Scrapbook Sunday: Betty Peters Communicants Class Part #3

This is a continuance of my mother’s scrapbook.

My mother Betty Peters (1926-2004) had a really nice red scrapbook that she put together in her Communicants Class;  that included church programs, little booklets of various gospel books of the Bible, news article clippings and things that interested her or were her favorite things.

Every Sunday I will post pages from my mother’s scrapbook & as the pages are falling apart and disintegrating.  The red scrapbook is over 70 years old and she put it together when she was attending St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem.  It was 1940 and my mother was 14 years old.
Many of the lessons my mother learned in her Communicants class at 14 years
Lessons in the Bible my mother’s class studied
Pictures of some of the stories in the Bible
The Calling of Matthew
The arrival to Bethlehem
The Angels announcement to the Shepherds
Communicant Class Letter signed by Wm. Lloyd Imes
There were some other pages of this scrapbook, and once located, I will post.
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

Those Places Thursday: Jazz from Copenhagen, Denmark to San Diego, California

Every year Henry Hodge, my father’s best friend from St. Louis, Missouri would go to Copenhagen for the Jazz Festival, spend time with his girlfriend, and Jazz Artist Friends.

Henry has a collection of the yearly Copenhagen Jazz Festival Postcards, so I decided to post a few of them as there are too many to share.

While in Copenhagen, Henry Hodge met Jazz artists such as Ed Thigpen.  An American drummer that played with Oscar Peterson Trio and many other greats.  Ed moved to Copenhagen in 1972.

Ed Thigpen’s Obituary

Ed Thigpen was born December 28, 1930 and died January 13, 2010.


Richard Boone was another artist my uncle, Henry Hodge met and socialized with in Copenhagen.  Richard Boone was also an American Jazz artist and a Scat singer that moved to Copenhagen.  

Richard Boone was born February 24, 1930 and died February 8, 1999.

More about Richard Boone

My Father Dr. Wally Porter, Richard Boone, Ed Thigpen, Henry Hodge
Photo from the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper
Ed Thigpen & Richard Boone

Ed Thigpen & Richard Boone came to San Diego a few times to visit.  I distinctly remember one Summer when they came to visit Henry Hodge at his home in the the late 80’s.

It was customary for Henry to have a Summer gathering, and these were his special guests.  I was familiar with Ed Thigpen and Richard Boone as I would hear conversations among my parents and Henry.  My father Wally Porter and Henry Hodge had been entertaining jazz artists in their homes through the years, and I am so appreciative that I have been exposed to this.

Ed Thigpen & my mother Betty Porter
Henry Hodge, Richard Boone, unidentified gentleman
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

Sundays Obituary: Betty Mae Peters Porter

My mother Betty Porter had 2 obits in two different newspapers.  Jack Williams, always did an extensive obituary on anyone noteworthy for the San Diego Union-Tribune.  He was offered an early retirement and took it in 2007.  The other Obituary was in the African American Local Newspaper, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.  I thought I would include both as they both are somewhat different.  I believe my mother’s sister-friend Vira Williams wrote the one in the V & V.

Published in SD Voice & Viewpoint
Written by Vira Williams

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, Better 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 shows in New York City.

Betty was an excellent student. She received a dual bachelor’s degree in English an 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 Jeffersons” (starring Sherman Hemsley and Isabelle Sanford).

While in Los Angeles, Betty received her California 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 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 & Talented students at the elementary school level in the 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 always supportive of “Wally’s” numerous activities as she shared forty-four memorable years with him until his death in 2001.  She also enjoyed spending time with her seven grandchildren.

Betty was a member of the San Diego Tema Sister Society, the African Art 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.

Betty Porter leaves to mourn two children, Marshall Porter of Houston, TX,. Yvette Porter-Moore of Spring Valley, CA,. Seven grandchildren, Keith Porter, Vanessa Moore, Michael Moore, Victoria Porter of San Diego, Candice Porter, Kyle Porter & Kayla Porter of Houston, Tx., and a host of family members and friends.  We will miss her great sense of humor and her infectious laugh.  If you look in the sky, you will see two bright, new stars-Betty and Walter porter continuing their eternal party together.

The “Celebration of Lie Services,” will be held, Saturday, January 24, 2004 from 4:00pm-7:00pm at the South Crest Arts Cultural Center, 4120 Alpha Street, San Diego, CA 92113.

In lieu of flowers & cards, donation can be sent to the Walter J. Porter Educational & Community Foundation, 1314 Sangamon Avenue, Spring Valley, CA 91977.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

JANUARY 23, 2004
Section: LOCAL
Edition: 1,2,6,7
Page: B-6


Betty Mae Porter 
educator, writer and civic activist

If Betty Mae Porter hadn’t found her niche teaching gifted and talented children, she might have made her mark as a journalist.

As a dual English and journalism major at New York University in the late 1940s, she had visions of writing for a newspaper. But the racial barriers of the era made it difficult to find a job, said her daughter, Yvette Porter-Moore.

