Elaine C. Fields, 97, NAACP secretary


Elaine C. Fields, a retired secretary for the Baltimore chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, died of a heart attack Feb. 4 at Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on the Eastern Shore. The former West Baltimore resident was 97.

Born Elaine Coulbourne in the Shore community of Wattsville, Va., she was sent to Baltimore's Frederick Douglass High School for her secondary education because there was no school in Wattsville available to blacks. She graduated in 1926.

Mrs. Fields earned a bachelor's degree in 1930 from what is now Morgan State University and taught at the segregated Salisbury Colored High School.

She took business courses at the New York City YWCA and, after moving to Baltimore in 1935, attended Cortez Peters Business School, where she also was a substitute teacher of stenography.

From 1947 until her 1973 retirement, Mrs. Fields was secretary and bookkeeper of the Baltimore NAACP chapter. While there, she met such dignitaries as lawyer and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, NAACP lobbyist Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. and civil rights leader Roy Wilkens.

Her husband of more than 55 years, George Edward Fields, a Western Electric laborer who was later a funeral home chauffeur, died in 1995.

She was a member of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church and sang soprano in the Baltimore Great Hymns Choir. She moved to Berlin in 1999.

A memorial service was held yesterday at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Berlin.

She is survived by nieces and nephews.

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