Community leaders remember Katie Dorsett, the first African American woman elected to the Greensboro City Council

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — A powerful figure and trailblazer in North Carolina’s history died this week.

Greensboro city leaders announced the passing of Katie Dorsett.

Dorsett was the first African American woman to sit on the Greensboro City Council and was the first African American woman to hold a cabinet post.  

“Katie had lived such a fruitful life. Always putting her life on the line for others,” said Rev. Cardes H. Brown Jr., president of the NAACP Greensboro.

Brown first met Dorsett in the 1960s. He was attending North Carolina A&T State University, where Dorsett was a business professor.

Brown later went on to be the president of the NAACP in Greensboro while Dorsett became a public servant — first on the city council in the 1980s, then as a county commissioner and eventually a state senator from 2003 to 2010. Brown often reached out to Dorsett over the years for advice on racial injustice and education. 

“She served very altruistically always seeking to do what she could do to lift the plight of us,” Brown said.

Greensboro City Councilman Justin Outling described Dorsett as a trailblazer with many strengths. 

“For her to not only be the first in so many regards but to withstand the odds and accomplish so much, it’s just, it’s awe-inspiring. Being a good politician and being someone that’s good at creating policy doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be a good administrator and know how to run departments. Katie had a unique ability to be successful and do all of those things extraordinarily well,” Outling said.

The North Carolina Democratic Party, where Dorsett represented the 28th district, is deeply saddened to hear of her passing, stating she was a powerful voice and fought for integrity. 

Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted she was a dedicated public servant and the first African American woman to hold a cabinet position in the state, paving the way for future leaders.

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