A.M.E. Zion member makes history as first Black woman elected to Kannapolis City Council



KANNAPOLIS — A new Kannapolis City Council member made history Monday night as the first female African-American to be sworn onto the board.


Jeanne Dixon had her extended family standing around her as a friend and fellow member of Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church swore her in.


Dixon has been a resident of Kannapolis for 48 years and has a long career in public service. After graduating from Barber-Scotia College with a degree in organizational management, she started her career as an eligibility specialist in the Cabarrus County Department of Social Services. She later served as a child support enforcement agent and a child support program manager. When she retired, she was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.


Her last position was with the State of North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts as Guardian Ad Litem District Administrator for Cabarrus and Rowan counties.


She has most recently served on the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, the Board of Cabarrus Partnership for Children and on the Cabarrus NAACP. She previously served on the boards of Cooperative Christian Ministry, Community Free Clinic and CVAN. She also served on the Kannapolis on the Planning and Zoning Board.

During Council comments, long-time Council member Doug Wilson welcomed Dixon to the board.


The council also took a moment Monday night to thank former Council member Van Rowell for his four-year service on council.

Mayor Darrell Hinnant (far right) thanked former council member Van Rowell (left of Hinnant) for his service on council. Victoria Young, Independent Tribune

Rowell is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a U.S. Army veteran. He is a registered professional engineer in three states — North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

He spent 22 years working in waste water utility management as a corporate engineer before becoming engineering director at the Water & Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County. He has also owned and run several small businesses.


While thanking Rowell for his service, Mayor Darrell Hinnant noted that Rowell has served on the city council during a time of major change for the city. It has under gone a downtown revitalization project, a West Avenue Street scape project and seen the Atrium Ball Park go up.

"I was just reminded," the mayor said, "that Van was sitting there many times around that table making decisions about whether we were going to chose that color of seat for the ball park or change events along the way to help make decisions to save money and to make this a better place for all of us. So for you my friend, thank you very much for your dedication to this city council and this community."


Hinnant, Wilson and Council member Dianne Berry were also sworn in during the meeting.