Mable grew up in the frequently flooded neighborhood of Moro Park in Ensley. During her childhood her father raised their house several feet to get above the flood line. In the early 1950s her family even had to bring their cow up onto the front porch during a flood.
Mable attended Councill Elementary School and Parker High School. She went on to complete a bachelor's degree in sociology at Tuskegee Institute, a master's in supervision at Michigan State University, and a doctorate in developmental psychology at Penn State University. She was the first female African-American professor at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and at the State College of Arkansas in Conway.
After retiring in 1977 she returned to Birmingham. She helped organize efforts to get federal assistance to move residents out of flood-prone areas. She founded the Village Creek Human and Environmental Justice Society in 1980. She and Richard S. Woodruff worked together in community clean-up efforts to keep the stream flowing.