Mrs. Porter turned to elementary education instead, beginning a career that brought her to the San Diego Unified School District in 1969. Before retiring in 1992, she had taught at four schools in the city’s gifted and talented education program.

She died of complications from a stroke Jan. 5 at San Diego Hospice, her daughter said. Mrs. Porter was 77.

A writer for much of her life, Mrs. Porter impressed family and friends with her language skills and her vivid letters, which became a holiday tradition. She had started compiling her memoirs before her death, recording her life story in notes and audio tapes.

“It’s something I might finish as a family project,” her daughter said.

Along with her husband, fellow educator Walter J. Porter, Mrs. Porter was active in several community organizations. Her husband, who died in August 2001, had been dean of the Mid-City Continuing Education Center.

An elementary school bearing his name is scheduled to open in 2005 in southeastern San Diego, his daughter said.

Proud of her African-Amerian heritage, Mrs. Porter served on the African Arts Committee of the San Diego Museum of Art and was active in the San Diego-Tema Sister City Society. The latter was formed to adopt Tema, Ghana, as an African sister city to San Diego.

Mrs. Porter‘s memberships included the Episilon Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

In April, Mrs. Porter was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that had killed her mother. Through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, she regained her health.

“She said she wanted to spend the rest of her life promoting cancer awareness and encouraging women to get mammograms,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Porter, a Del Cerro resident for more than 30 years, was born in New York City.

Growing up in affluent Sugar Hill in northern Manhattan, she co-founded a social club, “149th Street Queens.” Her mother, Agnes Peters, designed fashions for a celebrity clientele that included Marian Anderson, Bette Davis, Barbara Rush and Joan Crawford.

Mrs. Porter often modeled her mother’s fashions in New York City before moving to Los Angeles. Although her roots were on the East Coast, she had an aunt in Los Angeles, Zara Cully Brown, an actress who played the role of the feisty Mother Jefferson in “The Jeffersons” TV series.

While living in Los Angeles, Mrs. Porter earned a California teaching credential at Los Angeles State College and a master’s degree in multicultural education at Pepperdine University.

She began her teaching career at Rosewood Elementary School in Los Angeles. After moving to San Diego, she taught at various times at Encanto Elementary, Stockton Elementary, Sunset View Elementary and Lindbergh-Schweitzer Elementary.

Survivors include her daughter, Yvette Porter-Moore of Spring Valley; son, Marshall Porter of Houston; and seven grandchildren.

A celebration of life is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at Southcrest Arts and Cultural Center, 4120 Alpha St., San Diego.

Donations are suggested to the Walter J. Porter Educational & Community Foundation, 1314 Sangamon Ave., Spring Valley, CA 91977.

Jack Williams

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

Family Friends Friday: Dolores D. Wharton “Duncan”

     Family Friends Friday is a prompt that highlights friends who have contributed to the history of our family, ancestors and their decedents.  Our families are not on an island of their own, and I believe that understanding the lives of their friends, gives opportunity to understanding and appreciating our own families.  As we have seen, sometimes our friends are closer than family, and many times this is where we get our stories.

Clifton & Dolores Wharton, Betty & Walter Porter
Visit to the White House

     I wrote one of my mother’s dearest childhood friends, Dolores “Duncan” Wharton, requesting to have the opportunity to interview her during my family research trip in New York.  My request was graciously accepted. I had the opportunity to meet with Dolores along with my daughter Vanessa at her NY apartment.  Our meeting was an unforgettable occasion.

     When we arrived, we were greeted at the entrance by a doorman, and led to the front desk.  Once the receptionist cleared us we were directed to the Wharton’s apartment.  As we rang the bell, Dolores a stunning woman whose years have been good to her opened the door and greeted us with hugs and welcomed us inside.  Dolores handed me an envelope which revealed a 3 page letter, then escorted us to her elegant living room which showed off wall to wall white carpeting, and furniture to match.  Dolores directed us, “You sit here and read the letter I prepared for you while Vanessa and I talk about her future plans.  Clifton and I are leaving for our other home this afternoon, as we do every year staying until the winter.  I think this letter will be more helpful to you and then we can spend some time visiting and not worrying about interviewing as we are short on time.”  With that, I agreed and read my letter.

Dolores & Betty visit in New York

Dolores writes….
(pg #1)

June 10, 2010

I am pleased to respond to your inquiry regarding my impressions of your Mother, Betty Peters Porter, during our lovely old friendship, the basis of which goes back some 65 years!  Given my now 80-plus years my details have long been forgotten.  But herewith lies the essence of our friendship as I remember it today.

We were introduced in Marian Anderson’s home, Mariana Farms in Danbury Connecticut.  Betty had accompanied her Mother, Agnes Peters, a most prominent New York City seamstress, who was there for several days to remodel some of Miss Anderson’s concert gowns.  My family was neighbors of Miss Anderson and her husband, Orpheus “Razzle” Fisher.  My mother knew both quite well–Miss Anderson in high school and Mr. Fisher socially as teens back in the old Philadelphia days with its community of prominent Black families.

