Mary Ward Cater was born in the Scott's Crossing area in Northwest Atlanta and grew up in Mableton, Georgia. Her father was a sharecropper and produce seller and her mother worked at Whittier Cotton Mills. Mrs. Cater attended Washington Street Elementary School in Austell, Georgia, and integrated Lindley Middle School in Mableton, Georgia, in 1969. She attended Pebblebrook High School and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta. Mrs. Cater worked in the mortgage department of Georgia State Bank, later becoming First Union Bank. She has been active in civil rights and community organizations. In 1981 she participated in the reactivation of the Cobb County Branch of the NAACP. Mrs. Cater's home was shot in 1983 as part of a racially motivated attack. She is the sister of Susanne Henry, Gwendolyn Dillard, and Miriam Culver.
Interviews with Mary Ward Cater transcript, 2010-10-29 and 2009-11-06, Cobb NAACP/Civil Rights series, 2009-2010, Kennesaw State University Oral History Project, 1973- , KSU/45/05/001, Kennesaw State University Archives.
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