Black History: Special Delivery!!


mary e mccoy
Mary E. McCoy (Wife of Black Inventor Elijah McCoy)



The child of escaped slaves, Mary E. McCoy was born in 1846 at an Underground Railroad station Mary E. McCoy became a philanthropist, and advocate for women’s rights. While her husband, black inventor, Elijah McCoy is more well known for obtaining patents on over 50 inventions, Mary E. McCoy also deserves recognition.

McCoy has been hailed as the “Mother of Clubs”. She helped to launch the Michigan State Association of Colored Women along with Lucinda Thurman. This organization worked tirelessly to improve health, education, and economic opportunities for African Americans. Mary McCoy also served as Vice President of the Lydian Association of Detroit. The Lydian Association was a mutual aid association. It provided sick and burial benefits for the African American community. McCoy was also the founding president of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Association. The association was established to honor Sojourner Truth and to provide scholarships for children of former slaves.

McCoy was a driving force in serving women and children during the Jim Crow Era. She is also credited with organizing the Phyllis Wheatley Home for Aged Colored Women in Detroit. She served as Vice President for the home. McCoy oversaw the purchase of an 11 room home in 1901. By 1915 the home had more than 40 female residents. Mary McCoy was also a leading financial supporter of McCoy Home For Colored Children. The McCoy Home was an orphanage that also provided childcare for the children of domestic workers and washerwomen.

Mary E. McCoy died in 1923 as a result of injuries sustained due to a car accident.