Peake, Mary S(mith)
- 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.