Maryann Mahaffey

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Maryann Mahaffey
Maryann Mahaffey speaking at 50th anniversary for Henry Messer and Carl House.jpg
Maryann Mahaffey speaking at 50th anniversary for Henry D. Messer and Carl House
Personal details
Born(1925-01-18)January 18, 1925
Burlington, Iowa
DiedJuly 27, 2006(2006-07-27) (aged 81)
Detroit, Michigan
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Hy Dooha
Alma materCornell College, University of Southern California
ProfessionEducation, Politician

Maryann Mahaffey (January 18, 1925 – July 27, 2006) was born in Burlington, Iowa. Mahaffey attended, and graduated from Cornell College in 1946. While in college, during the summer of 1945, Mahaffey worked at Poston Internment Camp as a Recreation Director. Influenced by her early work experiences, Mahaffey decided to attend the University of Southern California to obtain a master's degree in Social Work. While a student in the School of Social Work, she met Herman (Hy) Dooha, whom she married in June 1950. After Mahaffey and Dooha graduated in 1951, they moved to Indianapolis where Mahaffey began work with Girl Scouts of the United States of America. She successfully ran for election in 1973 for Detroit City Council. Mahaffey was one of a few members of the Democratic Socialists of America to be elected to public office.[1]

She served on the Detroit City Council from 1973 until 2005, from 1990 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2005 as council president. She was the last white female city council president of Detroit. In both terms as council president, she proved to be a very controversial leader. It was under her that a majority of Detroit's public housing projects were shut down - most notably, the Brewster-Douglas projects in 2004, which are still vacant- and the city's crime and abandonment rates almost tripled; though she resisted this strenuously. However, she oversaw redevelopment of several inner city neighborhoods, and championed construction along the Woodward Corridor.

Mahaffey was active in many organizations related to nutrition, women in politics, peace, and ending discrimination.

She died on July 27, 2006 from health complications related to leukemia, aged 81.


  1. ^ Democratic Left, vol. 8 no. 1 (January 1990), page 7.

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