Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan
Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan, photograph courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Library of Virginia honored Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan as one of its Virginia Women in History in 2006.
The Virginia Women in History Digital Trail is made possible by the Library of Virginia and American Evolution: Virginia to America, 1619–2019.
Backstory and Context
She was fully cognizant that she had grown up in privileged circumstances: her parents were respected leaders of the city’s white community during the era of racial segregation; she was educated at Richmond’s fashionable Saint Catherine’s School and at Vassar College; and her first husband was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, in her public life she was committed to bridging the gaps between rich and poor and between black and white in Richmond. In a 1986 interview she summed up her philosophy of public service: “Once you see with a clearer perspective, it’s ridiculous to move in a society that does not accept the obvious fact that we are all equal in the sight of God.”
Reprinted with permission of the Library of Virginia.