Betty and I clicked instantly!  My invitation to Betty to visit me at our home on Lake Kenosia some five miles away was the beginning of one long, extended conversation that continued for decades.  During subsequent trips when Betty’s mother, “Auntie Peters,” returned to Danbury to sew for Miss Anderson, Betty would come along to spend over nights in my home where we two young teens discussed how we might tackle the pursuit of happiness in a complex world.

A couple of years followed with Betty studying at NYU as I was preparing to begin my freshman year at the college.  She was rich with advice for my arrival at the Washington Square campus.  We met occasionally on and off campus for lunch where we compared notes on our respective classes, classmates, and university life in general.  With our residences located in different parts of the City, our travels to and from NYU rarely overlapped.  Betty lived in Manhattan’s “Sugar Hill” and I on the Grand Concourse, a major boulevard in the upper Bronx. I boarded with a Jewish couple whose son was a treasured friend of my family and author of children’s books.  But when my Mom was in New York from Danbury to have Auntie Peters make some costumes for her, I popped in to see her at the Peter’s studio/apartment where, thereafter, I was always fondly welcomed. That visit was the beginning of another episode for Betty and me to continue our extensive conversation.

(Pg #2)

Agnes Peters was in many ways a magician in accommodating her small apartment as an embracing home for her adored daughter, Betty, as well as a working studio where she grew a vibrant business.  She was in huge demand among her clients.  “The ladies” were everyone, women of considerable wealth and achievement–teachers, lawyers, performers, wives of millionaire husbands.  Agnes Peters had been gifted with the genius to design and fashion wonderful clothes.  Without any patterns to guide, her scissors would fly swiftly through handsome fabrics to create amazing suits, coats, and dresses for her famous clients.  I once asked Auntie Peters how she cut so perfectly without any pattern.  In her always softly toned voice, she said, “I don’t know’ I suppose I just do it instinctively.”  the apartment hummed with sounds of sewing machines and Betty’s and her friends’ chatter and laughter to “swing” music in the background.

Now, within this lively environment Betty grew and stretched into a tall (at least 5′ 7″), slender, winsome young lady.  Were I to combine several celebrity personalities to capture Betty’s multi-faceted self, it would be:

1. The movie star Rosalind Russell for her sophisticated, stylish, and delightfully quick tongue.

2. Bea Arthur of “The Golden Girls” fame who always portrayed a mature, comically frank, and a woman genuinely dedicated to friends and colleagues.

3. Whoopi Goldberg–minus her vulgarity–in expressing anger over the hurdles confronting racial intolerance in America with the ability to “tell it like it is!”

Given the characteristics of these colorful analogous types our conversations flourished!  We considered the trials and tribulations of politics, the advantages of the GI Bill for veterans returning from World War II, modern dance-we both attended evening classes in a school in midtown Manhattan called the New Dance Group, modern art, health care, foods, and certainly the best and worse of the young men in our respective lives.

Page #3

Then, not unexpected, time and events changed the dialogue.  Given my totally engaging marriage with my valiant prince and life-time hero coupled with our travels to different worlds in and out of the United States, our conversation shifted accordingly.

Over the years we were consistent in making the effort to stay in touch.  On one return trip from our home in Singapore our travel plans were arranged to have us change planes in Los Angeles allowing for a quick visit with the recently wedded Porters.  Clif and Walter took six year old Clifton 3rd to Disney Land. Betty and I chatted quietly while eighteen month old Bruce napped before our ongoing flight to Boston.  During a second trip to southern California, I took a break from a Phillips Petroleum Board meeting in San Diego to drive to the Porter residence where we met you, Yvette.  You were almost–if not–a teenager by that time.  Your Mom called you out of your garden pool to meet Cif and me.  You were off to an engagement so our time with you was brief.  These were all charmed moments within your home.

Me in front
(from L to R) Dolores and Clifton Wharton
Betty and Walter Porter

Then for Clif’s and my fiftieth wedding anniversary, Betty and Walter paid us a huge compliment by flying to New York specifically for the occasion.  Separate from the anniversary festivities Betty, Walter, Clif and I enjoyed several delightful outings in the City.  These were the last celebrations we had together.  Walter died, and Betty not long after having suffered from terminal cancer.  I am left with memories of a steadfast and unique friendship shared with a dear old buddy.  It is a pleasure to think back on these times.  Your mother was a highly intelligent, highly principled individual who spoke easily to her concerns about society.  Our times together were filled with fun and substance.  It is splendid of you to research a study in Betty’s name.  Surely she would be very proud to have you do so.

I hope this letter is helpful.



Who are the Wharton’s?  Click on link to left (National Visionary Leadership Project)

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

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