Beatrice Francine Delany

Beatrice Francine Delaney was an instrumental leader in Asheville’s public school system. She was born in 1937 in New York City, and eventually settled in Asheville. Her career in education began when she started working as a secretary to Arthur R. Edington, principal of Livingston Street Elementary School. Livingston Street Elementary was one of seven public schools for African American children in Asheville before integration.  After some time, she began working as a teachers’ assistant when a position opened up. With encouragement from Mr. Edington, and her husband, Logan Delany Sr., she decided to pursue a degree in elementary education. In the book by Helen Mosley-Edington, Angels Unaware, she describes her inspiration to become and educator: “My chosen profession, working with children, was fueled by my desire to help children.”1Moseley-Edington, Helen. Angels Unaware: Asheville Women of Color. Asheville, NC: Home Press 1996

She received her bachelor’s degree  in 1966, as the first African American graduate from Asheville-Biltmore College, which would later become UNCA. She then went on to obtain her Master’s in Administration from Western Carolina University. Delany was later promoted to Curriculum Supervisor at the Asheville City Schools central office. During all this time advancing her education and career, she was a mother to four children, the oldest of which came from her husband’s previous marriage.  Logan Delany Sr. supported his wife in her educational and career endeavors by stepping in as a parent and caretaker, a role that many men of the time would not have assumed. Her passion and drive for higher learning were rooted in her experiences as an African American, 

“We must remember that the framers of  the U.S. Constitution set laws in place that made black people hold an inferior social, political, and economic position in the country for a long time. Education is the key to our survival and acceptance as equals. Hatred and bitterness have to be replaced by love and trust if our country is to prosper and survive.”2Moseley-Edington, Helen. Angels Unaware: Asheville Women of Color. Asheville, NC: Home Press 1996

Her ambition led her to the role of principal at Isaac Dickson Elementary School3Frazier, Kevan P. Legendary Locals of Asheville, North Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina. Arcadia Publishing, 2014., and eventually the magnet schools coordinator for Asheville City Schools. In 1992 Beatrice Francine Delany was a grandmother and had gained a well respected reputation in the Asheville community for her talents and contributions. At the age of 55, while pursuing her doctorate, she suffered a brief illness and died.

Beatrice Francine Delany’s list of awards and civic engagements is vast, and it weaves a narrative of her values and her significance in the landscape of Asheville’s public education system. The following is an account of those achievements:

  • Member of St. Matthias Episcopal Church
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the United Way
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Asheville Art Museum
  • State President of the North Carolina Association for Supervisors and Curriculum Development
  • Received a Certificate of Recognition from the Board of Directors at the YMI Cultural Center  
  • The Francine M. Delany Alumni Award for Service to the Community is awarded annually to an alumnus/ai of UNCA
  • 1973, awarded “Outstanding Young Educator” by the Asheville Jaycees, while teaching at Vance elementary
  • 1979-1981, and 1991, until her death in June 1992, was a member of the UNCA Board of Trustees
  • 1981, appointed to the State Textbook Commission
  • 1981-1987, she was a member of the UNC Asheville Foundation Board
  • 1983, Delany received a certificate of Recognition by the Asheville-Buncombe commission on the status of women for her service on the commission board from 1981-1983
  • 1985, awarded the Very Special Arts Festival Program Plaque by the State Department of Public Instruction, Division for Exceptional Children
  • 1989, Woman of Distinction Award from the Quota, Soroptimist, Zonda, and Altrusia clubs
  • 1992, parents, staff, and students of Isaac Dickson Elementary School honored her with a dedicated chair at the Diana wortham Theatre
  • 1992, UNCA established a Special Minority Fund in her honor
  • 1993, she was posthumously awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion