HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Dr. Mary T. Christian, a pioneering state legislator and educator from Hampton, died Monday at age 95.
Christian was born and raised in Hampton, and became the first African American and first woman from the city to be elected to the Virginia state legislature since Reconstruction.
She served nine straight terms as a delegate for the 92nd District, was the first African American woman on the Hampton School Board and later became dean of Hampton University’s School of Education.
“Delegate Christian, known as Dr. C., was an unfailing advocate for her district and her constituents,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a statement Tuesday. “Her work as an educator, from elementary school teacher to dean of Hampton University, gave her a deep perspective on education issues. As a legislator, Dr. C. worked to promote better education and health care for all. She advocated for more support for students with disadvantages or disabilities, as well as underserved students in gifted programs. She sponsored legislation that created the Minorities in Teaching program and worked to encourage more teachers from minority groups. And she pushed to improve health insurance coverage for a variety of health issues.”
Christian’s family said details for her funeral services will be released shortly.