The Mary Perry Smith papers document her career as an educator and advocate for Black filmmakers. The bulk of this collection
consists of records from two organizations Smith co-founded, the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA)
and the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, but there are also materials related to her career as a teacher at Oakland Technical
Mary Perry Smith was born in Evansville, Indiana in 1926. She attended Ball State University as an undergraduate, earned a
Master's from Purdue University, and began her teaching career in Texas. While in Texas, she met her husband, educator and
community leader, Norvel L. Smith. The couple moved to the Bay Area and settled in Oakland, where Smith began her long career
as an educator, community activist, philanthropist, and an advocate for Black filmmakers and African American cultural institutions.
In 1969, while teaching geometry at Oakland Technical High School, she helped launch the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement
(MESA) Program. Smith left teaching in 1977 to work on MESA full time, eventually becoming a board member. She co-founded
the Black Filmmakers' Hall of Fame in Oakland in 1974 and served on the board of the Oakland Museum. Smith died in 2015.
13.1 Linear Feet
(10 Cartons, 2 boxes)
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of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions,
privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond
that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be
commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the
Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Cartons 1-9 and Boxes 1-2 are open for research. Carton 10 includes restricted personal information and is closed to researchers