Clifton R. Wharton III – Wordless Wednesday

This is a photo of Clifton R. Wharton III, My mother’s Godson.  Clifton’s Grandfather Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr. was confirmed as the First U.S. black foreign minister of Romania on February 5, 1958.

Clifton R. Wharton III

 

I had never met Clifton, but my mother was devastated by the news of his passing.  I happened to be with her when she received the call.

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]

FROM JACKSONVILLE

By CAPANA

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.

 

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.

[Transcribed]

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.]

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 22 – This is “Her” Life.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

If  a famous director wanted to make a movie of one of my ancestor’s it would be about the Cully family and it would be centered around my grandmother Agnes and my mother Betty residing in Sugar Hill.  The many lives of the other family members would be weaved through the life of Agnes.  There would be many scenes portrayed in her sewing room in her apartment where many stories were told.  The main years of the movie would be 1923-1952.

I would like to see Cicely Tyson play my grandmother as she is a star actress, and Angela Bassett  would play my mother because of her elegance.  My mother was very elegant.  The name would either be “The Socialite” or “Sugar”

Marian Anderson and her Fashion Designer Agnes Cully Peters

Fearless Females Blog Post-March 8: Diaries, Letters & Journals

Once again, in honor of National Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.

I have decided to participate in the Prompts:  So here we go!

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

Here is a small insert of the memoirs of my mother Betty Mae Peters that will be published in January 1, 2013 by FreedomInk Publishing.  The setting takes place in the 1940’s in New York City.

Image

Betty Mae Peters Porter with her mother Agnes Mae Cully Peters

Many “black” people, in order to obtain employment, passed for white, “Spanish”, or anything but “colored.”  This was quite common and quite accepted in the black community, as using whatever one could to “make-it” in a basically hostile society.  Blacks also liked the idea of “fooling” paddies (a word for whites).  The darkest black would smile a knowing we-smile upon encountering a friend or acquaintance “passing” on a job, and, far from giving-away the imposter, would instead return to the black community and laughingly report how so-and-so was fooling those “dumb paddies.”  However, in my naivete, I was amazed to learn that whites went through the same kinds of fabrications for the exact same reasons.

If you like this, wait till you read the book “A Taste of Sugar”…

Copyright protected by Estate of Betty Mae Porter-1973-2012