Maud Cuney-Hare


Written by Cynthia J. Beeman
Read by Lulu Flores

Talented musician, writer, and activist Maud Cuney-Hare, who rose to prominence in the Northeast, was heavily influenced by her Texas heritage. Born in Galveston in 1874, she was the daughter of Adelina and Norris Wright Cuney, one of the state’s most influential African-American politicians and civil rights leaders of the post-Civil War era. She grew up in an upper-class home filled with music and literature, and after graduating from high school studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. When white students tried to have her barred from living on campus, she stood her ground and won the right to remain in her dormitory. She cultivated relationships with prominent black leaders, including W.E.B. DuBois, to whom she was briefly engaged and with whom she remained close both personally and professionally throughout her life. 

She returned to Texas in the late 1890s when her parents fell ill, and taught in Austin and Prairie View for a time, but eventually returned to Boston. She married William Hare in 1906, and traveled extensively in the Caribbean researching the roots of African American music. Her work as a folklorist and musicologist was widely respected, and she was the author of numerous articles and books, including a biography of her father and the seminal work Negro Musicians and their Music, published shortly after her death in 1936. She is buried next to her parents in Galveston’s Lake View Cemetery.


Douglas Hales, A Southern Family in White and Black: The Cuneys of Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University  Press, 2003.

Judith N. McArthur, "Cuney-Hare, Maud," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed January 06, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Audio Source Information

Our project, "Texas Women's History Moments," received the 2012 National Council on Public History Outstanding Public History Award and the American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Award. The audio clips were broadcast on KUT radio from 2011-2016 during Women’s History Month.