Mary Chase Walker — San Diego’s first schoolteacher — was forced to resign after a minor scandal that involved befriending African Americans.
This and other stories of her life are the subject of the next edition of the “History Alive” lecture series, sponsored by the Lemon Grove Historical Society, at 7 p.m. April 3 in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove.Vanessa Jones, a well-known Old Town historical impersonator in period attire, will relate Walker’s move from Massachusetts in 1865 as the Civil War was winding down, to teach all grades in Old Town San Diego’s original public school.
Walker came West with an Eastern sensibility, one that included friendship with African Americans.
Ironically, aid came from the school board president, Ephraim Morse, just as Walker faced dire straits as a single, jobless woman in a community that was a long way from the explosion of cultures and ethnicities that would mark its late 20th century persona.
“She bridged America east and west, as well as past and present,” noted Estelle Lauer, vice president for programs in the historical society. “As an emigrant American, she is an ideal figure for this season’s lecture theme, Coming to California: The Immigrant Experience.”
“History Alive,” now in its 36th season, is suitable for ages 13 and over, and is free (though donations are appreciated). Refreshments will follow the presentation. Information: 619-460-4353.
— From Lemon Grove Historical Society release
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