During a 30-year career in the city schools, McDonald founded a nationally recognized anti-poverty program at Harlem Park Junior High School in 1965 that enabled "parents to earn high school diplomas. The program, called the Neighborhood School for Parents, also educated parents about nutrition. It provided child care while they attended classes and balanced meals for the whole family.
A native Texan known as "Mac," Mr. McDonald was the son of a high school principal and an elementary school teacher. Because their town did not have a high school for African-Americans, his parents sent him to live with an aunt in Gary, Ind., where he graduated from Froebel High in 1930. As the Depression hit, he returned to Texas and enrolled at Prairie View State College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sociology, with minors in English and history.
In 1942, while serving as principal of a high school in Gregg County, Texas, Mr. McDonald was drafted into the Army. Under an Army training program, he earned a modified master's degree in industrial psychology at Purdue University. He was assigned in 1944 to a segregated unit for African-Americans, first at Fort Meade and then at Camp Holabird in Baltimore, where he taught soldiers to read and write.
The Army required soldiers to have a basic degree of literacy, and after a 13-week course, they took a test on a fourth-grade level, said Joel Carrington, a retired assistant superintendent of Baltimore schools who also taught the course to soldiers. He was friends with Mr. McDonald for the next 64 years.
Mr. McDonald settled in Baltimore after receiving an honorable discharge from the Army in 1946. In the Baltimore school system, he was assigned to work at Dunbar High, where he spent 10 years as an English teacher and five years as a guidance counselor.
In the early 1960s, Mr. McDonald was transferred to Harlem Park, where he was chairman of the guidance department and founded the parent program. The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare named the program one of the nation's 12 best federally funded anti-poverty programs for parents.
Mr. McDonald moved to school system headquarters 'in the early 1970s, overseeing a community schools program before becoming director of student affairs. He retired in 1975. From 1979 to 1987, he taught career planning at the Community College of Baltimore (now Baltimore City Community College) and Sojourner-Douglass College.
Mr. McDonald was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and civic organizations such as Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. and the Black/Jewish Forum of Baltimore. He was a founder of the Dunbar Dinner Group, which organizes quarterly gatherings of retired Dunbar teachers.
Mr. Carrington said his friend was an avid newspaper and magazine reader who loved to discuss current events and often wrote to politicians. "He liked to challenge viewpoints and enjoyed vigorous debate and discussion," he said.
Mr. McDonald's first marriage ended in divorce. He was married for more than 50 years to his second wife, the former Lillian Seaberry, with whom he had a daughter.
Services are scheduled Thursday at Heritage United Church of Christ, 3110 Liberty Heights Ave. Family hour begins at 10 a.m., with a Kappa service at 10:30 a.m. and the funeral at 11 a.m.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Kim Patterson of Baltimore, he is survived by a stepson, Wade Horsey of Avon, Conn.; two grandchildren; one great-grandson; and one great-great-grandson.