For 30 years, Carrie Washington dedicated herself and her talents to the betterment of the Homewood neighborhood through her work with Operation Better Block Inc., an organization dedicated to overcoming blight in the Homewood community. On Nov. 13 the Homewood activist passed away at the age of 79. Services were handled by White Memorial Chapel.
Washington began her career with OBB in 1971 as the assistant director, under the leadership of James Givner, the executive director. After Givner’s passing, Washington took over the position of executive director and continued until her retirement in 2001, which she held for more than 20 years.
While Jose Diaz, community organizer for OBB, did not have experience working with her, he could attest to the presence she had within the community. “We have been around for 40 years and just from talking to people in the community, some people are familiar with our work and some are not, the people that do always remembered her as the lead for Operation Better Block, and we have had other directors since then. People still associate Ms. Washington with Operation Better Block. It just goes to show her presence,” he said.
While under Washington’s leadership, OBB made several vital accomplishments for the Homewood neighborhood, which included the organizing of 100 block associations, the construction of the 52-unit Bennett Place Apartments for the elderly and handicapped, several residential developments, increased homeowner interest and property reinvestment, and increased citizen involvement, just to name a few.
Although she is no longer physically here, it is evident that her presence and influence within the community will continue to be felt even now that she is gone.
She leaves to cherish her memory, her husband, Lee B. Washington Sr.; her children, Lee Washington Jr. and Lisa Washington; her daughter-in-law, Sandra Washington; her brother Thomas Warley; her brother-in-law, the Hon. David Washington; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.