On December 7th Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society, Inc. joined members of the Carter family and distinguished guests, including Marietta Mayor Steve "Thunder" Tumlin, to dedicate a historic marker at the Carter Family House. The Cole Street house is significant in that it is among the oldest remaining historic Black residences in what was once one of Marietta’s largest historically Black neighborhoods. Over time, the Marietta Housing Authority acquired all of the property south of the Carter House, and the Cole Street Missionary Baptist Church acquired all of the property to the north. At one point, the Marietta Housing Authority tried to buy the Carter property, but the family resisted. Today the 1909 house is the only private residence remaining on the block.
Sarah Young and Oscar Carter purchased the house in 1944. The couple raised four children in the house: Donald, Oscar, Jr., Alphonse, and Kenneth. Oscar, Sr. worked as a custodian for Bell Aircraft Company during WWII, and later for the City of Marietta. Sarah worked as a "washer woman” according to the 1930 Census, as a "house maid” according to the 1950 Census, and, later in life, as a Practical Nurse at Dr. Remer Clark's office. She was an active education advocate and served as President of the Lemon Street PTA. Oscar, Sr. died in 1980, and Sarah died in 1991. Their son, Kenneth Carter, was executor of Sarah's will and purchased the Carter House at that time.
Kenneth graduated from Lemon Street High School in 1952. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps during the Korean War. After completing his military duty, Kenneth pursued education, earning a degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and a Master's degree from the University of Indiana. Kenneth married Jeanie Martin in 1955. In 1962 and went to work as an educator, administrator, and coach in the Marietta City School System. He worked at Lemon Street School, Wright Street Middle School, Park Street Middle School, Lockheed Elementary School, Woods/Wilkins, Marietta Middle School, and Marietta High School. “Coach Carter,” as he was known, worked a total of 48 years in the Marietta school system.
Jeanie, who still lives on nearby Lemon Street, helped to integrate the Marietta City School system as an educator during the 1960s. After teaching at Lemon Street Elementary and Wright Street Elementary, she began working at Hickory Hills Elementary. She taught in the system for 32 years, retiring at Marietta Middle School. After retiring from the classroom, she went on to become the first Black woman to be elected to the Marietta City School Board. She held that office for 16 years.
Today the Carter House stands as a reminder of the legacy of the Carter family and as a symbol of the vibrant Black community which once surrounded it. The historic marker was erected through a partnership between Cobb Landmarks and the Marietta History Center’s Diverse Cobb Committee. The committee manages a grant fund created to erect historic markers in Marietta’s historically Black neighborhoods. The fund was established by Marietta residents Jo-Evelyn and Jim Morris. To nominate a site, or to contribute to the fund, please contact Cobb Landmarks at 678.594.4994.
We are committed to empowering our community with an understanding of the events, people, and places that formed our past, so that we may all strive for a brighter future. Won't you join us?