Lettie Mae Mulford


*sometimes listed as “Lettie Mulford” or “May Mulford”

Teacher in the Newark Public School System for 42 years. A daughter of the first African American Newark High School student Clara Mulford, Lettie graduated Newark High School in 1901. In 1904, she graduated from the Normal School. Starting that year, she was an Assistant Teacher at Morton St. School. She was still at Morton Street in 1924 when she was teaching the 1A class. She is the only African American we know of so far who was teaching at a “White” school while the Colored School remained open.

Newark News, June 29, 1904
Newark News Sept 7, 1904
Newark Herald Sept 24, 1938

Early African American teacher cited by the national Afro American. She was organist and financial secretary for St. John’s AME and an early member of the Negro Welfare League (later Urban League). She was a member of the National Teacher’s Sorority and the Phyllis Wheatley Literary Club, the Retired Teachers Association and the NAACP. She was elected treasurer of the Community Chest in 1954.

She was frequently mentioned in the Newark Herald, click here to see those mentions.


Progress in Newark, N.J.” Afro American Sept 11, 1937, pg. 22

“Services Today for Miss Mae Mulford” Star Ledger Dec 16, 1970

“Friendly House Group Elects” Star Ledger Jan 14, 1954

Kukla, Barbara, Defying the Odds

Urban League Digitized Minutes

Ashby, William. “Reflections on the Life of Negroes in Newark

Board of Education Report, 1902

Board of Education Report, 1913-1916

Newark School Bulletin, 1924

Board of Education Report, 1905

Board of Education Report, 1904

Group Photo