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

Not so Wordless Wednesday: Agnes Cully Peters’ Fashions in the Newspaper

I am so grateful to ProQuest as they made their African American History available for free during the first half of Black History Month to researchers and anyone interested in exploring their Black History Collection.  This was available a few years ago, and I had the opportunity to collect lots of articles connected to my family.  This year was different as I collected more that had not been in the database from the first time I researched.

I decided for this Wordless Wednesday, I would showcase one of the articles regarding my maternal Grandmother Agnes Mae [Cully] Peters.  I have shared before that she was a fashion designer in the 30’s-50’s in Harlem, New York.  I hope to actually make this into a series to showcase her many newspaper articles as I find them fascinating as the people in the community felt that the events were news worthy.

This is a gown my grandmother Agnes Cully Peters designed and sewed for the Winter Fashions Collection show.  Miss Ruth King was a regular model for Agnes and continued modeling even after my grandmother moved to Los Angeles in 1953.

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.

Zara Cully Brown: Sugar Hill- Mama Maitresse

Zara Cully Brown, Marki Bey & Don Pedro Colley

 
      A few months ago I watched the movie Sugar Hill with my Great Aunt, Zara Cully Brown playing the part of Mama Maitresse.  I was about six years old when she did this film in 1974.  I was interested in the film because I thought it was about Sugar Hill in New York, as my mother was born and raised on Sugar Hill.  I almost thought it ironic Zara would be playing in a film on the Hill.  
     I soon discovered that the movie was about a woman named Diane ‘Sugar’ Hill, who wanted revenge on her enemies who brutally murdered her boyfriend after refusing to be shaken down by a gangster racketeer.
     Zara was my mother’s Aunt, who was her mother’s (Agnes) sister.  I wish I could include a note that my Aunt Zara sent to  my mother of how she was not going to accept this job because she would have to hold a snake in the movie and she was scared of snakes.  The note is at the Malcolm X Library with my family display, so once I get this, I will post.
     I am including a clip below of Zara in action. (Please be patient with the short commercial)

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Not Amanuensis Monday: Betty Peters 1942 -1944 Journal, Final Day

This is a continued effort to transcribe my mother’s 1942 Journal when she was 15 years old.

 

Jan 2, 1944
     So much has happened between last May and today that I can only touch on a very few of the outstanding events.
      Alvaretta came back to New York last fall.  She has been to see us several times.  Her lovely sister is living in the city with her four children.  Alvaretta is now living in Brooklyn with a married couple.



He’s a negro artist and she’s white.  Alvaretta claims to be living in a very cultured atmosphere and is very happy (now).
     Marian Anderson and Razz Fisher are married.  They tied the knot last summer.  It was in all the papers.  We sent them a card of congratulation and called them up.  They sent us a Christmas card.
     June and Palmer have been married for seven months.  The wedding was lovely.  Everything went off as planned, only better.  Moving pictures were taken which I haven’t seen as yet.  Aunt Vi Thompson sent us a photo-…

…graph though.  June went to Florida (where Palmer was shipped) and stayed for a month until he was shipped to North Carolina.  She’s home now.  She and Sis LaVant are both working at Sack’s 34th St. now.  June and I went out to lunch together and she ran out and left me to pay the bill.  How’d you like that?!!
     Richard Timpson and I had a fleeting romance that lasted from June 1943 to about the middle of September.  He ditched me because I was too virginal.  After fooling around with Barbara Franklin (who is one of them things) he was shipped away to Texas because of bad behavior at the New York Army Hall.  He became sick and had….



...to spend some time in the hospital out there but he’s out now.  He used to go around with Arlene Alvaranga and then Agnes Wethers.
    The summer was very warm and pleasant.  I acquired a sunburn whist I still haven’t entirely lost.  Late in August I spent a few days with Hilda (Bonnie) Proctor!  She knocks me out with her “dear lamb” Sonny banks from Boston and Lester.
     She visited me for the Christmas holidays.  Let me say right now that they are the most glorious holidays I have ever spent.  I can really see myself growing up now.  I’m doing so many…

…things now that I couldn’t ever do before.  (I was 17 years old on the 17th of November 1943). 
     We had a big tree for $4.08. Blonnie came X’mas Eve.
     Here are my activities.  (Christmas was on Saturday)
     Friday Night: Cocktails at Aunt Burnette’s house. (Blonnie and I had Pepsi Cola).  Bed about 4:00.
Saturday: 1. Loads of X’mas presents.
2. Dinner with the Family, Aunt Burnette and Uncle Albert, Blonnie, Joyce, Lester.  Ernest Craig, “septical” a hippy jerk from way back came back.
Sat nite: Lester & Hilda smooch while Joyce and I play records.

St. Martin Episcopal Church
230 Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Blvd)
NY NY

Sunday: St. martin’s Church. Rain! Rain! Rain!  We meet Rev. Johnnie Johnson’s…

…son, David and plan party for Tuesday night.  Later we go to movies (Hamilton). Picture: “Sweet Rosie O’Grady”  Betty Grable, Robt. Young
Monday: We went Ice skating at Iceland (50th St.  I fell down twice.  Mon. Nite: Movies: “The Cross of Lorraine” with Pierre Aumont, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf *** (in my estimation).
Tuesday: We fool around all day.  Go to David Johnsons party that night with Max and Charlie Yergan.  Nice party, just nice.  Jackie Canton is there.
Wednesday Night: THE COMUS CLUB







My first formal dance.  At the SAVOY.  Maxi Yergan escorted me.  (Is he handsome).  I hope he comes to see me.  I had a ball.  Other’s there were Blonnie, Lester, Barbara, Bobby, Frankie, Dixon (he’s a doll, I just love him), Pat Rainey, Betty Pogue, the fellow with the white streak in his hair, Pat Cuffee and scads of othhers.  What fun!
     A formal dance. Ha!  I’m growing up.  Thursday Blonnie went home.  My house was packed from morn till night with kids.  Friday was New Years.  We kids about 100 of us went first to Barbara’s then Bobby’s.  We carried on!  Had a ball!  Bobby was on furlough from the Navy, Frankie, from…



…the army.  God Bless them and all the others.  I didn’t go to Earl, Stanley, Wallace, Sonny’s party Monday because they didn’t want Blonnie and she was my guest Saturday Night.  Aunt Burnette and Uncle Albert drove Mom, Unk, me up to the Bronx to the Paschall’s new home.  Very nice time had.  When we came home, we went to Grace Thompson’s and ate candy, fruitcake, spareribs, blackeyed peas, drank rockin rye and milk. OW!  This is Sunday and I’m doing trig homework.
    Tommie Owens came over for a piece of cake, (his first time in my house) but it was all gone.  He a darling.  I…



…understand him now.  I love him too.  His friend, “Al”, the other fireman is going away to the Army on January 4 (Tuesday).


Boo! Hoo!  Ruthie and Liela are getting chummy again.


Oh Gee!  I love everybody.  Frankie Touie, Maxie.  What a mixup.  Dear Me!

 

 

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