Mabel Hilda Young, a retired Baltimore City public schools administrator who was present at the desegregation of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park, died of complication from surgery Nov. 19 at Sinai Hospital. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 84.
Born Mabel Hilda Hines in Baltimore and raised in Glen Burnie, she was the youngest child of Herbert Hines, who owned a dry cleaning shop and was a cemetery manager, and Pauline Hines.
She studied music with Adah Jenkins, music critic for the Afro-American newspapers, and was a 1943 graduate of Benjamin Banneker High School. She earned a degree in music education from what is now Morgan State University. She later earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Coppin State University.
"She was an exquisite piano player," said her daughter, Linda Grant of Washington. "The musicals she put on at schools were extravaganzas."
In 1962, Mrs. Young started teaching in the Baltimore public school system in the then-new Head Start program. She was selected to appear on two seasons of a local show, "Kindergarten," which aired on WBAL-TV in 1965 and 1966. Her daughter recalled that her mother once appeared on camera in an episode called "Springs and Things" and explained the laws of physics to children.
Mrs. Young became a school administrator and was named program coordinator for early identification and intervention. She retired in 1988.
Family members said she was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She helped break the color line at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park by taking a niece, Lydia Phinney Wilkins, where they rode the rides before the park officially opened to people of all races in the summer of 1963.
"Their adventure became front-page news in the Afro," said her daughter. The event is included in a book, "Round & Round Together," about the civil rights movement.
"Not only was she at Gwynn Oak, she responded to Sen. Verda Welcome's request and appeared with others at the Lafayette Market to show people how to use voting machines," said a friend, Louise Owens of Pikesville. "In the days of segregation, she also picketed the white-only department stores. She called upon her friends to join her and asked that we be immaculately dressed and coiffed."
Mrs. Owens recalled that Mrs. Young practiced "super methods in classroom instruction." Her teacher friends dubbed her "Little Miss TV."
Mrs. Young was a past president of Monumental City Medical Society Auxiliary and was chairwoman of the nominating committee of the Auxiliary to the State Medical Society. She also was PTA president at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Elementary School.
"She was a terrific and true friend," said LaVerne Turner of Baltimore. "Her famous words were, 'Enjoy a little bit of Christmas every day.'"
Mrs. Young had been a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Alpha Delta Chapter since 1945. She also belonged to The Links and helped arrange fundraisers and fashion shows to assist the less fortunate.
She was a subscriber to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Symphony Associates. She also attended performances of the Baltimore Opera Company. She was a member of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Pierians.
Services were held Wednesday at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, where she was a member and had been an elder and president of the Ladies Guild.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include a son, J.P. Grant III of Columbia; another daughter, Minnie Grant Adams of Glen Rock, N.J.; a sister, Lydia Grinnage of Havre de Grace; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Her first husband of 29 years, internist Dr. J. Preston Grant, died in 1977. Her husband of 22 years, orthopedist Dr. Elroy Young, died in 2002.
Her son established the Mabel G. Young/Grant Capital Management Corporation Scholarship for $5,000. The grant will be awarded by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators "to a deserving African-American graduate or undergraduate student pursuing a career in public finance."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun