Betty Mae Peters Journal: Day #6 & Day #7

Eva, Agnes Cully Peters and Betty Peters, Sept 1936

This is a continued project to transcribe my mother’s journal from 1942, when she was 15 years old.

Page #37 (bottom)
February 14, 1942
Page 37

2. The fella named Richard who goes to Manhattan College and has a physique better than Vic Matures.  (I met R. over at Barbara’s and I shall investigate him further).  I don’t know his last name _______ yet!
3. The mysterious Russian who was at Gladys Scott’s party.  Who plays the drums (but fine) is the school….

Page # 38

Page 38

…orchestra and who is a monitor at the staircase the same period that Charmaine and I have lunch (ow!)  I hope Leon (Charmaine’s brother) was right in telling her she didn’t have a chance.  Oh well.  Red always was my favorite color.
I must-oh I must ruin one of these 3 cases-if not all!  Remember 3 and 6 are my lucky numbers.
Lloyd Rogers really likes me.  He wants to come to see me.  Too bad, too bad.  He is so far from nowhere that it would take me from now to Judgement day to count the miles of distance  (ouch!)

Page # 39
March 1, 1942

Page 39

 The March winds have blown hard luck into our little home.  Mother is sick again.  She had another tumor attack Friday when I was in school. (Incidentally, this was the day Ruthie and I walked home from G.W. Ah! Energy).  When I got in, Mother was asleep but in a very bad condition.  Dr. Dolly (recommended by Chambers) came last night.  He’s swell, knows his business to a “T”.  He told Mommie she has inflamed tumors and that her condition is very serious.  She will have to go to the hospital very soon.  He wants her to go either to St. Lukes or Roosevelt, not Medical…

Page #40

Page 40

…Center.  I’ve been doing my best to nurse her, and believe it or not, I (little me) seem to be doing some good.  I pray to God that she’ll be well soon.  Others who are sort of looking after Mommie are (besides Unkie of course). Chambers, Lottie, Hicks, Aunt Vi & Uncle Wen.  Mary Lee, Arleen Teague & Wendell, Liz, and countless other’s have been to see her.  We certainly have some swell friends.

The March winds have blown good luck into our little home.  This wee I received my “Scholarship Certificate” for getting an 85% average last term (3rd Term High)  I hope to get another one this term.

Page #41

Page 41

 I have met Dorothy McGuire.  She’s lovely.  She, Bertha, and the whole “Claudia’s” show are leaving N.Y. the seventh of this month for a tour.  They’ll be back soon though.
Well pals and gals, James Brown Jr. (alias Auntie’s son Jimmie) is a Put in this man’s army. And boy did they rush him.  One afternoon about a month ago, he decided (that is the family decided) that the best thing would be for him to registrar, (because the negro draftees are treated just like dogs in the south). So at 11 o’clock A.M. He registered at the nearest Post Office.  They looked over his papers and…

Page #42

Page 42

…and told him to go home and be back by 1 o’clock PM.  When he returned they had him take a million tests.  He was though at 6 o’clock P.M.  They told him to go home and be on the train (bound for the nearest camp) that left Jacksonville at 11:30 P.M.  Yes, “dear readers” they had him out of Jacksonville exactly 12 1/2 hours after he registered!  If that isn’t the stinkiest piece of hi-jacking I ever heard of then I ain’t no-where at all!
Well no Jimmie’s at Fort Bragg.  That’s the place where the cracker M.P. shot five negroes (puts) and no one did a thing about it. Oh joy! oh happy day!
Auntie wrote and asked…

Page 43 (top)

Page 43 Top

…us to keep in touch with Jimmie so I have thus far written him two letters.  He has answered both.  I find him very interesting and I think that through our correspondence we are going to be great friends.  I hope so!
Last Saturday nit, Gwennie had one of the finest parties I have been to in ages.  It was a killah!  I was mobbed by the opposite sex and loved it!

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Betty Mae [Wilson] Peters – Wordless Wednesday

Betty Mae [Wilson] Peters was born on 25 Dec 1865 in Spencer, Henry VA and died on 25 Feb 1952 in Sistersville, Tyler County, West Virginia.  This was my Grandfather, Charles Irving Peters’ mother.  My mother Betty was named after her grandmother.  Betty Wilson was Native American and White. 

Betty Mae [Wilson] Peters, Agnes Cully Peters & Betty Mae Peters(2.5yrs)

(left) Betty Mae [Wilson] Peters and her sisters

These photo’s were in my mother’s collection, which were handed down to me in 2004.

Amanuensis Monday: Newspaper Articles Agnes Cully Peters (My Grandmother)

My Grandmother Agnes Cully Peters was a Fashion Designer in Harlem, New York. I grew up knowing this fact about my Grandmother, that she sewed for Marian Anderson and other well known performers, but the only hard evidence that I had was my Mother’s stories, and a couple of pictures.

