Kathryn McGowan Maxwell

Areas of Achievement: 
Community Building

Honored By

Honored by: Morgan Maxwell, Jr. and Ingrid K. Maxwell
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile, Large

Kathryn McGowan Maxwell was born in Texas and moved with her husband and two children in 1940 to Tucson, when her husband Morgan Maxwell, Sr. became principal of the segregated Black Dunbar School. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Arizona and taught all the Black students in the Marana Schools from grades 1 through 9. After integration, she taught in the Marana Schools until her retirement at age 65. She was the first of three generations to graduate from the University of Arizona. Her son (Morgan Maxwell, Jr.) remembers his mother as a community leader and being active in the NAACP, Arizona Association of University Women, U of A Alumni and President's Club, Tucson League of Women Voters, Tucson Commission on Human Relations, and the American Red Cross. Her son still remembers when he and his mother, during World War II, went to the railroad station after school and she made certain that Black soldiers on segregated troop trains were given coffee and donuts by the Red Cross when passing through Tucson. Her father John McGowan was the teacher at the school in the Black town of Red Bird, Oklahoma. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 appointed her mother Kathryn McGowan as Postmistress of Red Bird, Oklahoma, making her the first Black woman postmistress in the United States. TUSD has named Morgan Maxwell Middle School to honor her husband who died in 1987.