Wilhelmina Rolark

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Wilhelmina J. Rolark (September 17, 1916 – February 14, 2006)[1] was a Democratic politician and activist in Washington, D.C. She was elected as Ward 8 member of the Council of the District of Columbia in 1976 and served four terms.[2]

Rolark was president of The Washington Informer, a weekly newspaper in Washington, D.C., founded by her husband, Calvin W. Rolark, Sr., in 1964.[3] The paper is now published by her stepdaughter, Denise Rolark Barnes.

Political career[edit]

In 1974, after the passage of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act created the Council of the District of Columbia, Rolark ran to be the first Ward 8 member. She lost the Democratic primary to James Coates by fewer than 100 votes[1] and later announced that she would run a write-in campaign against him in the November election.[4] Her campaign was unsuccessful.

Rolark came back in 1976 (the first Ward 8 term after the council's creation was only two years) and defeated Coates in the primary.[5] He in turn launched his own write-in campaign for November,[6] which was also unsuccessful. Rolark became Ward 8 council member on January 2, 1977. She went on to be reelected in 1980, 1984, and 1988.

In 1992, former mayor Marion Barry, recently released from prison, challenged Rolark in the Democratic primary and won in a 3-to-1 landslide.[7] Rolark's time on the council came to an end on January 2, 1993, after 16 years.


  1. ^ a b Sullivan, Patricia (2006-02-15). "D.C. Council Member, Home Rule Soldier Wilhelmina J. Rolark". The Washington Post. p. B08. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  2. ^ District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. "Historical Elected Officials: Ward 8 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia". Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  3. ^ "About Us". The Washington Informer. Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  4. ^ "2 Announce Plans To Run as Write-ins". The Washington Post. 1974-11-03. p. B7. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  5. ^ Lynon, Stephen J. (1976-09-15). "Other Council Incumbents Win Easily". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  6. ^ "Coates Will Seek Write-in Votes". The Washington Post. 1976-10-16. p. D5. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Former Mayor's Victory Worries Many in Capital". The New York Times. 1992-09-17. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
Council of the District of Columbia
Preceded by
James Coates
Ward 8 Member, Council of the District of Columbia
Succeeded by
Marion Barry