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Marie Mathis (1910 - 2005) was born and raised on a sharecropper’s farm near Greenwood, South Carolina, then moved north to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with her parents in the early 1920s. Three years later they moved to Philadelphia. There, Mathis, then sixteen, dropped out of school to help support her family. Rather than do domestic work, she worked in tobacco factories for nine years and then in clothing factories until her retirement.