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R.I.P. Dr. Mary Christian: First African-American to Serve on Hampton City School Board; First African-American, First Woman From Hampton to Be Elected to the Virginia Legislature Post-Reconstruction

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See below for statements on the death of Dr. Mary T. Christian, who “served as Dean of Hampton University’s school of education and was the first African American to serve on the Hampton City School Board”; also [i]n 1985…was the first African American and first woman from Hampton to be elected to the state legislature, post Reconstruction.”

Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Deeply Mourns the Passing of The Honorable Dr. Mary T. Christian 

RICHMOND, VA—This week the Commonwealth of Virginia, our nation, and the world lost an unwavering champion for justice, civil rights, and community empowerment in the passing of The Honorable Dr. Mary T. Christian.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus deeply mourns the passing of Dr. Christian, one of its former members, and expresses its deepest sympathies for her family and friends. Dr. Christian was not only a history maker and a trailblazer for Black Virginians, but she was also an inspiration to many.

Dr. Christian had a long, productive career as a Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly, where she represented the 92nddistrict from 1986 to 2004. She was the first African American since reconstruction to represent her district and the city of Hampton. In addition, prior to her time in the General Assembly, she served as the first Black Woman on the Hampton School Board.

“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Dr. Mary T. Christian,” said Delegate Jeion Ward (D-92nd, Hampton). “She poured her all into the community. Her service, her dedication, and support can never accurately be measured. She was my predecessor, my Soror, and my friend. Dr. Mary T. Christian was the epitome of a phenomenal woman.”

During her time in office, Dr. Christian tirelessly advocated for legislation on education, healthcare, and representation for People of Color. She served on the House Appropriations Committee, the Education Committee, and the Rules Committee.

“Dr. Christian was an exemplary role model, trusted adviser, and friend to all,” said Delegate Jay Jones (D-89th, Norfolk). “She embodied the work of the VLBC, and I know she may rest happier because she was able to see such sweeping success last Tuesday at the ballot box.”

A long-time educator and teacher, Dr. Christian served as Dean of Hampton University’s School of Education. She earned her PhD. from Michigan State University, her Masters degree in Speech and Drama from Columbia University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Hampton University.

“She was the epitome of a renaissance woman: educator, legislator, leader,” said Senator Mamie Locke (D-2nd, Hampton). “She was the first, a change agent, a voice of reason, one who made a difference in our community. She will be missed.”

“Dr. Mary T. Christian deeply impacted my life and the lives of many others,” said Delegate Ward. “And I will miss her so much.”

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Virginia House Democrats Honor the Memory of Dr. Mary Tyler Christian

RICHMOND (November 12, 2019) –Virginia House Democrats are saddened to hear of the passing of the former Delegate from Hampton, Dr. Mary Christian. Dr. Christian served as Dean of Hampton University’s school of education and was the first African American to serve on the Hampton City School Board. In 1985, Dr. Christian was the first African American and first woman from Hampton to be elected to the state legislature, post Reconstruction. While in office, Dr. Christian championed legislation on education and healthcare.

“Virginia has suffered a great loss,” said Speaker-designee Eileen Filler-Corn. “Mary Christian was a trailblazer for women, and her work in the House of Delegates is an inspiration to me personally and to so many across the Commonwealth.”

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn is the first woman to lead a caucus in Virginia and will be the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates.

“During her seven terms in the House of Delegates, Mary Christian made history as the first black woman to hold so many of her positions, as well as a champion of groundbreaking legislation,” said Majority Leader-elect Charniele Herring. “Dr. Christian was instrumental in increasing Black women’s leadership and participation in Virginia’s government, and she was a model of steady and sure leadership.”

Delegate Charniele Herring is the first woman and the first African American to be elected Majority Leader in Virginia.

“As the current representative of the 92nd district, I have always been proud of my connection to Dr. Christian,” said Delegate Jeion Ward. “Her incredible work, not only as a member of the House of Delegates but as a humanitarian, touched so many lives and her memory will live on through this work. Hampton is honored to call Dr. Christian one of our own.”