From Jacksonville: Zara Cully Brown

I made travels to New York in 2010 and copied pages and pages of articles, advertisements and announcements that pertained to various ancestors.

Some of these ancestors I knew, and some I did not..and for some, I was fortunate to hear stories about them.  I however knew my Aunt Zara.  She was an actress in Hollywood and played Mother Jefferson on the “Jefferson’s”.  I  was 10 years old when she died.  I didn’t  know the early life of Zara as she was born in the 1890’s…so piecing the puzzle together, and putting skin on the bones of who she was has been most rewarding.

Here is an article written in the Chicago Defender (National Editon) on December 24, 1927 where my maternal Great Aunt, Zara Cully Brown is mentioned.


[Transcribed Top portion]



The presentation of Damon and Pythias was a great success recently in Jacksonville, Fla.  The participants did their parts well and the huge audience showed their appreciation by heartily applauding.

Dr. R. L. Brown, one of the leading physicians of the town and a very able dramatic actor, did the role of Damon and really was at his best.

Miss Thomas cleverly did the part of Calanthe and  Mr. Hines as Pythias was perfect in casting.

The play was elegantly costumed and was abundant with scenic splendors.  The presentation was ably directed by Mrs. Zara Cully Brown.



In the article above, Zara Cully Brown is a participant as a dramatic reader at the St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem, New York.  This is the church my mother was a member of and had her confirmation here.  I visited this church in April 2010.  The Church was amazing!

I could sense my ancestors as I walked and worshiped in the very place they acted out their weekly routines.  Zara was a dramatic reader in Worcester, MA, in Florida, and she continued doing this in New York in December of 1939.  Zara also was faithful to helping others that were sick and shut-in.

I have so many articles to share and will continue to do so.  If you are interested in seeing more, you can go to the Category “Family and Friends in the News” under the Picture Tab.


Designers Inspect Fall Embroidery

Here is another article with my Grandmother Agnes C. Peters inspecting embroidery with some of her other fashion friends.

New York Amsterdam News
August 12, 1950


Agnes Peters, Mary Lou Chandler, Annie Grantland and Jean Moore, four well-known person in fashion circles study display prepared by National Hand Embroidery and Novelty Manufacturing Association for Verta Hayes show at Tavern-On-The Green.



Sponsor Fashion Show: Agnes Cully Peters

Agnes Cully Peters was my maternal Grandmother. She was a fashion designer in New York City. This is one of the many newspaper advertisements/newspaper articles that I have come across.


Sponsor Fashion Show:

Fashions of 1951 will be presented Sunday evening, Dec. 17, at Renaissance Ballroom by Madeline’s Beauty Salon and a Committee of Citizens.  The affair is a benefit for the New York Baptist Home For The Aged.

Among the exhibitors will be Mary Lou Chandler, Margaret Pegues Floyd, Agnes Cully Peters, Zelda Valdez, Spencer Flournoy, Arthur Smith, Nele Cuyjet.

*[Zelda Valdez (1905-2001) was also known as Zelda Wynn Valdez.  She was the first African American fashion designer to own her clothing shop in New York City.]

Wordless Wednesday: Bill Greene in the Newspaper

During the first half of Black History Month, ProQuest opened up its Black History Collection for those interested in researching their database.  I found this article in the paper of my Godfather Bill Greene, who had been a Freedom Rider, A fighter for justice, and California State Legislature for 25 years.  He died in December 2002 at the age of 72.

Peters In the Newspaper, Part #2

This post is a continued effort to share all of the Peter’s Family Newspaper articles that I discovered in Washington, D.C. newspapers of my Great Grand Uncle’s (Yancey D. Peters) immediate family.
I have transcribed the following article below and bolded my cousins names.  In this article Alice and Carlotta Peters (sisters) were performing in Mrs. Norma’s Recital playing the piano.
At the time of this article Alice was (20) and Carlotta was (15)  They are my 1st Cousins 2x removed.
Mrs. Norman’s Recital
Observations by her Pupils
Washington Bee
26 June 1915
Pg. 4
Observations by Her Pupils,
Editor of The Bee:
     I wish to state in regard to the comments given by you concerning the musicale last Wednesday evening June 16th, was very timely and appropriate and as there were some very excellent points in each one of my pupils’ performance as well as his general standing in his class.  I thought it well to mention these through the columns of your very excellent paper-The Bee.
     Miss Beatrice Carted I consider one of my best pupils on relaxation and good technique.
     Clifton Jackson on memorizing; Miss Alice Peters on technique and brilliancy in playing.
     Miss Claudine Peace is well balanced in each of her five studies, notation, hand culture, piano selections and studies, technique and harmony.
     Miss Priscilla Jones, techniques, rhythm and phrasing.
     Miss Ollie Cooper in making the most rapid progress in all branches, considering the length of time she has taken.  Miss Minnie Jackson in doing things very well, Excellency in notation and writing music.  Miss Carlotta Peters in producing a beautiful pearly touch, excellency in technique.
Miss Pearl Datcher, excellency in rhythm, relaxation and touch, blessed with an admirable hand, strong, supple and well shaped, spendidly adapted for good piano playing.  Mis Daisy Burroughs, excellency in notation, dictation and harmony.
     The small children all did well.  Their qualifications are as follows:
     Velma Blake, excellency in memorizing, technique and hand culture.
     Alma Ruffin, very excellent in notation and written work.
     Dorothy Cole, a well-balanced pupil.
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