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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

McCane, Margaret Perea. Papers

Repository: Harvard University. Radcliffe Institute. Schlesinger Library

Collection Description (Extant): Margaret (Perea) McCane, teacher, social worker and community volunteer, was born in Cambridge, March 1, 1906, the only child of Beverley Harrison Perea (1854-1915) and Missouri Johns (1863-1930). In 1915 her father became the first black officer in the United States Army to be buried in Arlington National [Cemetery].

MPM attended the Cambridge High School, took music lessons from the New England Conservatory and received her A.B. in Romance Languages from Radciffe College in 1927. After graduation she taught French for three years at several southern black institutions: Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, Delaware State College in Dover, Delaware, and A and T College in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1939 she married Charles McCane, whom she had met while teaching at Wiley College. Their daughters, Perea and Charlotte, were born in 1931 and 1934.
In 1939 MPM returned to full-time education and retrained as a social worker. She took her MSSW in 1941 from Catholic University of America, the school's first black student. She was a case-worker for the Family Society of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Probation Officer for the juvenile court in Washington, D.C. (1942-1949), and case-worker for the Veterans' Administration (1949-1952). She was an administrator in two state institutions: National Training School for Girls (1952-1953) and Barrett School for Girls, Glen Burnie, Maryland (1953-1955). Illness in 1956 caused her to retire from professional social work, but she continued to be active as a volunteer case-worker and served on many boards and committees in the Washington, D.C. area: The League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, National Association of Social Workers, the Radcliffe Club of Washington and several church groups. She also worked as a volunteer in a program, based at International House, that welcomed foreign visitors, 1960-66.

Upon her husband's retirement from the Physics Department at Howard University in 1966, MPM and her family moved to Falmouth, Massachusetts permanently, and she has since then been active in civic affairs. She has held the following positions: social director of the Head Start Program in the Falmouth school system (1966-1967), president of the Falmouth chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, Inc. (1972), president of the Conservatory Guild of Highfield (part of the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music and Arts), member of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Cape Cod, founding member of the Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, Inc. MPM has been a town meeting member and served on the Planning Board and the Finance and Social Service Committees of the Town of Falmouth. She has been active in the Radcliffec Club of Cape Cod and has been class agent for her Radcliffe class.


This collection consists of clippings about MPM, correspondence re: MPM's employment and civic activities, and talks. For tape of MPM and Charles McCane, describing their lives until 1927, see R83-T7.

Date(s): 1952-1983

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: Call No.: RA.A/M122

Extent: 6 folders

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Margaret Perea McCane, Charles McCane

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American college teachers
African American women
Catholic University of America
College integration
Social workers




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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

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   September 26, 2018
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