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Mary Sanderson-Grases (with students)
*The birth of Mary Sanderson-Grases is celebrated on this date in 1851. She was a Black school teacher.
Mary Jane Sanderson was born in Wareham, Massachusetts, to Jeremiah Burke ("J.B.") Sanderson and Catherine Molyneaux (Sanderson). She was the second oldest of 8 children and came to California with her mother and siblings about 1861 to join her father, who was teaching in San Francisco.
From 1867 to 1871, she was the teacher at the Brooklyn Colored School. Oakland didn't annex Brooklyn until 1872. In 1871, she married James E. Grases, who would later be a deputy county assessor. They had a daughter, Katherine "Kate" Jefferson Grases, and lived at 580 - 32nd Street (the address was where I-980 is now.).
Her husband’s father was born in Ecuador. Her father was born to parents of mixed race. That census lists Mary, James, and Kate as white. After James' death, the 1920 census lists Mary and Kate as white; the 1930 census lists Mary and Kate as black. Mary Sanderson Grases the first Black school teacher in Oakland, CA, died September 14, 1933. The funeral was held at First African Methodist Episcopal Church.
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