In 1886 the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, under the leadership of the group's secretary the Rev. Richard Allen, began planning for the establishment of a black girls' school in Texas. After a statewide survey, they chose Crockett as the school site because of the area's large black population and because of a local black parochial school operated by the Rev. Samuel Fisher Tenny, pastor of the city's First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Allen's wife Mary, for whom the school was named, was instrumental in raising the organizational funds for the new seminary.
Dr. Byrd R. Smith became the school's first black president in 1924 and initiated a period of growth which included the adoption of new programs and the admission of male students. Transferred to the Missionary General Baptist Convention of Texas in 1944, Mary Allen College became a 4-year liberal arts institution. In 1972, plagued by a series of legal and financial setbacks, the school closed.
Once the site of a 12-building campus and the home of a noted academic program of quality education and religion, this site serves as a reminder of the proud heritage of Texas' black population.