As part of its Sesquicentennial year celebration, Morgan State University unveiled a special exhibit honoring the life and legacy of the Honorable Verda Freeman Welcome. The unveiling, which was attended by more than 300 people including Morgan administrators, faculty, staff, students, legislators, members of the community and family, was complemented by a rededication ceremony for the campus bridge bearing her name.
Welcome, a Morgan alumna, was a politician, civil rights activist and community activist who earned her bachelor’s degree from Morgan State College in 1939. She went on to become the first black woman elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1950, representing the Fourth District of Baltimore City. She served until 1962, when she was elected to the Maryland Senate, again breaking barriers by becoming the first black female state senator, serving until 1982.
Senator Welcome is credited with introducing legislation in 1975 to transition Morgan State College to Morgan State University. She also established the Maryland Commission on Negro History and Culture, now the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, which was founded in 1969. Also to her credit, Welcome worked successfully on legislation addressing racial discrimination, interracial marriage, equal pay for equal work, and illegal employment practices.
The “Welcome Bridge,” which spans Coldspring Lane connecting Morgan’s academic quad to the University’s main campus, is named in her honor. During the exhibit unveiling, Morgan President David Wilson revealed renderings of what will be a new look for the bridge, featuring the university’s signature orange and blue. The exhibit, located in the Earl S. Richardson Library, features a plaque, paintings and other memorabilia profiling Welcome’s life. Her daughter, Mary Sue Welcome, was in attendance, along with members of Welcome’s sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
Visitors to the campus are encouraged to stop by the library’s third floor to review the new exhibit and learn more about this iconic woman in Maryland history.