Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford African American Studies Center. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 March 2020

Peake, Mary S(mith) locked

1823–1862 African American pioneer schoolteacher who was the first teacher in the first school sponsored by the American Missionary Association.
  • Rayford W. Logan


Born free in Norfolk County, Virginia, Mary Smith Peake lived for several years with her aunt in Alexandria, where she acquired a good education. After the District of Columbia returned Alexandria to Virginia in 1846, Alexandria's schools were closed to blacks; Peake moved to Norfolk with her mother. A period of religious mysticism, stemming perhaps from her vision of service to the poor, led her to participate actively in aiding the poor, assisted by the First Baptist Church of Norfolk. After her mother married Thompson Walker, the family moved to Hampton. There, Peake founded the Daughters of Zion to look after the ill and the needy, as well as to teach children and adults in her home. In 1851 she married Thomas D. Peake, who had been freed from slavery some years before, had served in the Mexican War (1846–1848 and had gone to ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription