Mary France was born one of eight children, in Scottsburg, Va. Her father never went to school; he and Mary’s mother were farmers. Mary graduated from Mary Bethune High School in Halifax, Va., an all-black segregated school.
After high school Mary moved to Corona, Queens, She got married, had six children, worked for an agency part-time cleaning offices early in the morning and late at night while she took care of her children and began attending York College in Jamaica. She worked with the Parent Associations in her children’s schools, including being the president of the P.A. at PS 92 in Corona. She graduated Cum Laude from York College with a BA. in English in 1980. Mary was the founding president of the Parents Coalition for Education in 1982 and continued in that capacity until 1989. She ran for school board twice, in 1986 and 1989 and as an independent for State Assembly in 1994. She has been a member of the Queens Coalition for Political Alternatives, National Black Child Development Institute, NAACP, and the National Council of Negro Women. She played a leading role in the Emergency Campaign to Save Our Schools, African Americans
Political Power, the Citywide Coalition of African American Education Organizations, Advocates Children, the National Committee for Independent Political Action and the Campaign for a New Tomorrow(CNT). She was N.Y. State coordinator for Ron Daniels’ Independent Presidential campaign -in 1992. She has worked actively with CNT’s Haiti Support Project.
Mary was the Director of the Office of Parent Involvement under Richard Green, the city’s first American School’s Chancellor. She has worked as the Director of the Homework Assistance Program at the Langston Hughes Library and Cultural Center, Senior Instructor and Project Director at York Adult Learning Center and Director of the Even Start Program in Community School District 2. She currently teaching English at I.S. 227 in East Elmhurst and serves on the N.Y. State Regents Visiting Committee for Low-Performing Schools. In addition to her sir children, she has six grandchildren.