Harlem-Sugar Hill, New York Family Research Trip

This is the first trip I took to dig a little deeper into the life of my mother and her parents.  The trip was life-changing for me. Here is a slide show presentation that I did for research group, “The African American Genealogical Research Group.”  It is very long, but I hope you enjoy it.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan
Photo from Time.com



 A treasure is a thing or a person highly valued.  I believe that what is considered valuable may vary from one person to another.  I have been on this long journey to learn more about my mother, and in doing so, I have been reaching out to people I would not normally contact.  One of those such persons was Alan Greenspan.  Alan Greenspan is the former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board, which oversees the Federal Reserve Bank from 1987 until 2006.  


Before I went to New York for my research trip, I was interested in learning more about my mother’s High School. My mother attended George Washington High School located in the neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan, NY.  So as I was searching the internet, I came across Wikipedia that had a listing of noted individuals that attended GW High.  On the list was Henry Kissinger, Harry Belafonte and Alan Greenspan.  I had remembered my mother stating that she attended the same school with Alan, but she was not too keen on him, so I did not push her.  


So, I decided to locate Alan Greenspan, and this is the transcribed letter I wrote him:


September 7, 2009


Mr. Alan Greenspan
Greenspan Associates
Washington DC 20036


Mr. Greenspan:


My name is Yvette Porter Moore and I am doing research for a book that incorporates some of the writings of my late mother, Betty Mae Peters who was born in Manhattan, New York in 1926.  She grew up in the Sugar Hill area to to 1950 at which time she moved to Los Angeles.  My mother attended Washington High School and was a graduate of NYU.


During my research for the book, I discovered that you were born in 1926, raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood and also attended the same schools as my mother.  These little known facts really intrigued me, and this is when I read a short biography about you online.  My mother spoke of the cultures that resided in the neighborhood.  I remember her telling me she went to school where it was predominately Jewish.  I could truly see the cultural influences of her upbringing as I was exposed to Kosher foods growing up and also lived in a predominately Jewish neighborhood in San Diego, California.  My mother was fond of the Jewish culture.


My mother also stated that she resided in “Sugar Hill” and that it was considered a posh African American neighborhood that has deep historical roots during the period of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve also read her journal that made mention of World War II, and the Air Raid drills that occurred in New York.  My mother was going to write a book of her memoirs in Manhattan, but she died before her dream was realized.  As her daughter, it is my desire to writer her story.


This is why I have written you this letter.  I humbly come to you requesting that you would share with me, from your perspective what Manhattan was like growing up.  What were the race relations between the Jews and the Blacks during the 30’s 40’s and early 50’s?  I would like to know what the environmental landscape was in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  I understand that we may never meet but anything you can share with me would not only be wonderful, but I would be eternally grateful to you.


I am including my mother’s obituary in hopes that you will feel compelled to write me back personally or possibly call me. [Contact info removed for privacy].  If you would like to meet in person, please also let me know so I can arrange my travel. I appreciate anything that you can do to help.


Humbly Written,


Yvette Porter Moore


Mr Greenspan responded to my request quickly:

September 18, 2009
Dear Ms. Moore,
Your letter brought back many memories.  I wish I had the time to sit back and chat about my growing in Washington Heights, but my schedule is so tight that I am unable.
My best wishes on your project


Sincerely yours,
Alan Greenspan 

Even though he graciously declined my opportunity to interview him, I decided to read his books.  By doing so, I learned as much as I would have if I had the chance to speak with him.  I feel that this note is treasure for my chest as he still gave me well wishes for my continuing project, (this is how I took it) because no matter how disappointed I was, he did respond back to me.

Copyright
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 Peters Diary-January 2, 1942, Amanuensis Monday

Betty Mae Peters 1942 in NY

I have decided that I will transcribe my mother Betty Peter’s Diary Dated in 1942 as the pages are starting to get old, and they are getting harder to read.
There may be incidences in this journal that might not be politically correct, but the historical time and context  must be taken into consideration. Terms, and sayings may also have different connotations today than yesterday. (ypm)

Anything posted and written from these pages are Copyright protected. Any portion used must be given permission from the Porter Family Estate.

Journal written in a Sterling Note Book
Everything is © copyright protected, and one must get permission to use any reference to this journal by Yvette Porter Moore or the Estate of Betty Porter.

Property of: Betty Peters
460 W. 147th Street, Apt. 63
City of New York, U.S.A

January 2, 1942

 Page #1

Pg 1

As I sit here, I am writing with the “Eversharp” fountain pen that “Unkie” gave me this past X’mas. It is the grandest pen I have ever had. (Costing exactly $8.75) If I ever lend it to anyone, then I’m a bigger fool than you are “Gunga Din.” I am fifteen years old. My birthday is on November 17. I was born in New York City and have graduated from the following schools.

1. P.S. 186 Manhattan
2. J.H.S. 164 or Edward W. Stitt Jr. H. School.

My favorite teachers in P.S. 186 were: Miss Stiber (my cousin), Mr. Shumann, and Miss Kitchelt (whom I had for 2 yrs straight.)

