McInnis, Hattie V.J.

McInnis was the first music teacher of Leontyne Price and the first minority columnist for the Laurel Leader-Call (then known as the Laurel Daily Leader). She and her husband owned a funeral parlor on Meridian Avenue in northeast Laurel. Her weekly column “News for the Colored Reader”ranged from calendars of social events to essays critical of the treatment of the black community. “In a 1950 entry, she reacted to racist demagogues in the political arena: ‘The time has come for candidates to solicit votes on their own good merits, not by arousing prejudice, hatred, or ill-feelings toward another candidate or race group. We do not appreciate anyone using us (the black community) as an open wedge to their office holding.'”In another article she called for equal pay for minority teachers, as well as equal treatment in other areas. “We all want better pay for our teachers, sewage and good streets for our home, decent consideration in our courts and lights and fewer open ditche[s] in our neighborhood. We want all these things because we help pay for them.” McInnis died in 1976 and was buried in the Nora Davis Cemetery.

Sources:

Laurel Remembrances by Cleveland Payne published in 1996.