Mary E. Cary Burrell


Born in Virginia. Strong member of NJ State Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1915, running the Legislative Department, while living in East Orange, working for causes including suffrage and prison reform (chairman of prison reform).

By 1920 lived in Newark on Howard Street and the Newark News called her a “Republican leader for the colored women voters in this county”. Held meetings to encourage voting throughout the county. Hosted campaign rallies. Betty Livingston Adams writes, “Under her leadership, black women successfully turned a Democratic ward into an overwhelming Republican majority and sent the first African American, Dr. Walter Alexander, to the New Jersey Assembly.”

She lived at 23 Howard Street until her death. Held positions in the National League of Republican Colored Women, the State Colored Republican Conference, the interracial National Republican Conference, Newark NAACP, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and the (NJ) State Migrant Commission.


Adams, Betty Livingston. Biographical Sketch of Mary E. Cary Burrell.

Adams, Betty Livingston. Black Woman’s Christian Activism

Colored Women Hear SpeakersNewark News Sept 14, 1920

B-37 Burrell, Mary E, Newark News Morgue, Newark Library

In the Political Arena: Women’s Work in Essex County, N.J. Competitor, Vol. 3, no. 4 (June 1921), 34.