LAURINBURG — Scotland County women came together this week to celebrate their accomplishments and push for greater gains.
As a part of Women’s History Month, the Scotland County Women’s History Planning Committee took the opportunity to honor trailblazing women and inspire other to forge their own trails.
More than 50 women attended the event on Tuesday at the Storytelling Arts Center.
“Women all over the world should be celebrated every day, because every day in some way or another, we have blazed trails that no other in ‘mankind’ has dared to blaze,” said Mary Evans, a committee member for the event, “Let us toast to one another and say ‘still I rise.’ ”
Angela Carter, a Raeford attorney and recent candidate for the 16A Judicial District, was the guest speaker. She talked about how success is possible even if you make mistakes.
“I think the primary person who influenced me was my mother,” Carter said. “My mother worked in fields that were traditionally held by males … she was a welder by trade.”
Carter remembers her mother coming home and saying her male co-workers “didn’t think I could do it own my own, they didn’t think I could lift it, but I did.”
Her mother went on to receive a college degree when Carter was an adult.
“Watching her continually strive to achieve more was an inspiration,” Carter said.
But that did not keep Carter from making her own missteps. She had a child right after turning 18.
“You don’t want to necessarily congratulate people for making mistakes that may have made life more difficult, you do want to inspire others and let them know that just because you made different choices or made some mistakes during the course of your life, that that isn’t going to stop you from accomplishing whatever you put your mind to.”
Carter would eventually graduate from college —the first person in her family to do so. Carter graduated law school from the University of Virginia in 2004 and has been practicing law ever since. She is licensed in both Virginia and North Carolina.
She was accepted to Harvard, Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before deciding on Virginia. After having her third child while in law school, she said her perspective on life changed. Originally she said her life goal was to make a lot of money. She said she later became more concerned with helping others.
One of the reasons she ran for judge was to help ensure fairness in the court system. The nonpartisan judgeship presides over Scotland, Richmond, Anson and Hoke counties. She lost to incumbent District Court Judge Michael Stone, who was appointed to the bench three years by Gov. Pat McCrory. The appointment came after Stone got the majority of votes from the Judicial District Bar to replace retiring Judge John H. Horne Jr. of Scotland County.
The event also featured an award presention to Betty McNair who was named Trailblazing Woman of the Year. McNair, a longtime volunteer and former Scotland County teacher was praised for her civic engagement, as well as inspiring youth in the county through teaching.
Essie Davis, who served as master of ceremonies, said she wished she had listened to her former teacher when she was a student. Davis said she instead of following McNair’s sewing instructions in class, she had her mother, a seamstress, do her homework for her.
“Now I am terrible at hemming,” Davis said.