Carrie Saxton Perry was the first African American Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut (1987-1993) and first African American to head a major northeastern city. She is a graduate of Howard University School of Law.
Perry was a native of Hartford, Connecticut. She attended Howard University in 1949 but left after two years to raise a child.
After her first run for state representative ended in defeat in 1976, she did not give up. In 1980, she was elected and served on posts as assistant majority leader, chair of the bonding subcommittee, and a committee member for education, finance, and housing.
At the age of 56, Perry was elected as the mayor of Hartford. She is credited for helping reduce racial tension in the city; notably, she visited black neighborhoods after the Rodney King verdict, which was credited with preventing rioting in Hartford as had happened in other large cities.
Her other focus was on reducing burgeoning gang activity and drug trafficking, which was on the rise at the time. The position in Hartford is considered largely ceremonial and paid a stipend of $17,500.
Perry was known for her unique hats, of which she owned about two dozen. She started wearing various hats a daily habit because of lack of time to manage her own hair.