MARTIN, MARY BROWN (1877-19 Nov. 1939), the first black woman elected to the Cleveland Board of Education, was born in Raleigh, N.C., to M. Scott and Jane (Curtis) Brown, both former slaves. She came to Cleveland in 1886 and attended Rockwell School and CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, graduating in 1900 as the class vocalist. She graduated from Cleveland Normal Training School in 1903. Brown taught school for 2 years in Alabama and Arkansas, then returned to Cleveland. In the 1920s, Martin became a teacher in the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, and in 1930 she was elected to the Board of Education. She served 2 terms, declining to run for a third term in 1937. In 1939, however, she was elected again. Martin was also one of the few black women in Cleveland active in the women's suffrage movement. Mary B. Martin Elementary School at 8200 Brookline Ave. was named in her honor.
Martin married ALEXANDER H. MARTIN in 1905. They had four children: Lydia J., Alexander H., Jr., Stuart B., and Sarah M. (Pereira). Martin was buried in Highland Park Cemetery.