Sadye Wier

December 1904 - August 1995

Sadye Wier lived in Macon, Mississippi until she left to attend Talladega College in Alabama, from which she graduated in 1923, an unusual accomplishment for an African American at that time. Following graduation, she moved to Starkville to be near her sister and to teach at the Oktibbeha County Training School, where she taught for 13 years. While she was there, she worked in the library, taught music, and directed student minstrel shows.  In 1932, she married Robert Wier, who was the first African American to own a business on Main Street in Starkville. In 1943, she was hired by the Mississippi State Cooperative Extension Service, becoming the first African American home demonstration agent.  In this position, she worked tirelessly, improving homes inside and outside, installing running water and indoor plumbing, teaching cooking methods, quilting, knitting, and crocheting. She worked with African American 4H Club members and was able to receive permission for them to display their work at segregated county fairs. She said, “I was an ambitious woman. I wanted to accomplish something………I wanted to help my people, to see them get by.”

After retirement, she continued her work to improve the lives of African Americans. She learned how to establish and run canneries at the Ball Jar Canning Company in Indiana, returning to open several canneries in the area.  She also spent three summers working with the Neighborhood Youth Corps in twenty-one counties. She volunteered at local organizations, sat on the Oktibbeha County Library Board, and personally directed the upkeep and improvement of Oddfellows Cemetery, the African American cemetery in Starkville, by hiring and feeding workers, and supplying their equipment. Sadye H. Wier spent her life helping African Americans improve their way of life, to show them what was possible, and to show the white community that blacks were worthy citizens.