African Americans
and Civil Rights:

photo of Maria FearingMARIA FEARING

Born a slave near Gainesville, Alabama in 1838, Maria Fearing learned to read and write at age thirty-three and worked her way through the Freedman's Bureau School in Talladega to become a teacher. At age fifty-six she went to the Congo, where for more than twenty years she worked as a Presbyterian missionary and eventually established the Pantops Home for Girls. Her students nicknamed her, "mama wa Mputu," (mother from far away) as a symbol of their love and appreciation. Maria Fearing was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

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Updated: October 21, 2003