The Honorable Verda Freeman Welcome was the first African-American woman elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. Elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1962, she was also the first black woman in the U.S. to be elected to a state senate seat. She spent 25 years in the Maryland legislature, working on policies to enforce stricter employment regulations and discourage racial discrimination, including equal pay for equal work.
Welcome was born in 1907 in Lake Lure, North Carolina. She moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1929 and graduated from Morgan State University – then Morgan State College – in 1939. She also earned a degree at Coppin State Teachers College and completed a master’s degree at New York University. Before pursuing a career in politics, Welcome taught in the Baltimore City Public School System from 1934-1945. The Welcome Bridge across E. Cold Spring Lane on Morgan’s campus is named in her honor.