Norma Bourdeau, NAACP
Norma Blacke Bourdeau (1940-2010) received the Freedom Fighters Award during the 67th annual Maryland State NAACP Conference held recently in Ocean City. The award was presented in recognition of Bourdeau's service as president of the Allegany County Chapter NAACP. Attending the presentation were, from left, Sen. Verna Jones, Bourdeau, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Maryland Jenkins Odoms Jr., president of the Maryland State NAACP. The theme of the conference was "Power Beyond Measure."
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has had a long and honorable history in the county. In 1973, and after some years of inactivity, the Allegany County branch of the NAACP was resurrected by John "Perkey" Yates, Frank Yates, Juanita Cage Lewis, Sam Walker, and Jon Loff.
The following additional information is excerpted and edited from the obituary of Norma Blacke Bourdeau which appeared in the February 10, 2010 edition of the Cumberland Times-News:
Norma K. Blacke Bourdeau was born in Atlantic City, N.J. and attended public schools in Pleasantville, N.J., and graduated from Pleasantville High School in 1957. Immediately following high school, she worked at New Jersey Bell Telephone and then as a teller and loan officer at First Jersey Bank in Newark. In 1971, she entered Wesleyan University at Middletown, Conn., earning a bachelor of arts in English.
She then began a career with The Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford, Conn., where she was the assistant director of training. She also taught writing courses part time at Hartford Seminary and several schools in the central Connecticut Community College system. In 1994, she completed studies at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., receiving a Masters of Theology degree. After retiring from The Travelers, she worked as a jobs search coordinator for The Urban League of Greater Hartford.
In 1994, she accepted a position as Cultural Studies Lecturer in the Departments of Philosophy and English at Frostburg State University, teaching courses in African American Studies and Literature, Ethics, English, and Writing. Although she retired in spring 2004, she continued to teach occasional courses at Frostburg.
Bourdeau led the most recent resurrection of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2003 and since then had served as its president. Bourdeau was instrumental in organizing the Freedom Fund Dinner and in 2007 received the Freedom Fighters Award from the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP.
She was married to her former high school classmate, Ray Bourdeau in June 1993.
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008