Mary C. Snow


Rita Wicks-Nelson and Ancella Radford Bickley



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This interview is one of series conducted concerning Oral Histories of African-American women who taught in West Virginia public schools. Mrs. Mary C. Snow was a school teacher and principal who retired in 1989. She gives us detailed information about her family throughout the interview, including Christmas and holidays in her family, raising her son Winn (nicknamed "Rags"), and her relationships with family members growing up. Her childhood is also discussed in detail, and she recalls: styling hair when she was a kid; detailed information about race relations during her childhood; dating; child punishments; childhood games and activities; childhood chores; her skills at being a dramatic orator and actress as a child; and her growing awareness of racism. Race relations is a very important topic in this interview; Mrs. Snow was the first black exchange teacher from West Virginia to Cardiff, Wales, and she tells the interviewers about that. She also discusses the differing perceptions of light-skinned blacks and dark-skinned blacks, competition between African Americans, her opinion on progress made since the Civil Rights Movement, the burdens of racism and sexism, equal pay, and the desegregation of schools. She discusses her own education and her teaching career as well, such as college, her first jobs, becoming the principal of Booker T. Washington Grade School, other schools she worked at, opening her own children's theater, her views on herself as a teacher, and her philosophy on teaching. There are numerous other discussion points as well in this interview, such as: books and reading; local businesses; her insecurity; becoming a director of a Girl Scout Camp at Clifftop (Clifftop, West Virginia?); her friendships; racial integration at schools; a brief section on how children in general have changed over the years; social organizations; her poems and writings; a brief section on World War II; her marriages; turning points in her life; her self- perceptions; her analysis of her life as a whole; and many other topics.

Publication Date






Library of Congress Subjects

Snow, Mary C., 1913- -- Autobiography.
Booker T. Washington Grade School -- Oral histories.
Girl Scouts of the United States of America -- Oral histories.
Education -- Oral histories.
Maybeury Elementary School -- Oral histories.


Interview is included in the Marshall University Oral History Collection. The index number is OH64-809.


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Oral History Interview: Mary C. Snow