The sweet and peaceful life of Mrs. Mary Martin McGinnis will be honored with a 106th birthday celebration on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. This event, in the form of a drive-thru parade, will be held at the family home: 262 Highway 16 West in the Yazoo City area (known as Louise).
Mary Martin McGinnis was born on June 26, 1915 in Humphreys County, Mississippi. Her parents were Nathanial and Blanche Martin. She was raised on the farm and received her formal education in a one-room schoolhouse. She was scholarly and earned an eighth-grade diploma.
During that era, Mississippi did not fund rural high schools for African Americans. Mary took her exemplary education to heart, further developed self-learning traits, focused on vocational and industrial skills, and exhibited a desire to be of service – civically and spiritually.
In 1932, at the age of 17, she married the love of her life, Kenzie McGinnis. They exhibited a bond of love and goodwill. The couple then purchased 40 acres of farmland.
From this union, eleven children were born. Mr. McGinnis is now deceased as well as two of their children.
The bond of this family includes 26 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, six great-great grandchildren, and one great-great-great grandchild. She is a very inspirational figure in their lives and she continues to provide guidance and motivation.
Mary and Kenzie supported and encouraged their children to pursue academic and professional excellence. She has been a profound believer in education. One example is her having served as a bus driver for the Head Start program. She loved the children, and strongly felt that everyone needs a “head start” in order to succeed.
Mary is a pillar at New Foundation Baptist Church where she has served as choir president, Sunday School teacher, and mother of the church. Her favorite book is the Bible. She reads scripture three hours each day, and has many favorite Biblical quotes.
Mary has a great sense of humor, takes prides in gardening, and enjoys bingo, arts, and crafts.
The Covid-19 era has limited her involvement with the Clara Reed Adult Daycare Center. She is still engaged in planting collards and turnip greens and her array of pecan trees. She watches NBA games and previously attended many NBA All-Star tournaments with her son-in-law, Ernie Jones, who is a former Harlem Globetrotter.
Mary Martin McGinnis has great memories of life before the Depression, during the various wars, and the previous and current state of race relations. She has many comparable stories to tell and insight on many issues. She attributes her longevity to maintaining her strong faith in God, eating greens, and regularly drinking a bit of garlic water with apple cider vinegar.
The Martin and McGinnis families are very proud of its matriarch. She is held in the highest esteem.
Family and friends will observe this 106th birthday celebration by wearing red and black. Masks are to be worn and there will be a level of social distancing.