She was the oldest of three children born to Meddie Lilian and Jeff D. Harrison Switch, later known as Harrison, was a small African American community eight miles southeast of Waco. This was notable in a time when the majority of African American farmers in Texas were sharecroppers. She supported herself by teaching in various McLennan County schools. InConner married a prominent Waco doctor, George S. Conner, and moved to his Waco home on 12 th Street.
Conner was thirty-one years her senior. That same year, Conner left her job as a teacher to become a home demonstration agent, employed by the U. Department of Agriculture.
The demonstration program was founded in as a way to teach rural girls homemaking skills, but soon grew with the help of federal funding and statewide organization. The program provided support to farming families by supplementing clothing, undertaking home improvement projects, and even funding scholarships.
Due to segregation, Conner was only allowed to work with black women and families. Conner taught women practical lessons, such as homemaking, sewing, basic healing, better farming techniques, and personal hygiene.
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Due to her influence, rural schools switched from a shared ladle to individual drinking cups for school children, cutting back on the spread of germs. She traveled throughout McLennan County during the week, and stayed with her husband in Waco on the weekends. After receiving her degree, she was promoted to supervisor of home demonstration agents, which meant she was in charge of the program for all of Central Texas. She continued to travel during the week, staying in private homes, because segregation kept her from staying in hotels.
InDr. Conner died. Conner, at the age of forty-four, found herself a widow, once again supporting herself. InConner left her position with the home demonstration program to become supervisor of the black schools of McLennan County. She found that black schools had far less supplies, inferior accommodations, and a lack of funding compared to the white schools in the county.
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Conner fought to reform this injustice, and combined the thirty-five smaller schools into fourteen larger ones in order to make the most use of the limited resources available. Conner continued to be a faithful member of New Hope Baptist Church, and an active member of her community, serving throughout Waco and McLennan County until her death on June 10, at the age of Jeffie Conner is remembered as one of the outstanding professional women of Waco, paving the way for future black women to follow in her footsteps and make a difference.
Need Help? She was born during the years of Jim Crow laws, segregation, and unequal opportunities for women, but she managed to have an extremely successful career, supporting herself for the majority of her life.
After years of working in segregated schools, she lived to see her niece become the first black female faculty member at Baylor University. Conner, husband of Jeffie O. Conner, was born in to two free blacks in Tennessee. After earning his medical degree, he moved to Waco where he began practicing medicine and quickly became a prominent member of the black community and an active member at New Hope Baptist Church.
As a black man in the South during the era of Jim Crow Laws, Conner faced many challenges as a practicing doctor. Conner pose outside of their home in their Sunday best.
Jeffie was Dr. Conner's second wife. The couple married in and shared 16 years of happy marriage.
In order to keep a close relationship, they wrote letters back and forth. Jeffie faithfully saved the hundreds of letters he sent her.
After Jeffie became a home demonstration agent, she used her mother's farm as a site for demonstrations to instruct and assist rural women and their families. Smith on her farm at Harrison.
Displayed are cured hams from a hog slaughtered on the farm. Learning techniques for storing and preserving meats was especially important for rural Texas families.
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At this time, most lived lives similar to those of their pioneer predecessors, and did not yet have modern conveniences such as refrigerators. Jeffie retired from superintendent of McLennan County Schools inbecause travelling had become too tiresome for her. She later recalled, however, that she was serving on so many committees, clubs, and organizations, that she was even busier after retirement than she had been while she was working full-time. Get Directions.
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Subjects Education Race and Ethnicity Biography. McArthur, Judith N. Handbook of Texas Online. Wallace, Patricia W. Nortex Press, Austin, Tex,