Mary Dickens was a Waterloo community activist and poet. Born August 20, 1925, Dickens grew up in Greenwood, Mississippi and spent 23 years in Chicago before moving to Waterloo in 1974. Her community involvement began in Chicago when she organized community residents and worked with mayor Richard Daley to get a swimming pool for their neighborhood. In Waterloo, she volunteered at four nursing homes and was active in Habitat for Humanity, Operation Threshold, Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA,) Waterloo Women's Civic Club, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the United Methodist Church, among other organizations. She headed Waterloo's National Night Out celebration for several years. Dickens's service to her community also included baking her famous pies and other treats for area shut-ins, school children, and the Salvation Army.