Local News

Carolyn Marshall Covington: Triangle woman serves as role model for Black History Month

Posted January 30, 2019 2:56 p.m. EST
Updated February 1, 2019 6:45 p.m. EST

— Carolyn Marshall Covington has the kind of charisma you rarely hear and perseverance you rarely see, but it’s her spirit that truly captivates.

5 things to know:

  • She is a veteran of the beauty industry.
  • She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an incurable condition that eventually causes blindness.
  • She was inspired to create Insightful Visionaries, a non-profit dedicated to empowering the Blind and Visually Impaired Community.
  • Her group works to help the visually impaired maintain an independent lifestyle and continued participation in the mainstream community
  • Her website

“You guys have that super brain power. We all have it. We have to see the images in our head," she said recently to a group of students at the Governor Morehead School, which caters to students who are visually impaired. "We have to imagine everything. We make everything happen in our head. So, we got super powers.”

At the school, Covington is more than just a speaker -- she’s proof positive of being able to overcome a physical da testimony.

She envisioned working in the beauty industry as a hair stylist.

Decades into her field, doctors diagnosed her with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an incurable condition that would one day be cited as the reason for her blindness.

"It was devastating," she said. "Truly devastating."

She said she never though her health would hold her back.

"I immediately thought I had raced to get to the top and slowly you’re going to watch everything disappear in front of my eyes,” she said.

In researching her condition, Covington discovered an under-served community: those who are visually impaired.

That’s when she launched a non-profit dedicated to helping that group -- and herself.

“Nothing can stop me from anything that I put my mind to doing,” she said.

Covington now travels around the Triangle in order to mentor kids, host fundraisers and even participate in singing competitions for blind contestants--- all with the hope of facilitating independence and support.

“To be blind, black and a female in business, people can look at it as a triple threat, but I don’t look at it that way because I look at what I can do," Covington said. "And I know what I can do."

“To have someone to come in and represent some of the trials that they’ll be going through is just phenomenal," said Barbria Bacon, the school director at Governor Morehead.

During February, which is also Black History Month, WRAL News is honoring four exceptional women who are working to have a positive impact on their community.