PUBLIC MEMORY AT DICKINSON
When the college honored the late Noah Pinkney in 1951 –the first time the school had ever publicly recognized a formerly enslaved figure on campus– they forgot to include his wife and business partner Carrie Taylor Pinkney. Dickinson addressed that oversight in 2021 by officially renaming East College Gate as Pinkney Gate, in honor of both Noah Pinkney and his second wife, Carrie Taylor Pinkney. The popular couple had worked together for decades providing food services to students and the local Carlisle community while also engaging in a variety of civic and church-related activities.
FROM THE 2021 RENAMING CEREMONY: Carrie Taylor was born into slavery in Winchester, Virginia in the late 1840s. She came to Pennsylvania sometime during the Civil War era and later settled in Carlisle with her husband Noah Pinkney in the 1880s. For many years, Carrie worked as a household servant for various prominent Carlisle families. She was also a lay church leader at the Bethel AME Church and one of the organizers of the community’s temperance, or anti-liquor, movement. Carrie also helped run Noah’s food-selling business. Noah was famous for taking his peddler’s cart full of pretzels, sandwiches and ice cream all over town and to campus, especially by East College. But Carrie was the one who mostly ran the popular restaurant which they had established out of their home on West Street. In the old days, Dickinson students often referred to the couple as Uncle Noah and Aunt Noah, an affectionate gesture but one almost completely erasing her identity. By remembering Carrie Pinkney, we are recognizing that women, just as much as men, played pivotal roles in the shaping of our nation, our communities and our college.