Page #2

Pg 2

 

In “Stitt” my favorites were:

Miss Muller-History I
Mrs. Turner-Art (A friend of Mom’s)
Mr. Singer-Official
Mrs. Hayward-Off + French
Mr. Bayarski-Math
Mrs. Weinberg-Math
Mrs. Glicksberg-Off + English
Mr. Trifon- Science + Newspaper
Mr. Brayden-Science
Miss Labfere-Assistant Principle

I was given a commendation card for excellent scholarship and conduct in 7B. I was given a Mystery book from Miss O’Conner for perfect attendance, all Term and I was given the book “The Devil and Daniel Webster”

Page #3

Page 3

From Mr. Trifon for my outstanding work on the school newspaper “The Laurel Leaflet.”

My best pals in Stitt (excluding the one’s I knew before I went to Stitt were:
Renee Zucker
Louise Shaw
Angel Parker
Mimi Mansfield
Olga Bean
Naomi Figueroa
Naimi Shapiro
Ben Sabolofsky
Haward Pribut
Harold Zief
Florence Wilson
Thomas Wood
I am now a student of the George Washington High School. I am attending….

Page#4

Page 4

…the (Isham) Annex at 212th St. and Broadway. My teachers are as follows:

Mr. Imes-Official
Miss Conroy-Gym
Mrs. Moon-French
Miss malloy-Art
Mr. Sidafsky-Geometry (My Best Subject)
Mr. Martyn-English
Tomorrow I intend to study for the End Term. Math and French Tests.

I now live at 460 147th Street, Apt. 63 in New York City USA. I have lived in Florida with my mother and Aunt Zara and her family for 2 years. The other cities I have visited are Springfield, Cambridge, Clinton, Boston, Worcester (and many other small cities…

Page #5

Page 5

…in the states of Mass and Connecticut. Many Small cities in N.Y. State, Jersey City and many small cities in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Penn. Sistersville, West VA, Washington D.C. (our Capital), many cities in North and South Carolina, and a few cities in Georgia. My ambition is to enter the fields of Journalism, Mathematics, Aviation, and succeed in all. I hope someday to buy a 64 acre farm in Mass or Conn for Mommie and Unkie and some day I’m going to take care of them.

All of the things I’ve written in these first five pages pertain to my history and this book is not going to be about what has happened but what is now happening.



Page #6

Pg 6

The News of the day “in short” sums up to the following:

1. The United States is now at war with Japan, Germany and Italy. Our allies are England, and Russia both of whom were in the War before us. This is the Second World War. The East Coast has not been attacked yet but the Japs. Winston Churchill, the Prince Minister of England (who by the way I don’t like) is making a tour of the U.S. and Canada. He just left the White House a few days ago. I don’t like….

Page #7

Pg 7

the way he makes speeches. Oh! Well? (Sigh) who cares whether I like him or not. The U.S. (including myself) is growing very Defense conscious. In school we have air raid drills regularly that consists of sitting on the bare floors of the school hall (on our books, of course) for sometimes even a half hour. On every corner of the street one sees air-raid wardens who are identified by the white strips of materials tied around their right arms. I am helping by knitting squares of wool for the Red Cross which will later be sewn together for blankets for our boys at the front.

Mother has been very sick and will soon have to be…..

Page #8

Pg 8

operated on. She will have two Fibroid Tumors and her appendicts removed. She is a very talented dressmaker. Unkie is in excellent health and his job is a barber supply salesman and grinder. He is now teaching a Mr. Paschall (with whom we spent last Sunday evening, and who has a charming wife) to grind. The Paschalls live at 745 St. Nick Ave. (Anna Johnson’s house).

Though mother was sick, this last Christmas was one of the grandest we ever spent. It is the first time we have not spent X’mas in Jersey with Aunt Ann, Uncle Percy, and Uncle Sam since 1933. It was…

Page #9

Page 9

…simply novel. So many presents. I received $6.00, a defense savings book with $1.00 worth of Defense Savings Stamps in it, ice skates, this Eversharp pen, a pen and pencil set, a blouse, three pieces of skirt material, a gold watch (belonging to Unkie’s Mother), lots of hankies, a sachet, 2 bracelets, a pair of house slippers, a bottle of perfume, a pocketbook, 2 pairs of mittens, 1 pr. gloves, and so many many other things that I can’t think of anymore. I gave Unkie three pairs of silk socks, and to mother I gave a pair of house slippers. I am thoroughly convinced that this New Year, 1942 will be the happiest and most prosperous that we have ever had.

Page #10

Pg 10

Since this time last year, I have made quite a few new friends I will list them here along with the rest of my own personal gang.

Ruthie Sumpter- I name her first because I saw her a short while ago and she is the freshest in my mind. She is one of the best looking brown skin girls I know. She lives in my house and goes to my school. We “Discovered” each other last summer, and her personality grows more and more interesting every day. She is sweet, smart, and stunning. I hope to be her pal forever.

