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Lisa E. Rivo

building foreman and caretaker, U.S. mail coach driver, Montana pioneer, also known as Black Mary or Stagecoach Mary, was born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee. Information about Fields's parentage and early life remain unconfirmed, although James Franks, whose grandparents knew Fields in the late 1800s in Montana, writes that Fields was the daughter of Suzanna and Buck, slaves of the Dunne family, owners of a Hickman County plantation. The Dunnes sold Buck immediately following Mary's birth. According to Franks, the Dunnes allowed Suzanna to keep her daughter with her in quarters behind the kitchen, and Mary enjoyed a relatively privileged childhood, even becoming friends with the Dunne's daughter Dolly, who was about the same age as Mary. This arrangement, Franks writes, lasted until Suzanna's death forced fourteen-year-old Mary to take over her mother's household duties.

Whether or not Franks s account is accurate it is ...

Article

Robert F. Jefferson

postmaster, labor organizer, civil rights advocate, and community leader, was born in Hillsboro, Texas, the eleventh of twelve children of William Henry McGee and Mary Washington. The occupations of his parents are unknown. After his mother died in 1914, Henry moved to Chicago where he lived with his older brother, the Reverend Ford W. McGee—a future bishop of a South Side Holiness Church—for three years before returning to Hillsboro to rejoin his family. Then, Henry returned home to rejoin his father in Texas before the family relocated to Kansas City, Missouri.

After graduating from high school, Henry returned in 1927 to Chicago, where he attended Crane Junior College by day and worked the night shift as a substitute mail clerk in the Chicago Post Office. After earning an associate's degree in 1929 McGee had aspirations to continue his education but like countless ...