Carrie Allen McCray
|Carrie Allen McCray|
October 4, 1913|
Lynchburg, Virginia, United States
|Died||July 25, 2008
Carrie Allen McCray (October 4, 1913 – July 25, 2008) was an African-American writer born in Lynchburg, Virginia, whose published works include Ajös Means Goodbye (1966), The Black Woman and Family Roles (1980), and her memoir, Freedom’s Child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter (1998) about seeking out her family history and the stories of her grandfather. Her poems have appeared in such magazines as Ms. and The River Styx. Ota Benga Under My Mother's Roof was her last collection of poems (edited by Kevin Simmonds) and was published by University of South Carolina Press. Ota Benga was a pygmy tribal member and former slave from Africa who lived at her house. He had was put on exhibition as an anthropological exhibit before being brought to the Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg by Gregory W. Hayes (who was marred to McCray's step-mother until he died). McCray's step-mother took over as the seminary's president and remarried her father William Patterson Allen, a lawyer. In October 2007, a theatrical adaptation of the collection (with original music by Simmonds) debuted at the Columbia Museum of Art with McCray as narrator.
McCray was one of the founders and first board members of the South Carolina Writers Workshop, and was the namesake for its literary award. She was also a member of the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors.
McCray, who made her home in Columbia, South Carolina, since 1986, was the widow of John H. McCray, a South Carolina journalist and civil and political rights activist. She died on July 25, 2008, aged 94.
"I never thought of myself as a writer — only as a social worker and teacher who wrote and loved to write. For me, it had to be validated. It took Freedom’s Child to do that."
- Biographical Listing from University of South Carolina
- Listing from African-American Registry
- Article from Harvard University Gazette