Jan 24, 2021
A lover of God, people, and history, Mary McLean Dowdell has
dedicated her life to making sure that the untold stories of her
family are now being made available for the world to read.
Mary is a resident of Greensboro, NC. She is also the
author of Brick to Brick: Building a Black Family in America. The
inspiration behind the book came from her own family history and
Mary says she wrote the book to give the history of her
After her parents, Neil and Iva McLean, were married, they
returned to a small town in Eastern North Carolina called Brick.
The American Missionary Association had already established life
centers where black people or freed slaves could learn how to
achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. Her parents were sent to
gather people and assume leadership of the center that was in
Once her parents took over the center, they worked to teach
black people basic skills to improve their everyday lives. Mary
shares that one of the things they taught them was farming.
Although they knew how to take care of a farm, they didn’t know
about the decisions when it came to selling produce. Her parents
taught them about leadership and the economics of the farm. They
also taught them about owning property, home management, and home
Mary believes black people should tell their history.
There are all kinds of books about what other people do but not a
lot about what we do or have done.
The second part of the book tells the story of Mary herself as
well as her siblings, as a product of her parents. She wanted to
include what happened to her parent’s children. So, she had
her oldest brother write something and she also gave all of her
siblings the opportunity to write. She even has something in
the book about her siblings who have died.
Mary is also an Evangelist Missionary and serves at Evangel
Fellowship Church of God in Christ. She is a recent PhD graduate at
the age of 73, and the mother of three adult children and the
grandmother of five children.
Mary believes that despite who you are or what you look like,
the possibilities are endless. She also does not believe in
limitations of age. She says, “Look at who you are. Look at what
your world view is and what your self-view is. You see testimonies
every day of people doing great things. We are all born empty
slates and have the same potential to achieve something
You may also follow her Facebook by putting her name, or Life
Success by Dowdell in your search box.
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To learn more about It's My Turn Now, Care Giving 101, and to
purchase a copy of the book, please visit their website at www.revodellcleveland.com
You may also contact Odell Cleveland directly at 336-895-8995