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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A Guilford County Commissioner has passed away.

Commissioner Carolyn Q. Coleman of District 7 passed away Wednesday night, Guilford County officials confirmed Thursday morning. According to a release, she passed away surrounded by friends and family. She was 79.

Coleman was a ‘firebrand’ civil rights activist. She was among the first of three students arrested in sit-in demonstrations in Savannah Georgia. She dedicated her life to challenging racial inequities.

Coleman served in the NAACP as a member of their national staff for nearly 30 years and had a Master of Science degree in Adult Education from NC A&T.

She was elected to the County Board of Commissioners in December of 2002, spending almost twenty years representing Pleasant Garden and Eastern Greensboro as the District 7 representative.

Commissioner Coleman was the county’s first African American Chairwoman when she took the position in 2005.

Recently she received the North Carolina Association of Black County Officials’ Fredrick Douglas Award for her work during the pandemic. That work included personally facilitating the county’s Feeding the Communities Program, providing 8,000 boxes of food to families in need between December 2020 and July 2021.

“Commissioner Coleman has been a dear friend of mine for decades. We have worked side by side over the years representing Guilford County and the State of North Carolina. Not once in her remarkable life, did she slow down in her advocacy and commitment to supporting equity, inclusion and tolerance. Her passing came as a surprise to us all. I was shocked to receive the call yesterday to join her family at the hospital so that we could spend time with her during her last hours. We are all grieving for the loss of our friend right now,” Skip Alston, Chairman of the Board, said.

“This is such a loss to this board, the Greensboro community and the entire state. She was a true warrior, civil rights activist and pillar in the community. She will be deeply missed,” Vice Chairwoman Carlvena Foster said.

The Guilford County Democratic Party posted their condolences on their Facebook page late last night, calling her a ‘rock, civil rights leader, and a friend of the people.’

The County Board of Commissioner vacancy her death leaves behind will activate measures under North Carolina General Statute 153A-27.1 which outlines the process that the County will take when vacancies occur on the Board.

Family representatives have asked that they be provided privacy as they grieve. Additional information regarding her funeral services will be released at a later date