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Mary McCurry Hackney

Born on 5-22-1903. She was born in Memphis, TN. She later died on 5-16-1990.
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Mrs. Mary J. Hackney was a survivor. She lived through the Great Depression on Buffalo's east side by knowing how to sew, grow food in her garden, and smile. Daughter of the late Edward and Hattie McCurry, she was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 22, 1903.

"I knew how to manipulate. I could buy five cents worth of potatoes, five cents worth of carrots, and five cents worth of beef and I always had something to put back in the ice box. I could take five cents worth of apples, put some brown sugar with them and we had dessert too."

She was baptized when she was thirteen years old at Salem Baptist Church in Memphis. She came to Buffalo in 1921, and joined the Trinity Baptist Church where she worked faithfully for sixty-nine years. She held positions such as Sunday School Teacher for over sixty years, Missionary Society President for twelve years, President of the Women's Auxiliary for nine years (a charter member receiving fifteen year service pin in April 1969), President of the Women's Auxiliary New England State Convention for five years, and President of the Church Women United of Buffalo and Erie County for two years, and was a pianist when needed. Her motto was, "To Serve This Present Age."

She graduated from Hutchinson Central High School and aspired to be a Foreign Missionary Worker. She studied Sunday school administration, Old and New Testament doctrine, personal evangelism and pedagogy at the Buffalo Bible Institute (now Houghton College). She took evening courses in Anthropology, Physiology, and Sociology at the University at Buffalo.

Her marriage to the late Deacon John Hackney was the first wedding performed at the Trinity Baptist Church. Together with her husband, they raised six children (three boys and three girls).

In recalling the Depression, she said, "I had the education, but my husband had the good common sense." She explained her husband wanted her children to be educated and that she read to them from the newspaper and gave them lectures on the importance of going to school.

In 1952, she was chosen Mother of the Year in the Ellicott District and given a citation from Mayor Joseph Murck. In 1962, Mayor Chester Kowal gave her the City's Good Neighbor Award.

She volunteered her services to the American Red Cross, hospitals, and schools and worked with the Conference of Christians and Jews and the Erie County Recreation Board.

She was a world traveler - visiting over thirty countries. Pan American Airlines complimented her. She traveled with an American Baptist Group that was led by the late Dr. Ralph Johnson of Berkley Divinity School.

During her World Tour she wrote articles for The Buffalo News about her travels. They were published for several weeks in the newspaper. With the assistance of donations, she helped with the education of a girl in Africa. She was invited by WBEN radio to share her life experiences on air. She spoke to many church and club groups and donations received from those talks went to her mission work in Assam, India, and Haiti, among other regions.

Mary was a Golden Heritage member of the NAACP and a life member of the YWCA. Her religious, volunteer, and community service activities awarded her numerous citations.

She was inducted by Gamma Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. into the Black Hall of Fame in 1983.

She died on May 16, 1990.