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Arenia Mallory (December 28, 1904 – May 1977) was a religious grade- and high-school founder and advocate for civil rights and the poor in Holmes County, Mississippi.
Mallory was born in Jacksonville, Illinois. She received a bachelor’s degree from Simmons College of Kentucky (1927), a master’s degree from Jackson State University, and a master’s degree University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1950). Mallory’s best-known role was the founder and head of Saints Industrial and Literary School, a private secondary school for students grades one through twelve in Lexington, Mississippi. The school was renamed and is currently called the Saints Academy. She was president of the school from 1926 to 1983, it is ran under the Church of God in Christ.
Mallory was an active member of the church and participated in the Women’s Department and was the leader in the national church. From 1952 to 1955, she was on the board of directors of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, a pro self-help, civil rights organization led by Dr. T.R.M. Howard of Mound Bayou, Mississippi.
Mallory also was an advocate for the provision of health and welfare for sharecroppers in Holmes County, Mississippi, she was instrumental in orchestrating several programs in the county to raise money, books, and clothing for her students. In 1934, Mallory hosted the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Mississippi Health Project. The sorority consisted of rural teachers in neighboring counties. Additionally, she was an advocate for black and women’s rights. She was a member of the National Council of Negro Women. She served as the Vice President of this group from 1953 to 1957. She was a consultant for the U.S. Department of Labor (1963) and the first woman and first African American elected to the Holmes County Board of Education.
Mallory has two facilities named after her: the Arenia C. Mallory Community Health Center in Lexington, Mississippi, and the Arenia Mallory School of Religion in Miami, Florida.
- ^ David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 76, 109.
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