Mamie Dillard

Mamie Dillard
Mamie Dillard (cropped).jpg
Mary Jane Dillard

(1874-09-10)September 10, 1874
Lawrence, Kansas
DiedNovember 24, 1954(1954-11-24) (aged 80)
Lawrence, Kansas
Resting placeOak Hill Cemetery
Alma materKansas University,
University of Kansas

Mary "Mamie" J. Dillard (1874-1954) was an American educator, clubwoman and suffragist.

Early life

Mary J. Dillard was born on September 10, in Lawrence, Kansas.[1] She was born to Fannie B. Dillard and Jesse Dillard, both born in Virginia and both illiterate.[2] When the family moved to Kansas in the 1870s, Jesse worked as a messenger for the Leavenworth, Lawrence, and Galveston Railroad Company and as a janitor at the Lawrence National Bank Building.[2][3]

Education and Community Activism

Dillard graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892 and was the only African American in her class.[2][3] As part of the ceremony she delivered a speech in support of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.[3] She joined the segregated WCTU at age 18 and promoted the organization's work in Women's Suffrage.[3] In 1896 she received a bachelor's degree from Kansas University and went on to start her career as a teacher at the segregated Pinckney Elementary School in Lawrence.[4] One of her students in the early twentieth century was Langston Hughes, whom she befriended and corresponded with for years after he left Kansas.[1] One letter between Hughes and Dillard survives and can be found in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven, Connecticut.[2]

From 1909 through 1913 Dillard attended graduate school at the University of Kansas where she studied English and special education. She then became the principal of the segregated elementary school, the Lincoln School. In 1916 she attended the Negro National Educational Congress as an appointed delegate from Kansas.[5]

Dillard was an active clubwoman. She was a member of the African American Woman's Christian Temperance Union, joining at the age of eighteen. She was also a member of the Double Six Club, the Home and Garden Club, the Self Culture Club, and the Sierra Leone Club. She was involved as a patron of the University of Kansas chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.[5] Dillard was also a suffrage activist, working with Carrie Langston to advocate for African American women to become involved with the suffrage movement.[6]

Dillard died on November 24, 1954 in Lawrence, where she had lived her entire life.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Krivulskaya, Suzanna. "Biographical Sketch of Mary (Mamie) J. Dillard". Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists. Alexander Street. Retrieved 18 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Biographical Sketch of Mary (Mamie) J. Dillard | Alexander Street, a ProQuest Company". Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mamie Dillard - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical Society". Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  4. ^ "Miss Mamie Dillard". Ethel Moore Family Collection. KU Libraries Exhibits. 1896. Retrieved 18 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b "Mamie Dillard". Kansapedia. Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 18 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Kansas and the 19th Amendment". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 18 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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