Mazie Smith Purdue

Mazie Smith Purdue came to Erie in 1923 with her parents and four brothers.  Her parent’s driving motivation in moving to Erie was so their children could get a good education—a decision that produced not only the educator Mazie, but a judge, an attorney, an engineer, and an architect. Mazie attended Penn School, Strong Vincent High School, Kutztown University, Villa Maria College, and Gannon University.  Mazie became a registered nurse, working at the Erie Geriatric Hospital.  While raising two sons, Mazie became deeply involved in the community, helping to establish the following: local chapters of the National Council of Negro Women and Negro Business and Professional Women, as well as various after-school, summer lunch and self-esteem programs at Shiloh Baptist Church. In addition, she helped lead Women of Color and the Erie chapter of the Pennsylvania Conference on Black Basic Education. Ms. Smith-Purdue served as a nurse, social worker, executive director of Child-Development Center of BTW, a home school visitor, Executive Director of a family planning program, and operated a 24-hour nursery for pre-school children. AND she served for years on the Erie School Board.

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