Education Yesterday, To-day and To-morrow

  • Seventeen-year-old Mary Omega Moore graduated with honors May 27, 1926 from Princess Anne Academy.Omega Moore Jones Frazier web

    It was a foregone conclusion she would attend the school.

    Born in 1908 in Concord, Del., she was brought as a young girl to live in Princess Anne by her widowed mother, Eliza G. Boyce Moore, who had accepted a job as a nurse-caretaker of Principal Thomas H. Kiah’s children.

    Omega Moore was one of two graduates to address classmates on commencement day; the title of her oration was “Education Yesterday, To-day and To-morrow.”

    It foreshadowed the path she took throughout her adult life, which ultimately brought her back to her alma mater.

    After graduation from the Academy, Moore enrolled in Baltimore’s Morgan College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education and social science in 1930. Her five siblings also earned college degrees, she told The Crisfield Times in 1972.

    Moore taught 13 years in Slaughter Neck public schools in her native Delaware. She married fellow educator Horatio William Jones Jr. and the couple had one son, Horatio William III, a 1978 UMES alumnus.

    Omega Moore Jones returned to Maryland in 1944 to work as a home demonstration agent for the Cooperative Extension Service. Unlike white colleagues, who were assigned a single county, she served Somerset and Wicomico counties for the first 10 years in that post.

    By 1958, she earned a second bachelor’s degree from Morgan State, this time in home economics. A passion for lifelong learning also led to graduate studies at the University of Maryland in College Park, Coppin State College, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina.

    Jones served Somerset County exclusively for an additional 20 years, eventually becoming the first black woman to be named county chairperson for the Cooperative Extension Service. It took until the 1960s for her to be able to serve all clients regardless of race.

    Her husband died in 1965, and four years later she married John B. Frazier.

    She was well-known and widely admired for working long hours, especially with migrant families to ensure disadvantaged children received the best opportunities.

    She and fellow county extension agents took turns being host of a television show, At Home Today on WBOC in Salisbury, where her son was a broadcast journalist / anchorman.

    She was credited with increasing the community’s awareness of such home economics issues as nutrition and food preparation through a monthly newspaper column, “Family Living Notes,” published in The Somerset Herald and The Crisfield Times.

    Omega Moore Jones Frazier had many significant accomplishments during her long career; she conducted a food demonstration attended by Lady Bird Johnson, the president’s wife; established the first day‐care center at the Westover Labor Camp, was a member of the Governor’s Committee on Migratory Labor, and assisted in creating the Somerset County Head Start Program and Operation Mainstream.

    She retired Oct. 1, 1973.

    Five years later, she had a role in playing host to Coretta Scott King, wife of the slain civil rights leader, who visited UMES to help the local Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority chapter celebrate the national organization’s 70th anniversary. Frazier was chapter president at the time. 

    This exceptional alumna earned a Distinguished Service Award in 1966 from the National Association of Extension Home Economists (Maryland affiliate) and was recognized with a Meritorious Service Award by the American Association of University Women in 1976. She also was listed in “Who’s Who of Maryland Women, 1930‐1976.”

    Additional honors bestowed on her came from the Wicomico County Commission for Women and her alma mater, which recognized her with an Alumni Achievement Award and a Chancellor’s Award for service.

    In 1992, she was interviewed for a Public Broadcasting System documentary on “The Great Depression,” where she described inequalities endured by African-American on the Delmarva Peninsula.

    UMES awarded her an honorary doctorate of public service in 1994.

    She died Oct. 30, 2001. She was 93.