HAMPTON, Va. – She lived a long and full life of 95-years, but Monday evening, educator and politician Mary Taylor Christian passed away, according to a statement from her family.
Christian represented Virginia’s 92nd District as a State Delegate and accomplished so much as an educator at Hampton University.
“Delegate Christian, known as Dr. C., was an unfailing advocate for her district and her constituents,” said Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement from his office. “Her work as an educator, from elementary school teacher to dean of Hampton University, gave her a deep perspective on education issues.”
Born in 1924, Christian would graduate in 1941 from Hampton’s Phenix High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, basketball, drama and debate teams, according to History Makers.
After working and attending Hampton University in the 1950s, she would go on to get her Master’s degree in Speech ad Drama from Columbia University in 1960, plus receive her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1968, while still teaching at Hampton University.
A few years after being named Dean of Hampton’s School of Education, Christian would become the first African American to represent Virginia’s 92 District in the House of Delegates since the reconstruction era after the Civil War. She would serve seven-term as a Delegate, championing legislation on education and healthcare along the way.
“As an educator, the first black woman to serve on the Hampton School Board, and a longtime member of the House of Delegates, Dr. C. was a pillar of the Hampton community. She dedicated her life and career in service to others and was a powerful voice for the voiceless,” said Rep. Bobby Scott in a statement from his office.
Before serving the 92 District, Christian worked on four different political campaigns and helped organize voter registration drives.
Christian was also the first African American to serve on the Hampton City School Board.
You can learn more about the extraordinary life of Mary Taylor Christian here.
Christain’s wake will be Sunday, Nov. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Her funeral service will be at the Hampton University Convocation Center, and will start at 11 a.m.
The funeral will be open to the public.