Mynetta Mace Smith
Mynetta Mace Smith
Source: Brenda Jo Smith Davis
Mynetta Alicia Mace Smith was born the eighth child of George Mace Jr. and Esther Lowe Mace on November 22, 1928 in Learned , MS. Her very early years were spent being reared by her grandmother, while going back and forth to her parents’ home. She was considered a physically “poorly” baby and toddler and was strengthened with the nurture of lots of eggs and high-protein meals, nestled in love and care. She grew as a small child to have thick, long, red hair that was cut off as an adolescent because her grandmother thought it was “stunting her growth”; hence one of her nicknames, Red. She loved being with her siblings, even though it was a challenge to keep up with them in work and play. They, too, deeply cared for her.
Mynetta attended secondary school (which included high school and junior college) at Southern Christian Institute (SCI) in Edwards, and graduated from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, TX, with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education. After marrying her childhood sweetheart, Marcellus D. Smith, in 1951, she went on to engage in community interest as well as becoing an elementary teacher in the Hinds County School District. Mynetta and Marcellus had 3 children: Brenda Jo, Ronnie Renee, and Dennis O’Keith. The family lived in Edwards in a house that she, Marcellus and her father-in-law built. They went on to build six other homes for rental investment property.
Mynetta enjoyed teaching community classes in Home Economics, as well as Prenatal and Post-natal Care. As she presented seminars to the women in need of those services, she found this as a “calling” that also proved to be self-therapeutic as she navigated several miscarriages in her life. She was blessed to have family and a mother-in-law that helped take care of the children while she worked and Marcellus was away in the Army.
Mynetta’s years as a teacher in Hinds County was very rewarding, yet very strenuous. During the 1960s’desegregation of the schools in Mississippi, the town of Clinton (also a part of Hinds County, yet, a separate, independent school district) was integrated. JIM CROW laws were still in effect, and racial inequalities were the instilled standard. Mynetta, along with several of her teaching colleagues were transferred to Clinton Park Elementary School with some of black children of their former school. She and her colleagues were met with administrative “push-back”. “We know you don’t want to be here. We don’t want you here in our school. So don’t look at or touch our children. Send any concerns to me and I will handle it. Just teach the material given to you in our curriculum. I need to see your lesson plans weekly, and they must match the ones in your team.” The words of her first principal in Clinton were etched in her mind, and rendered great pain, yet strength to continue to pursue her teaching career until she retired in 1990. This journey led her through many encounters of joy and pain; new-found life-long friends and some enemies; blessings beyond measure.
Mynetta and Marcellus moved for Edwards to Jackson during this time also. She and her family united with Lane Chapel C.M.E. Church, where she served as a Sunday school teacher, organized many events, and provided fresh flowers for altar arrangements from her garden for over 40 years. She served in many auxiliaries of the church. Her favorite hymn, “In the Garden” was her testimony of the love, grace and mercy of God and her faith in Him. She served God through service to her family and her community. Mynetta enjoyed cooking, fishing, working on Saturday projects with her family, and flower gardening. That led her to being invited by Mrs. Emily Holton, to become a care-taker of the Governor’s Mansion Rose Garden where she honed the skills taught to her by her sisters Clara and Queen and, her surrogate “Mother Lucius”.
Mynetta loved to dance, play outdoor and indoor games, and was a “Bid Whiz” contender in the neighborhood and family get-togethers. Her visits to the sick became also a family ritual. Yes, she grew to be very strong in many ways and passed that strength to her legacy. 2 Corinthians 12:10