Mamie Elizabeth Garvin was born in 1888 to Rebecca Mary Logan Bellinger and George Washington Garvin, in Charleston, S.C., on the property of her great-uncle James B. Middleton, a former slave and Methodist minister. Garvin attended the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial School in Charleston. With a scholarship from her church, Centenary Methodist, she attended the high school division of Claflin College in Orangeburg, and later continued her education at the college. In 1908, she began her teaching career at Pine Wood, a one-room school near Sumter, S.C. Returning to Charleston in 1909, Garvin became one of the first African American teachers hired to teach in the county's public schools. She taught at the Humbert Wood Elementary School and at Miller Hill School, Johns Island, S.C., where she served as principal for two years. After living briefly in Boston, Mass., she returned to Charleston and married Robert Lucas Fields, a bricklayer, in 1914, and reared two sons, Robert Lionel and Alfred Benjamin. Fields resumed her career in 1926, teaching at the Society Corner School on James Island, S.C. In addition to teaching children, Fields was a pioneer in adult and education, organizing classes on James and Johns Islands in the early 1920s and developing the first vacation bible school for migrant workers in Charleston during the Depression. Fields retired in 1943, but remained a dedicated club member, volunteering in numerous religious and civic organizations. She was a long-standing member of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Inc. (NACWC) and joined the City of Charleston Federation of Colored Women's Clubs in 1916; she co-founded the Modern Priscilla Club of Charleston in 1927; served as president of the South Carolina Federation of Colored Women's Clubs (SCFCWC) from 1958 to 1964; and functioned as superintendent of Wilkinson Home for Girls, Cayce, S.C. from 1960 to 1963. She was a local pioneer in the concept of children's day-care facilities; the day-care center at the George Legare Homes public housing project was named for her. Fields was a past worthy matron of the Order of Eastern Star and served on Mayor J. Palmer Gaillard Jr.'s city advisory committee of housing. One of her numerous honors, she was named "South Carolina's Outstanding Older Citizen" in 1972. In 1978, she, along with her granddaughter Karen Fields, embarked on an oral history project, which culminated in the book, Lemon Swamp and Other Places: a Carolina Memoir and documented her life in Charleston and Boston from birth until 1948. Fields died in Charleston, June 19, 1987.
From the description of Mamie E. Garvin Fields papers, 1894-1987 (bulk 1945-1985). (College of Charleston). WorldCat record id: 133145105