Annie O’Berry, New Deal Administrator

Annie O'Berry

Image from the State Archives

On February 4, 1944, Annie Land O’Berry, administrator of the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration , or NCERA, and president of the Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, died while undergoing treatment for an illness. Born in Edgecombe County in 1885, she lived on the family farm there until she was sent her to live with her sister in Littleton after her parents’ deaths.

She graduated first in her class from what is now Peace College in Raleigh, and went to live with her brother in Kinston. Active in civic organizations and the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs, O’Berry demonstrated leadership that garnered the attention of Governor Angus McLean, who appointed her to the Commission to Study County Government and the North Carolina Historical Commission. In 1930, she was named vice-chair of the state executive committee of the Democratic Party.

In 1933, O’Berry was tapped to serve as head of the NCERA. She was one of the few women to administer a state emergency relief agency. As head of NCERA, she provided relief to many citizens through direct aid and employment. She remained in charge of the off-shoot Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, which provided loans to farmers, until her death.

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