Durham, North Carolina’s Mandy Carter is one of the leading African-American lesbian activists in the country. She has a 43-year movement history of social, racial and lesbigaytrans justice organizing since 1968. Raised in two orphanages and a foster home in upstate New York for her first 18 years, Carter attributes the influences of the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee, the former Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, and the pacifist-based War Resisters League to her long time sustained activism. And her commitment to multi-racial, multi-issue organizing,
Most recently, Ms. Carter has been named the American Civil Liberties Union-North Carolina’s 2011 Frank Porter Graham Award winner.
Mandy Carter was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the “1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005” in order to recognize, make visible and celebrate the impressive and valuable, yet often invisible peace work of thousands of women around the world. And while the “1000 Women” didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize, the second pillar of the project included a book about the 1000 peace women, an interactive online platform, and a traveling exhibit.
Carter helped found two ground breaking organizations. Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). SONG integrates work against homophobia into freedom struggles in the South. She served as its Durham-based Executive Director from 2003-2005. NBJC was founded in 2003 and is the only current national civil rights organization of concerned black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and allies dedicated to fostering equality by ending racism and homophobia. NBJC actively pursues ways to counter anti-gay organizing within African American communities.
Carter’s political involvement is also quite extensive and includes: serving as campaign manager for North Carolina’s Senate Vote ’90 and North Carolina Mobilization ’96 political action committees; serving, again, as campaign manager for Florida Vote/Equal Voice based in Miami; participating in a 2000 election year non-partisan, statewide voter empowerment campaign, which was initiated by the African-American Ministers Leadership Council of the People For the American Way Foundation, and the Florida NAACP, and which resulted in one of Florida’s largest black voter turnout’s ever.
During the 2008 presidential elections, Carter was one of the five National Co-Chairs of Obama Pride, the LGBT grassroots infrastructure for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign. She had done the hard work of organizing grassroots networks, especially of people of color, throughout out the South. She was also a member of Hillary Clinton’s North Carolina LGBT Steering Committee up until the May 2008 North Carolina Democratic Primary that was won by Obama.