Barbara Ann Green, a founder of a Northeast Baltimore political club who later served on the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals, died of renal failure June 20 at Stella Maris Hospice. The former Ednor Gardens–Lakeside resident was 78.
"She was my barometer of public opinion. I called her practically every day," said former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who is now the president of the University of Baltimore. "She was a friend and a confidante, and I considered her my second mother."
Other officials also recalled the role she played nearly 30 years ago.
"Barbara Green was a powerhouse in Northeast Baltimore," said former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides. "She was a no-nonsense, honest, loyal colorblind supporter. If she believed in a cause, she fought for it 100 percent no matter who opposed her. She was a tough fighter for good government and causes."
Born Barbara Ann Harrison in Baltimore and raised on Barnes Street in East Baltimore, she attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. She was the daughter of Charles Harrison and Marcella Shaw.
She met her husband, Julius Green, while he was on leave from the Air Force. He was later a Sealtest milk deliverer and an insurance agent.
"My mother grew up in one of the poorest areas of East Baltimore and she was determined to raise her children outside of there," said her son, Julius "Curtis" Green, a Philadelphia accountant and attorney who lives in Mount Laurel, N.J.
She became an early female employee of the Earl Scheib auto painting business on East 25th Street. She also worked for the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.
She and her family lived on McAleer Court in the Latrobe Homes and moved to the 4100 block of The Alameda in 1965. They were among the first African-American families to reside in their block. Mrs. Green joined the Montebello Elementary School, Woodbourne Junior High and Northern High School PTAs.
"My mother became active in the schools and later in community organizations for the rights of children," her son said. "She was a champion for the rights of women and people of color. Her work in the schools seemed to propel her into politics."
She was a founder and was active in the 43/44 Democratic Club of Northeast Baltimore
Del. Curt S. Anderson recalled that she chaired political meetings in the basement of her Alameda rowhouse.
"Barbara Green was the person who got me started in politics," he said. "I was thinking about running for office and I was told, 'You need to speak to Barbara Green.'"
He recalled that in the days before email and cellphones, Mrs. Green had a "telephone tree" and could reach 150 households nearly overnight. He said she and her club gave an early endorsement to Mr. Schmoke in his 1982 run for state's attorney.
"If you were not about helping the community, she did not want to talk to you," Mr. Anderson said. "I remember her taking on the city Department of Transportation. She wanted a traffic light put on Argonne Drive by a school for special-needs children. That was Barbara."
Former state Sen. Nathan C. Irby Jr. recalled Mrs. Green: "She was a behind-the scenes strategist for many campaigns. She was personable and would do anything for anybody."
City Councilman Carl Stokes said Mrs. Green could be in a room crowded with professional political strategists.
"She spoke as a citizen in a motherly sort of way," Mr. Stokes said. "She could influence the thinking of the guys who were considered the political geniuses. And they often took her advice."
In 1988, she was named to the city's Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals. She also served on the city Pension Board.
Mrs. Green was a board member of Associated Black Charities from 1994 to 1998. She was named one of the 100 Outstanding Women of Maryland. She received the 1995 Fullwood Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award. She was a board member of the Threshold Inc. of Baltimore until her death.
Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Friendship Baptist Church, 6000 Loch Raven Blvd.
In addition to her son and husband of 60 years, survivors include three daughters, Michelle Woodson of Baltimore, Rosalind Barnes of Pikesville and Karen Kupa of Mount Laurel, N.J.; two sisters, Vashtie Williams and Annie Elam, both of Baltimore; six grandsons; and three great-grandchildren.