Welcome to my Women’s History Month posts. Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist came up with some wonderful prompts for March, and I have been participating. I have missed quite a few days but will be moving backwards to catch up.
March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.
My mother Betty Mae Peters was an excellent student. She earned a dual bachelors degree in Journalism & English from New York University in 1950. My mother stated that she did not attend her graduation, and had them mail her degree. When my mother relocated to Los Angeles in 1953, she attended Pepperdine University to earn her Masters degree in Education.
I believe that my mother would be the first in her family, as a woman to earn a degree from any University.
Betty Mae Peters in the New York University School Album of 1950. She resided at 460 West 147th Street, New York,N.Y. She was in the Spanish Club; Dramatic Society; Paragon Society; and National Association for Advancement of Colored People.
March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.
So many of my ancestors on my maternal side were talented. I can’t just pick one.
Hannah Cully Brown: (Jazz Pianist, Poet)- My Great Aunt
Nora Ann Cully: (Jazz Singer, Pianist) My Great Aunt
Nora Ann Gilliam-Cully: (Singer and Pianist) My Great Grandmother
Zara Cully Brown: (Actress, pianist and Elocutionist) My Great Aunt
Zara Gale Buggs-Taylor: Singer (Operatic genre) Could sing in all genre’s. She sang for Marian Anderson as a youth. My 1st cousin 1x removed
Agnes Mae Cully-Peters: (Fashion Designer, Pianist) My Grandmother
Mary Gale Brown-Buggs (Dancer) My first cousin
Betty Mae Peters Porter (Singer, Dancer, Acting, and model) My mother
They all performed in church and at community events. Most family members knew how to play the piano as it was a requirement.
I am on my fifteenth day celebrating Women’s History Month and taking advantage of the Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.
I have to thank Lisa Alzo of the Accidental Genealogist blog for presenting such an awesome idea.
March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.
Here are my Ancestors I am highlighting this day with the six-word memoir.
Betty Mae Peters Porter (My Mother): Educator. Great Humor. Classy Woman. Beautiful.
Agnes Mae Cully Peters (Maternal Grandmother) New York Fashion Designer, Cancer Survivor
Helen Bunn Thompson (Paternal Grandmother) Spiritual. Quilter. Concerned Citizen. Foster Parent.
Nora Ann Gilliam Cully (Maternal Great-Grandmother) Always Pregnant. Pianist. Church-goer. Died Young.
Hannah Singleton-Nelson Gilliam (Maternal Great Great Grandmother) Former Slave. Laundress. Young Widow. Matriarch.
Jane B. Nelson Collins (Maternal Great Great Aunt) Former Slave. Freedom Fighter. Activist. Strong.
March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.
I had two grandmother’s that had their own businesses in their home. Both of my grandmother’s sewed for a living. My maternal grandmother Agnes Cully Peters was a fashion designer, and sewed for the Who’s Who in New York and then in later years Los Angeles when her sister Zara relocated to pursue her acting career.
My paternal grandmother Helen Bunn Thompson had a sewing room in her home and she would sew for church members, and many of the neighborhood families where she resided in Los Angeles. This is one of the many ways she would make a living. Helen was also was a foster parent and a launderer.
Helen Bunn Thompson
I later learned from an older relative that Helen owned a cafe in Little Rock, Arkansas and in St. Louis, Missouri.
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.
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