A Walterboro, SC Native, Mrs. Mary Bright Darby is the oldest daughter among the eleven children of the late Mr. Lee A. and the late Mrs. Lillie Washington Bright. She is a graduate of St. Jude High School, Sumter, SC; holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education with a Minor in Art from Columbia College, and completed course requirements for a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina. She also took part in the Richland School District One Management Development Program and the South Carolina Education Association’s Women’s Leadership Training Program.
A career educator with 30 plus years of experience, Mrs. Darby retired as a Kindergarten Teacher at Frierson Elementary School in Wadmalaw, SC and was Grade Level Chairperson for the Kindergarten Classes of Charleston County School District 23. Mrs. Darby also served the Charleston County School District as an Early Childhood Liaison and on the Teacher Incentive Committee. While serving as a Readiness Teacher in Richland County School District One, Mrs. Darby’s Classes four times submitted award-winning books in the District Literacy Competition. At Frierson Elementary School, her Kindergarten students performed poetry before the National Accelerated Schools Conference and the Charleston County School Board. Mrs. Darby chaired the Dr. Martin Luther King Days at Frierson Elementary School and chaired the Black History Committee at numerous schools. She was a 2006 recipient of Live 5 News’ Golden Apple Award.
Mrs. Darby has a lengthy record of service in national, state and local education associations. She served the Richland County Association as an Association Representative, Board Member, District Director, Election Committee Member, and Chairperson of the Membership Committee and the Human Relations Committee. During her tenure as Membership Committee Chairperson, the Richland Association grew to be the largest in the State. While serving as Chairperson of the County Association’s Human Relations Committee, she sponsored four candidates who won the State Association’s Walker E. Solomon Human Relations Award, was twice the recipient of the County Education Association’s Human Relations Award and was State Winner of the Walker E. Solomon Human Relations Award in 1993. She was an active member and is now a Life member of the Charleston County, South Carolina, and National Education Associations, and the South Carolina State Council of the International Reading Association. Mrs. Darby is a member of the National Council of Negro Women and of Gamma Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
At Saint James AME Church in Columbia, Mrs. Darby was a member of the Pastor’s Aide Club and R.H. Williams Singers. She was a Church School Teacher at Piney Grove AME Church, West Columbia, and Pleasant Spring AME Church, Irmo; was First Vice-President and Chairperson of the Family Life Committee for the Women’s Missionary Society at Pine Grove AME Church, Columbia; and was a Lay reader at Saint Phillip AME Church, Eastover. At Morris Brown AME Church, she served as advisor to the Local Women’s Missionary Society, Chairperson of the Commission on Missions and Welfare, a Teen Spiritual Summit Mentor, did monthly Children’s Messages during the worship service, was named 2000 Woman of the Year and was honored by the young adult members of the Women’s Missionary Society, who organized the Mary B. Darby Missionary Unit. She was also Director of Promotion and Missionary Education for the Palmetto Conference Branch Women’s Missionary Society.
Mrs. Darby held numerous offices in the Columbia Area and Columbia Conference Branch Women’s Missionary Society and was President of the Columbia Conference Branch Women’s Missionary Society for six years. During her tenure as President, membership and outreach increased, and Quarterly Institutes and a Newsletter were initiated. Mrs. Darby worked closely with the Columbia Conference YPDers, helping to foster joint WMS-YPD activities such as basketball games, back to school rallies, and other events to draw youth and adults together. She also led a bone marrow donor recruitment drive to help a toddler find a match to extend her life. Mrs. Darby’s hobbies include reading and writing poetry, music, calligraphy, decorating, designing, collecting African and African American dolls and angels, horticulture, and art.
She is married to the Rev. Joseph A. Darby, and they have two sons, Jason Christopher and Jeremy Christian.