Photo Gallery 1861-
My Great-Grandmother Julie, Freed Slave 1861. Photo courtesy of Miss Johnell Green, an Art Major at Norfolk State University, Virginia. She created it from photos of my great-grandmother’s two sons, my Grandfather Adam Shaw, Sr. and Great Uncle Charlie Moore, and my Father Adam Shaw, Jr.
Granddaddy Adam Shaw, Sr., born in 1870, and his half brother, Great Uncle Charlie Moore, sons of a freed slave, my great-grandmother Julie, and second-generation Shaw Family Family members
Granddaddy's oldest child, my daddy Adam Shaw, Jr., was born in 1908, third generation Shaw Family member , and grandson of a freed slave, Great Grandmother Julie. Daddy was a journeyman sharecropper on the Goolsby sharecropping farm in south central Alabama most of his sharcropping years.
Grandmother Alice Rutherford, born in the late1880s, was impregnated by a white medical doctor while she served as cook for his family, in Culloden, Georgia. She later gave birth to his baby, my mama Annie Bell Rutherford.
My mama, Annie Bell Rutherford Shaw, who is also my daddy’s wife, was born in 1908.
My mother’s white medical doctor father’s house in Culloden, GA, 1970.
I am fourth generation Shaw family member born in 1932. This is my first picture, at 9 years old, and only picture taken of me before I was a teenager. It was taken in Montgomery Alabama. Miss Larkin, my third and fourth grade teacher at Goolsby, took me home with her one Easter vacation and had the picture taken.
Dorothy May Matthews, my childhood friend before Goolsby, at Goolsby, and beyond. However, more importantly, Dorothy is the granddaughter of my Cousin John May (no kin), whom I call my Harriett Tubman, because, in secrecy, he helped Mama and me flee from Goolsby sharecropping farm to the north, though he stayed at Goolsby with daddy, his best friend, at his side, forever.
Lois's family was the first to leave Goolsby sharecropping farm.
Imogene Elliott and I were born in Cohassett, Alabama on April 15, 1932, and we were friends and lived on Goolsby sharecropping farm.
Mrs. Lola, Mama’s best friend in the south, including living on Goolsby sharecropping farm, is Imogene’s mother.
Miss Nelve was Mama’s friend and visitor at Goolsby.
Mrs. Nelve, her husband, and four daughters lived in this house at Goolsby and had left it 27 years by the time this picture was taken.
On my way to Goolsby sharecropping farm in 1960 to visit and make up with daddy for leaving him to get an education, I stopped in Evergreen and visited my grandparents, Adam Shaw Sr. and Grandma Courtney Shaw, and relatives. My grandparents were love birds all their married life, and two of their trademarks were sitting beside each other and romancing each other's lips, backs, and eyes. Grandpa and Grandma still had the romantic gleam in their eyes as witness to their long time love married love affair, and it was an unforgettable memory that I see as brilliantly today, as I did in 1960.
In 1970, Trina, our daughter, and Daddy were standing in front of my childhood home, from 1937-45,
on Goolsby sharecropping farm 25 years after I lived there. Siding, a burned whole in my once beautiful chimney, and more rooms have been added. Daddy lived longer than any parent sharecropper and was often visited by children of my generation to see the Goolsby relic, after he left Goolsby sharecropping farm in 1970. I went to Goolsby and saw our house bent close to the ground, and I stood there with love in my heart to see the house in which I grew up. In this year of 2018, I learned that though loblolly pine trees had been planted around it, the mound where my house set marks the location of my house.
Mama and I used this type of straw broom to sweep our two bedrooms, kitchen, and porch.
Mama and I placed two smoothing irons or flatirons, as they are also called, on top of our fired up cook stove and, when they got hot, mama and I ironed our clothes, alternating the flatirons.
The 1942 chifforobe in my Goolsby home was my first clothes closet, and I still cherish this piece of furniture in my home today.
A grayish white churn with sheen like the one I used to churn milk at Goolsby.
I carried water in a bucket from our communal pump to my house and used the same pump to pump water to wash our clothes on Monday in the communal laundry shelter to the right.
On laundry day, Monday, I used a boiling pot, like this one, to boil the clothes we wore to work in the cotton, peanut, and corn fields. When our work clothes came to a boil, I stirred in the pot, let it boil a little longer, and took the clothes out of the boiling pot. I used a battling stick to beat the dirt left in them before rinsing our clothes in cool clear water in large tin tubs and pinning them on the clothes line at home with clothes pins Mama kept in her clothes pin bag.
Daddy and his mules, Ida and Ella. They were his good friends.
This hoe resembles the one I used to hoe and chop daddy’s cotton, peanuts, and corn crops at Goolsby.
Two-gallon jug stoneware like the one Mama and I drank from while hoeing cotton, corn, and peanuts.
My first picture, at 9 years of age in my best clothes, taken in Montgomery, was superimposed
in a cotton field.
After daddy plowed up his peanuts, he used this type of pitchfork and shook the dirt off the roots and stacked the peanuts around poles.
Daddy and Goolsby men stopped picking cotton long enough to plow up peanuts and stack them around poles. Afterwards, they returned to picking cotton. Photo of peanut stacks is courtesy of Mr. Adams in Wakefield, Virginia.
Daddy and other Goolsby fathers stopped picking cotton long enough to pick peanuts on this type of picker and bag them. Photo of peanut picker is courtesy of a general store owner in Wakefield, Virginia.
When daddy harvested his corn, the stalks and cornhusks were dry. This is how he harvested it. He held the corn stalk with his left hand, disconnected the ear of corn from the corn stalk with his right hand, threw it ear-by-ear in the nearby wagon that he would later hitch Ida and Ella to and carry the corn to Mr. Goolsby's barn.
One room Philip Chapel doubled as my church—and one room school—it was rustic then. Now, it is a historic landmark in Covington County, Alabama, and a larger church, with indoor running water for personal facilities and a dining room 50x75 feet built across the back of the church. There are only a few members in this new church, there at Goolsby. The money for its construction of the new Philip Chapel was contributed, in large part, by white and black strangers who passed by, who saw people building the church and stopped and donated money to members on the site. For example, one man offered money to pay for the white paint, and the stories are varied and many. Moreover, the church members are proud of their new church, indoor personal facilities with running "county water," they call it, and a dining room. I made a donation to the construction of the dining room.
Mama and I lived with Cousin Kenny, Bennie (the same name as my husband’s), and Mama Sarah, (Mama Sarah was our aunt-in-law, the widow of our uncle Sam who died in Florala, AL), in their home in Sunbury, North Carolina in 1945. The good part about this opportunity is that they welcomed us with open arms. That was sweet relief in a strange land, way up north in Sunbury, away from the security of Daddy on Goolsby sharecropping farm.
Cousin Kenny’s kitchen in the field behind the farm barnyard is also my kitchen, mama’s kitchen, and Mama Sarah's kitchen. The front side of the kitchen had a porch large enough to hold our Frigidaire and space for us to pass by it to enter the kitchen through its door.
Our cherished home in Sunbury with Cousin Kenny and Mama Sarah behind the farm barnyard, twenty years after Mama and I lived there. Our kitchen and home behind the farm barnyard were like slave living quarters, but, after the shock, they were dearly beloved, even now. Mama and I didn't ever have to worry about where we would sleep and eat because Cousin Kenny and Mama Sarah gave both to us, when we couldn't give it to ourselves
Peggy Bass was my friend and visitor when I lived with Cousin Kenny.
Betty was Peggy's sister and she, too, was my friend and visitor when I lived with Cousin Kenny.
Mama worked as a housekeeper for Dr. and Mrs. John Payne in Sunbury. Mrs. Payne took this first picture of Mama, ever, in 1945 while we lived with Cousin Kenny.
Mr. William Bell Hunter, Mama and me in Sunbury.
Mama married Mr. William Bell Hunter in 1946. He moved Mama and me from Cousin Kenny’s (named Bennie, the same name as my husband’s) home to live with him in his home.
My Pop Hunter became sick and Mama and I gave him love, attention, and ease. We were the only ones who witnessed this great man dying-on a snowy March morning, at 10 a.m., 1960—the man up north in Sunbury who changed our lives.
Mama dressed to attend Pop Hunter’s funeral.
I graduated valedictorian of my high school class in Sunbury in 1949.
Estes Hall was my first dormitory and my only dormitory at Shaw University.
Melody Martin from New York, New York, was one of my two freshmen roommates who lived with me in Estes dormitory.
Audrey Dickey, from New Jersey, my beloved senior class roommate, and I lived together in Estes dormitory.
The Shaw University Marque that often held my name advertising me as speaker for the Wednesday night prayer meetings. The students attended in large numbers.
I was a summer personal maid to Metropolitan Opera Star Rise Stevens in 1951.
I was Miss Steven's servant and friend.
I was rowing as I usually did, daily, on Miss Steven's lake.
The Abyssinian Baptist Church was constructed in 1923 at 132 West 138th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Malcolm X Boulevards in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, after moving several times to accommodate the size of the growing congregation. The church structure has been described as "Neo-Gothic" and "Collegiate Gothic," and is constructed with lovely stained windows and beautiful materials.
The church is noted for its pastors, and the most noted is Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. who served as the pastor from 1908 to 1936.
In 1937, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. succeeded his father as Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church and retired from the pastorate in 1972. I was there when Congressman Powell was pastor, and it was noted for its great music, under the music director, Howard Dodson. It was sheer pleasure to sit and watch Howard play the large pipe organ and direct the well-trained choir. It was an awesome experience that is as fresh in my memory today, as it was then.
Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., born in poverty in 1865, in southwestern Virginia, was an American pastor, who developed, reorganized, the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. He was the 17th pastor of the church. It is located at 132 West 138th Street and, as early as the mid 1930s, it was the largest black Protestant congregation in the country with 10,000 members. People came from miles around to hear Dr. Powell, Sr. preach, for he was a great formally educated preacher who exercised his ability, Bible knowledge, and understanding of social injustices to preach social gospel sermons each Sunday, from 1908-1936. Also, Reverend Powell was a community activist and author. He gave me a copy of his book, Some Rights Not Denied The Colored Race, and it is one of his sermons that was published in 1912. It is an awesome sermon that is as fit for blacks today as it was for Negroes in 1912. I will not go into the content of this book, but I will give what I think is the absolute truth about our relationship. When I lived a short time with him and Mama P, before he left us, I believe God spoke to him, like He did the prophets in the Old Testament, and told this Christian man to bless me with his literary perspective that attracted large crowds, all the time, I was told, to him, when he was scheduled to speak. I believe he blessed me with his own literary blessings that bare his soul and heart and, in reality, our common soul and heart. The good man spent little time bashing whites, though he did recognize their injustices toward coloreds, and used his wonderful voice and bountiful knowledge to encourage coloreds to do what they were not denied the rights to, and I spend very little time talking about whites, unless I am writing a book on racism. Like Papa P, I bare my soul and heart in my writings, speaking, and social media trying to encourage blacks to do what they are not denied. Hence, Papa P wrote and spoke for the good of coloreds in his era, and I write and speak for the good of blacks in today's era. It is as though his soul, heart, and perspective on race and family birthed me. More than that, my birth and growing up years were financially poverty stricken, just like his. He worked hard to overcome all his circumstances and so I am doing the same. One of his favorite quotes that he used to encourage Negroes to prevent juvenile delinquency, summarizes the man and summarizes me, and it reads, "I fought poverty and ignorance, conquered enemies, won moral victories, stemmed fierce tides of opposition and stood erect against contrary winds, but never had I learned to overcome indifference, the most benumbing of foes." What a message in one quote! Papa P was father of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and after Congressman Powell’s mother deceased, Papa P married Mrs. Inez Powell, a nurse, and a beautiful woman, inside and outside, whom I called Mama P by her request, and I called Reverend Dr. Powell, Papa P, by his request. By no word or act of my own, Papa P is the second man in my life after my wonderful daddy, Adam Shaw, Jr. and Mama P is the second woman in my life, after my visionary mama, Annie Bell Shaw, and both are true because I am their replicas and extensions. Yes, like all parents, it was they who did it.
The summer of 1951, I was not expected to work, but I asked Mama P to get me a job and she did. She sent me with an Abyssinian church woman to work in a summer girls' camp and, when I returned, she gave me an unexpected party with young socialite women and a photographer on hand who wrote the party up in the popular newspaper, The New York Amsterdam News
Mrs. Inez Powell, Sr., Mama P, was the second woman in my life to my Mama Annie Bell Shaw for she exposed me to so much I hadn’t ever heard of and included me in celebrity life with guests in our home or at others’ homes. Moreover, when I traveled, if she had friends in the area or on my way to my destination, she connected Mama and me with them. We spent the night in their homes, including a mansion in Macon, and with her friends who had drivers who took me where they decided I would learn something I didn't know, as well as enjoy myself.