When I went on my Family History Research Trip to Harlem, one of the first places I went was the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I immediately went searching for any and all articles on my family and their very close friends.  I had great success!  Below are a few articles of documentation.

New York Amsterdam News, Nov. 18, 1939
Marian Anderson’s Modiste
MARIAN ANDERSON, America’s Number 1 contralto, has engaged
Mrs. Agnes Cully Peters, Modiste, of 460 West 147th Street, to
design an make her clothes for a year.  For a long time the singer has
had many of the European experts to attend to that important detail
for her and they certainly have done an excellent job.  However, since
she could not go abroad this season, Miss Anderson has decide to
give that job to one of her own race-and she should be commended
for doing so.

(Modiste, a maker of fashionable clothing and accessories, with the implication that the articles made reflect the current Parisfashions.)

The article above stated that Agnes would design Marian’s clothes for a year, but she did many years after, and through the 1950’s.  Below is another article dated in 1949.
MARIAN ANDERSON, best dressed women, is proud no end of the talents of Agnes Cully Peters who designs all of her street clothes. She considers Agnes a blessing to keep her in style since she has so little time for shopping. Miss Anderson will be a guest of honor when Agnes stages her “New Look” fashion show at the Club Sudan on the 23rd……

Historical Research Trip To Sugar Hill, Harlem, New York

 Life on Sugar Hill
I am writing my mother’s memoirs of “Sugar Hill” New York between 1926 and 1950. It is a story written from a daughter’s perspective.
Betty Peters-1929 Photo by D’Laigle

Currently I am researching the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, and will raise-the-bar of my research by visiting New York this June 2010.  My daughter Vanessa will go with me, as she is my official photographer and will document our footprints.  We will be staying in a local Bed & Breakfast which is located two blocks from the actual Apartments my mother lived. This will allow me to walk the streets my mother walked and breathe in the culture of Harlem that my mother knew so well.

Betty Mae Peters, 16 yrs old

When I was a little girl, my mother recorded her life stories of New York and the background of her family history on tape.  She would tell me that she was writing a book, but never got around to finishing her project. This is why I feel the strong need to finish her book, even though there is so much that has been taken with her in death.  For this very reason, we should never put off what we can do today.

My mother, Betty Mae Peters Porter was born in New York City on November 17, 1926 to Agnes Cully and Charles I. Peters. She was an only child. Betty grew up in the “Sugar Hill” area of New York City where she attended George Washington High School.  Always an organizer and socialite, Betty and her life time friend, Marilyn “Mickey” Sullivan formed and belonged to a club during their childhood called the “149 Street Queens.”
Her mother, Agnes, was a well known seamstress and fashion designer. Her clients included Marian Anderson, Betty Davis, Barbara Rush, Joan Crawford and other celebrities. Betty often modeled in her mother’s fashion show in New York City.
Marian Anderson and My Grandmother Agnes Cully Peters.  My Grandmother was her personal fashion designer
Betty was always an excellent student. She received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism from New York University in 1947. Her skills and clever talents in writing were evident in her unique holiday letters received by friends and relatives. Betty and her mother moved to Los Angeles, where her Aunt Zara Cully Brown was an actress, also known as “Mother Jefferson” in the television sitcom “The Jefferson’s” (staring Sherman Hensley, and Isabelle Sanford.)
My Great Aunt Zara Cully Brown

While in Los Angeles, Betty received her CA teaching credential from Los Angeles State College, and attended Pepperdine University, where she received her Master of Arts degree in Multicultural Education. Betty became very popular and active in the social and political circles of the Los Angeles Community. Betty taught at Rosewood Elementary School and later founded the Friendship Guild where she was president. This was an elite organization of women who remained as Betty’s dearest friends throughout her life.

In 1957, Betty met and married the late Dr. Walter J. Porter. They moved to San Diego, CA in 1969, and became very active in the field of education, musical and civic affairs. They also became the proud parents of two loving children. Betty taught classes for the Gifted and Talented Students at the elementary school level in San Diego City Schools for many years, retiring in 1992. She was an avid reader, and an excellent cook. A “gathering” at the Porter household was always a special treat. She was very supportive of “Wally’s” numerous activities as she shared forty-four memorable years with him until hes death in 2001. She also enjoyed spending time with her seven grandchildren.
Betty was a member of the San Diego -Tema Sister City Society, the African Arts Committee, The Chapel of Awareness in Encinitas and was an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Silver Star, (Epsilon Xi Omega Chapter). Betty was a breast cancer survivor who tried to impress on others the importance of yearly exams. She suffered a massive stroke on Christmas Eve, which took her life.

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011