Maggie Langham Washington, the daughter of Joseph Tallahassee Langham and Leta Taylor Langham, was born in Richland, Texas. When she was eleven, her family moved to the Waco area. Her father was a farmer and a Methodist preacher, pastoring various churches in Waco, McGregor, and Moody. Washington graduated from Terrell High School and enrolled in Paul Quinn College. After a few years of education, she married and moved to Chicago where she found work as a bartender and factory worker. She returned to Waco in 1947 and worked briefly as a librarian for Paul Quinn College. Following a sharp disagreement with school administration, Washington enlisted in the Women's Army Corps, receiving her basic training at Camp Lee in Virginia. She served at Fort Knox before being transferred to Germany for two years. While there, Washington worked as a member of a recapitulation group responsible for returning German-confiscated property.
After being discharged from the military, Washington returned to Waco and finished her degree in elementary education at Paul Quinn, graduating in 1955. She started working as a substitute teacher in Midland, Texas where one of her sisters lived. Due to her determination and passion for her students, in 1968, Washington was asked to be the first African American educator to teach at the newly integrated Midland Independent School District at Crockett. She was successful and remained in the position until her retirement in 1976.
More information about Maggie Washington can be found at the Institute for Oral History.
BibliographyBoehm, Lisa Krissoff. Making a Way Out of No Way: African American Women and the Second Great Migration. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2009.
Interviews of Maggie Langham Washington by Doni Van Ryswyk and Marla Luffer. March 10, 1988-March 13, 1989. Transcripts, Baylor University Institute for Oral History, Waco, Texas.