A Life Remembered: Macie McQueen

The story of a community matriarch

By Kimberly Harrington
Special to The Pee Dee Post

She is remembered as a passionate advocate for justice and equality, a driven community activist, a warrior and mentor.

But many called her mother.

Macie McQueen, a former member of the Richmond County Board of Education and wife of Dr. Fred McQueen, died Sunday, Nov. 23. She was 66.

Macie McQueen

Macie McQueen

McQueen most recently served as chairperson of the Richmond County Human Relations Council, but it was her work years ago with the Richmond County Branch of the NAACP Youth Council that allowed her to touch so many lives.

“As one of the advisors of the Youth Council, Macie believed in us and helped to mold us into hard workers. She helped us to develop our moral character and encouraged us to be movers and shakers,” said Sabrina McDonald, Rockingham assistant city manager.

“Macie loved young people and wanted us to discover our talents and to use them to reach our aspirations and encourage others. Macie fought for children when we couldn’t fight for ourselves. She showed us love,” she said.

In 1985, McQueen helped to lead local NAACP protests in getting the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday recognized within the Richmond County School District.

“She went to the school system and demanded they shut down for Martin Luther King Jr.,” recalled Curtis Ingram, who was a member of the youth council at that time. He is now a longtime member of the Richmond County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Foundation.

McQueen was also the person to take him and countless other young people to Washington D.C., and Howard University for the first time.

“She wanted us to experience different things, to excel and do well,” Ingram said. “She reached back and brought us up to make sure we were prepared for every opportunity out there for us.”

Antonio Blue, first vice president of the local NAACP, described McQueen as a warrior.

“She was a true freedom fighter for education and equality of life for children. In her own right, she was a local female version of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

On Oct. 5, 2007, the Richmond County NAACP Youth Council honored McQueen for her contributions. Many of the former members spoke of her influence on their lives. Richmond County Commissioners officially proclaimed that day as Macie McQueen Day.

“Macie had a heart for helping and encouraging people. She helped start the Richmond County Human Relations Council because she believed in equal opportunities for every citizen, and that we should celebrate diversity and seek to not just see the world through our eyes but through the eyes of others,” said Gene McLaurin, former Rockingham mayor and state senator for District 25.

“She will be missed and my prayers are with Fred and her family and many friends,” he said.

The Human Relations Council still exists today because of McQueen, said Dot Fisher Bynum, the council’s chairperson. “It has been Macie, a founding member, who has been the wind beneath its wings. This organization will sorely miss her input.”

Danny Hayes of the House of Fish said McQueen is a part of the fabric of his life.

“She invested her time and energy and efforts into my life up until the day she died. I am going to miss her wholeheartedly. Her teachings will live on in me. As a young African-American male, I will continue my part in carrying her torch.”

McQueen was raised in Fairmount Heights, Md. A 1971 graduate of Howard University, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She met Fred McQueen while attending college and the two of them married and later relocated to Richmond County in 1976. They have one son, Justin.

In addition to her other community involvement, McQueen was a golden life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Laurinburg Alumnae Chapter, and the Essence Women Travel Club.

“Macie will be forever remembered as a dedicated and hard worker in every organization she was a member,” said Lois Jones, a friend and member of Delta Sigma Theta.

“Her personal strength, fortitude and bravery in living with Multiple Sclerosis was an inspiration and life lesson for all who knew her. Macie could pull out the very best in you as she did with me when she motivated me to ride 100 miles to raise funds for MS research,” Jones said.

Even as her health declined, McQueen was an active and dedicated member of Delta Sigma Theta. “This ‘shero’ will be greatly missed by all.”

McQueen’s mantra was, “I have MS but MS doesn’t have me,” said her husband, Fred.

“She loved life, people and children. She believed in education and exposure. She understood people. She was real,” Fred McQueen said.

Memorial service

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at Cole Auditorium. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the John Henry Little Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 388, Hamlet, NC 28345 or to the MS Foundation.

A Life Remembered

This is the start of a new feature series that will be published on an occasional basis. The intent is to allow family members and friends the opportunity to tell the best and memorialize the best stories of their dearly departed for all time online with their local newspaper, The Pee Dee Post.

People featured in this series will have ties to Richmond County and will come from all walks of life. If you have someone in mind, please send an email to peedeepost@gmail.com.

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  • http://www.thehouseoffish.com Danny Hayes

    Wonderful Article!! Great job Kim, Kevin and the entire staff of The Pee Dee Post!

  • Teresa Grant

    I had the pleasure of meeting Ms Macie a few years ago grooming her loved schnauzer. She was a woman full of life, I enjoyed my long talks with her after grooming her baby. I love history and people & she had a passion for both. I learned a lot from her. I know she will be missed by many, her beauty and personality, what a loss to society.

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