Carrie Allen McCray
Carrie Allen McCray was born in 1913 in Lynchburg, Virginia, the ninth of ten children. She moved with her family to Montclair, New Jersey in 1920 and stayed there until her high school graduation. McCray earned her BA from Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama and her MSW from New York University. She was married first to Scott Young, with whom she had one son. Her second husband was the late South Carolina journalist and civil and political rights activist, John H. McCray. Carrie McCray's career-long commitment to social activism has reached far and wide. She served as the Director of Health Services in the Essex County Tuberculosis League from 1940--65, and from 1940 she was a social worker in New York City and the Director of Psychiatric Services at Sheltering Arms Children's Agency in Brooklyn. In 1960, she and a group of professors in the Department of Social Work at Talledega College organized the Pulliam Street Center in Talladega, Alabama. Governor Brewer of Alabama appointed McCray to work on the Alabama Youth Commission. She received the Social Worker of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers and the United Negro College Fund's Teacher of the Year award in 1976. She retired from her position as Associate Professor of Social Work and Sociology at Talladega College in 1979. Though she wrote scholarly articles and some short stories and poems over the years, it was not until she reached age seventy-three that McCray began writing "seriously." Since reaching that landmark a decade ago, her work has been published in numerous publications, including Ms., The South Carolina Collection, The River Styx, The Squaw Review, Cave Canem I, and in Gloria Steinem's 1994 book, Moving Beyond Words. One of her short stories, published in John A. William's Beyond the Angry Black and several of her poems were used in a theater production by Luna Stage in Montclair, New Jersey. Among her many public appearances have been readings at the Charleston Spoleto Festival and on NPR's All Things Considered. Since retiring, McCray begins to write at 5 A.M. each day. She keeps busy conducting poetry workshops in schools, mental health centers, and senior centers; serving as a member of the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors; and working on the Social Action Committee and Missions Board at Second Calvary Baptist Church in Columbia. She also finds plenty of time to enjoy the company of her sisters, two grandsons and two great-granddaughters; her birds and dog; and the many friends she visits with regularly. Carrie McCray lives and works in Columbia, South Carolina.