The grandchild of slaves, Annie Mae Hunt was born in 1909 near Brenham. She picked cotton near Navasota for 50 cents a day in conditions she compared to slavery times. She received a fifth grade education and married at age 15. But she later left her husband and moved to Dallas with her three children, where she met and married Marvin Hunt. Without access to birth control, Hunt had 20 children. She lost seven of them.
Hunt earned a living as a domestic worker and sold handmade pies and Avon cosmetics. She bought her own house and retired to an active life in Democratic Party politics that took her to Jimmy Carter’s inauguration.
The historian Ruthe Winegarten published Hunt’s oral history in 1983. Called “I am Annie Mae,” the book sold 1,000 copies and was later made into a musical. Through the spread of her story, Hunt became a celebrity, enjoying what she called “being a queen bee.” She died in 2003, survived by her husband and 69 descendants.
This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas.