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 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.
My cousin Zara Gale Taylor, who I always referred to as cousin “Z” and Aunt “Z” when I was growing up is my most favorite cousin. She was always beautiful to me inside and out and she had a voice that you knew God was shining on her life.
Some of my most precious memories of Cousin Z was when I would spend time in her home to visit for a few days. She always made me feel at home, and would say, “help yourself to anything you may want, this is your home.”
I used to love to watch Z go through her beauty routine. She had the longest hair and she would take her time washing her hair, giving it an oil treatment and then blow dry her hair and then set it in these big rollers. She was just absolutely beautiful! Then she had this routine with her skin, and her make-up. I think she would go through a three hour treatment of taking care of her hair and skin. She then would do her nails.
Another thing I enjoyed about going to cousin Z’s house was the cookies she would bake. She always made raisin oatmeal cookies, butterscotch cookies, chocolate chip and White Chocolate Chip cookies. Z was amazing. She not only could bake cookies, sing and be beautiful, but she was the nicest person in the world.
She always encouraged me to go back to school, telling me it is never to late and that I could be anything I wanted to be.
One of the saddest days of my life was when I had to say good-bye. She passed away November 19, 2005. I put together a memorial on findagrave.com. (Click this link to read about her).
Zara Gale Buggs Taylor in January 18, 1997 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator's Breakfast in San Diego. She was a guest speaker and singer.
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.
March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.
My mother Betty Mae Peters Porter had always been a social person. She was a socialite in New York and I believe throughout her life in Los Angeles and San Diego. Betty was active in many organizations. She was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, San Diego Chapter for many years. She served in leadership positions as a member.
Betty Porter in Blue Dress
Betty Porter and Dr. McFarlin
AKA-San Diego Chapter
March 16 — If you could have lunch (or another meal) with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?
There would be so many female ancestors that I would want to spend the day with and have lunch. I think I would plan a large banquet and invite all my female ancestor’s and have each of them talk about their lives and what their world was like during their time-period. I would have a private affair in a large room. Not sure what type of food, but I think I would have various ethnic foods.
Since I can not make up my mind, I decided to choose someone that is not a family ancestor. This person is living. Her name is Barbara Rush. My grandmother Agnes was also one of her designers. I chose Barbara because I have been curious about her since I was a little girl and always wondered why my mother was not still in contact with her. I recently tried to contact Barbara Rush via facebook, and I had no response. Oh Well..
If I had the chance to go out to lunch with her, we would go to a quaint restaurant in Beverly Hills and enjoy any specialty on the menu. I would ask her questions of her relationship with my grandmother Agnes, and Barbara’s life as an actress.