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Mary Hines Johnson

Marshalette Wise is not new to education.  Actually, it runs through her veins.

Long before Marshalette founded WISE Scholars Foundation in 2005 or envisioned opening WISE Scholars Academy, her great-great aunt, Mary Hines Johnson, opened the first black school in 1940 in Franklin, Georgia.

Mary Hines Johnson was born Mary Elizabeth Hines on March 23, 1895 in Glenn, Georgia.  She started teaching at the age of 14.  Like many blacks during the time, she started her career out of church. Mothers would meet her at the fork of the road and entrust their children to her.

Once, when she and some children were leaving Ebenezer Church, a storm forced them under a bridge. As she watched the inhabitants flee to their individual places, she pondered why the colored children of Heard County did not have a place they could go for shelter.  She closed her eyes and prayed for a school.

In 1940, her dream came true and Mary Johnson School for Negro Children was opened.  It stood as a monument to both its founder and the education of segregated children during the time.

















To learn more, go to and watch the documentary entitled – Mary Hines Johnson: Continuing the Legacy of an Educational Pioneer.

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