“You left a legacy,” said one of Mary Hobdy’s admirers. Just like her husband, she was extremely dedicated to her job and in return she received love and admiration from many people. Hobdy was a secretary at Grambling State for 43 years. She grew up in a segragated area of Misissippi in a town called Mendenhall. Hobdy grew up with two older siblings. Her mother never went to school an her father died at the age of five.
Hobdy’s school was so small that she was only able to finish the eigth grade before she had to move to Pinola, Miss. in order to graduate from high school. The school was 18 miles away from her home so she stayed in dormitories they had available for students. In the summer time, because money was so low, they would have to farm for their food for the winter.
Hobdy had her heart set on going to Tougaloo College after high school, but she did not have the money; so in order to help pay for schooling, she found a scholarship that payed $10 a month. Since it was $28 a month for her to attend, it was up to her to find a way to get the rest. She liked literature, but since they didn’t offer the proper major so she went with english.
When asked about her experiences in the south she explained a story about her girl friend being snatched from a public bathroom because it was an all White bathroom and she didn’t know. They couldn’t do anything to defend themselves for fear of being hurt.
Hobdy talked about how there wasn’t much transportation for Blacks, “We couldn’t ride the buses. We had to walk evrywhere.”
After graduating college she taught for a while in Miss., but not long after she made her move to Grambling. Once here, because of her love for writing, she pursued her degree in journalism. After arriving, she was offered an intern in another state but was persuaded not to go. She said that it was probably for the best because she may not have come back.
Soon after she was offered a job as the secretary to a dean.
A later she met her husband Fred Hobdy. They encouraged and complimented each other. When asked how she felt about her husband, she responded, “He was a dedicated Gramblinite. He was frank. and dedicated to his work. He believed in excellence.”
Mary also had a true love for Grambling. When she first arrived she said that “everybody here was really very friendly. It was just like a home atmosphere.” Through the years Hobdy proved to have a beautiful and giving spirit. She grew up seeing her mom be a strong woman, a fighter. Although Hobdy didn’t have to endure the same trials. Those traits were instilled in her and she fought for what was best and right to the end.
Editor’s Note: This article includes excerpts from an interview done with Mary Hobdy on KGRM-FM 91.5.