Rose Cohen Kramer Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Rose C. Kramer, 94, a Democrat who was a force for racial integration and liberal
social activism during a career in Montgomery County politics, first as a member of the
school board and then the County Council, died March 3. 2006 at her home in
Bethesda. She had pulmonary failure.
Mrs. Kramer, a homemaker with teaching experience, was elected to the school board
in 1954, the year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that
public schools must desegregate. She was known for her aggressive support of the
ruling and for criticizing other board members who "pretended nothing had happened"
after the landmark court decision. She was board president in 1959, the year a black
teacher reportedly became the first of her race in Montgomery to head a mostly white
school (Bannockburn Elementary School in Bethesda).
In 1966, Mrs. Kramer, then living in Silver Spring, won election to a four-year term on the
Montgomery County Council. She worked on transportation, fair housing and human
rights issues. the county's Human Rights Commission.
She served on the Metro board from 1967 to 1971 -- the transit authority's first board --
and from 1977 to 1981.
Rose Cohen Kramer was a native Washingtonian and graduate of Eastern High
School (1929). She was a graduate of Wilson Teachers College and received a
master's degree in English from Catholic University. Early in her career, she taught
elementary school in the District.
She was a former board member of the Jewish Community Center of Greater
Washington; the Montgomery Hospice; the Community Psychiatric Clinic; and the
county chapters of the League of Women Voters and Planned Parenthood. She was
also a member of the Woman's National Democratic Club. In later years, she was a
financial supporter of social service and cultural agencies.
Her husband, Harold H. Kramer, whom she married in 1937, died in 2000.
Survivors include four children, Madelyn Schaefer of Edgewater, Ellen Ross of Silver
Spring, David Kramer of Durango, Colo., and Kathye Kramer of
San Diego; a brother, Jack C. Cohen of Bethesda; six grandchildren; and 12