Mary Smith Kelsey Peake: Influential Educator in Virginia

0 Posted by - January 13, 2021 - Black First, Black History, History, LATEST POSTS

Mary Smith Kelsey Peake was an influential educator in Virginia who taught African Americans of all ages. She was also the founder of the Daughters of Zion, an organization that provided aid to the poor and the sick.

Peake was born in Norfolk in 1823. Peake was the daughter of a free black woman and a prominent Englishman. When she was six, Mary was sent to live with her aunt and uncle to attend a school for African Americans in Alexandria, which was then a part of the District of Columbia. During her schooling, she probably learned mathematics, reading, writing, and sewing skills. Peake returned to Norfolk in 1839.

In 1847, Peake moved with her family to Hampton. While supporting herself as a dressmaker, she secretly began teaching from her home, instructing African Americans of all ages. She also founded the Daughters of Zion to provide aid to the poor and the sick. In 1851 she married Thomas Peake, a former slave.

Early in the Civil War, the Peake family home was destroyed when Confederate forces torched Hampton. Many of the displaced African American families from Hampton were forced to seek refuge at nearby Fort Monroe. In September 1861, Peake started a school near the fortress, within the present grounds of Hampton University. Her enrollment grew from six to more than fifty students in a matter of days.

Peake was a dedicated instructor, creating a school for adults in the evenings and continuing to teach despite failing health, even when was she was bedridden. She died of tuberculosis in February 1862. Her school was one of the first of its kind and served as a model for a number of other schools that taught African Americans throughout the South in Union-occupied territory.



Mary Peake


  • minecraft pc download May 7, 2019 - 8:11 pm

    Fantastic site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about
    in this article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that
    share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
    Thank you!

  • g May 10, 2019 - 12:10 pm

    Hi there to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this webpage; this blog consists of amazing and really excellent material designed for readers.

  • g May 12, 2019 - 4:06 pm

    I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to check out the same high-grade content from
    you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities
    has encouraged me to get my own website now 😉

  • download minecraft free May 15, 2019 - 1:58 pm

    magnificent submit, very informative. I ponder why the
    other specialists of this sector do not realize this. You must proceed your writing.
    I’m sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  • FranMonry June 2, 2019 - 6:55 pm

    Mail Order Tab Amoxicilina In Internet Kamagra Jelly 100mg Cialis Definition

  • FranMonry June 9, 2019 - 9:04 pm

    Lioresal En Ligne Canada cialis Cialis Vente En Ligne

  • FranMonry June 17, 2019 - 5:37 pm

    Amoxicillin Feline Dosage Acheter Cialis Belgique Purchase Dutasteride Provera 2.5mg Dysmenorrhea From Canada Keflex And Side Effects And Interactions