Motivated parents and grandparents inspired Mary McAllister to set high moral and spiritual values along with education and setting career goals.
She is the eldest of eight children and was born and reared in the Old Wilmington Road area of Fayetteville. She has been married to Mr. Freddie McAllister for fifty-seven years and they had two adult children Delvin and Shanda (now deceased). A diploma from E.E. Smith Senior High preceded a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Fayetteville State Teachers College and later a Master of Science in Education Administration and Supervision at East Carolina University.
After twenty-one years of teaching elementary students Mary took a bold move and switched careers. Motivated by a child in her second grade class with sickle cell anemia, a group of students from Terry Sanford High along with a sense of duty for her fellow man, Mary founded Operation Sickle Cell, Inc. in May 1971. It was later renamed Community Health Interventions and Sickle Cell Agency, Inc... Since 1971 Mary McAllister has served as Executive Director of the Agency. With her desire for all citizens to fully participate at the table of equality regardless of gender or ethnicity, she propelled into elected public service.
Mrs. McAllister's political career began when she was twice elected to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners having the distinction of being the first African American serving as Chairman. She again penetrated the ceiling of public service by being the first African American woman elected member of the Cumberland County Legislative Delegation in the North Carolina General Assembly where she served nine terms (18 years). Representative McAllister's advocacy for Fayetteville State University and North Carolina's other Historically Black College and Universities is well known among her peers. She was the first FSU graduate to serve as a member of the County Board of Commissioners and in the North Carolina General Assembly. McAllister's unique blend of grace, strength, and leadership has made her a formidable elected official able to successfully work both sides of the political aisle.
Mary McAllister is a committed Christian who is a member of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. She has numerous memberships, professional affiliations, honors, and awards. Mary McAllister is an amazing community leader who has accomplished much for humanity-she is a shining example of hard work and a sense of duty turned into passion and ultimate triumph. Her first moto in 1980 was "Mary Has Moxie."