Lois Mc Calla- is one girl who’s friendship I am going….



Page #11

Pg 11

..to strive to make stronger every minute. She is the most charming, delightful kid I’ve met in a long time. She is “in there,” “just my speed,” and someone I couldn’t help but have fun with.

Ernestine Reynolds is perfectly swell. I met her through Miss Mary Lee. She went to Stitt. I like her very much and my one regret is that she lives so far away, 138th Street. I never seem to see her. She is very brilliant, a member of the “Arista.”

Barbara Davis is a girl I have known ever since I was about 7 years old. She and I “grew” up together. She has lots of personality,….

Page #12

Page 12

…and is liked by everyone (especially the boys). Her hair is as beautiful as her disposition. Well aw riet!

Muriel Arrington I have always considered my “kid sister.” She is as close a friend as I can ever hope to have (when it comes to feeling at home in my presence.”) She and I have had a gay time together and even though I get mad with her sometimes she’ll always be my favorite “sister.”

Betty Washington, a new arrival to the city is another girl who wants to become a Journalist. We had a fine time corresponding when she lived in Chicago. Now she’s in the big city and I…

Page #13

Page 13

 ….find that our opinions clash a bit, however she’s a nice kid and my adopted (purely voluntarily) “cousin”.

Margaret Dickson, (whom I put last only because I thought I had put her name among the first) is the girl I’ve known longer than any other of the names so far mentioned. We were babies together and she used to go with mother and me to visit my grandmother in Sistersville, West Virginia, up until I was about three. I understand her more than she does herself and I am only one of the many who admire her talents for drawing. She attends the High School of Music and Art. I call her “Peggy”, “Stinky” and “Monkey face.”

Page #14

Page 14

The seven girls I have just mentioned are my best friends. Of course I have many more acquaintances, but these seven are the ones the people speaking of counting on their fingers. When it comes to boys, I have a more difficult case for the simple reason: I am only fifteen years old and truthfully boys don’t interest me. Oh I know lots of them! But I haven’t bothered to cultivate many of them as personal friends. I don’t yet keep company and have definitely stepped off of the “gang” I was in last year for my own private reasons. However just to have some sort of a record, I will write down the names of the boys I have met in my fifteen years that I have liked the best.

Page #15

Page 15

They are as follows:

J. J. Johnson-A boy who lives in Springfield, Mass. I can’t write much about him because I haven’t seen him since I was 12 yrs old. I think he’s one of the swellest fella’s I ever met. He is messy looking (with all this “nearer my Got to thee”) And the day I spent with him in the country (of course I saw him lots of times afterwards) was the most delightful, fun packed occasion I ever spent with any boy. I hope to see him again soon.

Lloyd Rogers, in his day, was swell, gentlemanly and a perfect friend, but now he’s just a drip and that’s about all I can say.

Page #16

Page 16

I have never invited Bobby McQueen to my house alone because I’m not the kind who try to steal my best friend’s (Barbara) boyfriend. I’ve known him a long time and have always liked him very much. He goes to Clinton, the most popular High School around where I live, and I have been thrown with him in every imaginable occasion. He’s a square!

Last but not least Billy Cumbo. Though he is my age, I consider him a nice little boy. He has had a crush on me since Lloyd’s Party last May and if only he was a little taller and a little more manly, I might kinda like him. The only thing that’s really wrong….

Page #17

Page 17

with him is that he follows Jimmie Thornton’s footsteps like a shadow. It’s alright to have a “drip” for a friend but to ape his “ickyness” is insane. Billy could be swell if he’d only be Billy. I have written just about everything about everything and am beginning to get “Writer’s Cramp”, so I will just end this introductory part of my little “On the spur of the moment Diary.” or “The Necessary material for my Autobiography-if I ever write one.”

If I find there is anything important that I’ve left out (except the fact that my father and mother are divorced, and that he…

Page #18

Page 18

…doesn’t contribute a penny to my up-bringing) I will mention it later in this book.

Date-Jan-2-1942-
MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
(at the end of the year I’ll check the ones I’ve kept).

I pledge that in the New Year 1942, I will

1. Develop Speed (in everything I do).
2. Make a 100% effort to go to Sunday School every Sunday unless my reason for not being present is a good one.
3. Communicate regularly with all of my friends and relatives (by writing if personal visits cannot be frequent.
4. Organize my studies, business, and music so that they will be accurately taken care of before I (?) ……

Page #19

Page 19

….Plesure.

5. Keep all of my clothes and other things laundered.
6. Keep all engagements on the minute so as to lose the reputation of “always being late.”
7. Have not a “little” but a lot of fun.
8. Keep my appearance in A no. 1 shape.
9. Not get fat.
10. Be very thrifty and buy lots and lots of Defense Savings Stamps.
11. Develop my personality 100%.
12. Be broad minded on all necessary occasions.
13. Get to bed before 10:30pm (Starting with January 3rd).
14. Keep my nails looking beautiful (for a change.)
15. Remember my duties to My God, My Parents, My Country, Myself.

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved