Mary Fair Burks

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Mary Fair Burks

Mary Fair Burks (ca. 1920s – July 21, 1991) was an American educator, scholar, and civil rights activist from Montgomery, Alabama. She was head of the English department at Alabama State College in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[1] In 1946, she founded the Women's Political Council, an organization that promoted civic involvement, helped increase voter registration, and lobbied city officials to address racist policies. Burks was president of the WPC until 1950, when she decided to step down: "The position was demanding and I had been in office longer than I intended." She continued to be a part of the WPC. In 1955-56, she and other WPC members helped initiate and provide support for the Montgomery bus boycott.

In 1960, Burks resigned from Alabama State College after several professors were fired for their involvement in civil rights issues. She then taught literature at the University of Maryland until her retirement in 1986. Burks was appointed to a National Endowment for the Humanities reviewing panel in 1979.[2]

She died on July 21, 1991.

Works cited[edit]

  • Burks, Mary Fair. "Women in the Montgomery Bus Boycott." Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers 1941-1965. Ed. Vicki L. Crawford, Jacqueline Anne Rouse, and Barbara Woods. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. 71-83.


  1. ^ "Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Struggle". The Sacramento Bee. February 28, 1998. 
  2. ^ "Pacesetters: Dr. Mary Fair Burks". Baltimore Afro-American. December 29, 1979. 

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