Mary Gordon Ellis (1890-1934)
As a native of Gourdin, South Carolina, Mary Gordon Ellis moved to Rock Hill to attend Winthrop College and to become an educator. After becoming a teacher and principal in the Jasper County School System, she became the first woman superintendent in 1924. She hired a black woman to oversee black children in the school system but was quickly fired for doing this. Four years later, she successfully ran for the SC Senate to become the first woman in the state senate.
Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum.