the floor today.

Thank you Mary and Katie for opening doors for the next generation of Black women leaders.

I’m here on the floor of the US House today because you crossed the threshold first.

Thank you Mr. Speaker and I yield back.

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