Papa P and Mama P took me to a precinct meeting in Congressman Powell’s congressional district, and he spoke on civil rights, as though it were a religion and his constituents answered him back, like they were in a good old fashioned Baptist church service. Yet, I have personal memories of the Congressman. As a man, he was educated, full of self-confidence, and he was prepared. He cared about the plight, including economics, of everyone. One day, during the summer of 1952, after I went to AT&T located on Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas, took and passed the test to become a teletypist--send typed messages, electronically, from business man to business man, I was told they could not hire me because I didn't have a birth certificate. That afternoon, Congressman Powell came to his father's house and Mama P told him what I had experienced at AT&T. He moved to the desk in the den, where the phone was located, and called Ace Lennon, one of his political employees. He told him to prepare and deliver me a Baptismal Certificate with my birthdate and his stamped signature and deliver it to me that day. Ace did, and I was hired as a teletypist at AT&T and didn't ever have a problem that required me to call the supervisor. In 1953, because Mama's midwife did not record my birth with the State of Alabama, I used a copy of my Baptismal Certificate, my T.S. Cooper High School Record, and letters of verification from Miss Lola and my daddy's brothers, Uncle J.B. Shaw and Uncle Charlie Shaw, to obtain my first birth certificate when I was 21 years old. On Sunday afternoons, the Congressman, when he came by our home after church service, he would always ask me to critique his sermon. At first, I was in awe, but I learned that he wanted me to spell out his points and what he said about each. Yes, Adam often made me feel special after Sunday morning services and, before service, after Papa P, Mama P, and I got dressed, Papa P would look at me and tell me I was pretty. He was so utterly white, more so than Adam, and I appreciated the good man saying that, and I will never forget the Powell love that I was wrapped in. Here is a memory of the Congressman that I do not often recall. He owned a Beach House with a private beach on Long Island and gave Hattie, the church's secretary a set of keys and told her to take us there with her for weekends as often as she wanted. When we got to the Beach House and changed into our bathing suits, the women rushed to the private beach, laid out towels, and laid down on them, for the fair-skinned women could use a tan. I laid my towel on the sand and just sat there because I didn't need a suntan. Fortunately, we didn't go to the Beach House much, but there is this personal story about the Congressman that Mama P and I often shared. There was a beautiful woman, Jennifer I will call her for convenience, who would pass our apartment window, on the other side of the street, walking with her poodle on the leash, after Sunday morning church services. She knew the Congressman visited his father and stepmother after church. Now, Jennifer liked the Congressman, but, for sure, when we saw her walking her poodle, it was always a long time before he left our home and, sometimes, he didn't visit us that Sunday, which was even more fun for Mama P and me.
My mother had great taste in husbands and always made me proud. She married her third and last husband, The Reverend Shirley Howell, Sr., Assistant Pastor of African American Methodist Church in Sunbury. During this time, Mama could neither read nor write and was married to a literate assistant church pastor. So, she went to night school at my old T. S. Cooper High School in Sunbury and learned to read her daily Christian magazine and the Bible and write letters and grocery shopping lists. Mr. William Beamon, principal of the school and Mama's teacher, enhanced the third grade education she received in childhood. Mama liked the idea of signing my birth certificate, and she wanted one. However, because mama was born in 1908, no state had begun issuing birth certificates, and it was at some indefinite time and in some indefinite state, in the 1900s, when birth certificates were first issued. Hence, before that time, families recorded births in their family Bible, like my Granddaddy Adam Shaw, Sr. did or, when children were baptized. Mr. Beamon, Mama's teacher helped her get the record of her birth in 1964, based on the Census of 1920, as shown in this document from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This was a forerunner of birth certificates.
I was the recently elected president of the National Baptist Student Union in Nashville, TN (Baptist Christian organization).
I was a college senior at Shaw University. Miss Hazel Scott asked me to organize the Hazel Scott Fan Club at the university in 1952-53. I was also first runner up to Miss Shaw University, the University Queen.
The photo of Miss Hazel Scott I used to organize a fan club for her at Shaw University in 1952-1953. Miss Scott was a genuinely sweet woman and always made me feel significant in her presence.
Miss Hazel Scott, her son Skipper, friends and I were attending Mama P’s going away party aboard the United States of America Ship before she travelled to Europe, Germany.
I graduated Shaw University in 1953.
I attended graduate school at Atlanta University, as it was called then, and earned a master’s degree in sociology,1954, in the well-known sociology department organized by the intellectual, W. E. B. Dubois.
I was sitting with Portia Spencer, from Chester, Pennsylvania. She was one of my wonderful friends at Atlanta University, before I graduated Atlanta University in 1954.
My first teaching job was at Huntington High School in Newport News, Virginia from 1954-65.
Mr. W. D. Scales, our stellar principal with whom I ate lunch face-to-face at the teachers’ table in the cafeteria, nine of the eleven years, from 1954-65, I taught at Huntington. We also loved each other and his wonderful wife, Lula, and I were wonderful friends.
I was a serious and happy teacher, for I had fulfilled the dream Mama instilled in me at Goolsby.
I bought a bungalow brick house in 1961—my first, while teaching at Huntington High School.
Mama liked to sit on the lawn and sun at my new home in Newport News, Virginia.
Inside a bedroom in my first home.
Mama and my stepfather, Pop Hunter, at Christmas time in Sunbury, NC, after I became a high school teacher.
This is me and Mama at Christmas time in Sunbury.
Dr. Charles Isadora was one of my hosts in Los Angeles, California, 1957, and we became friends because my Dr. Adam Clayton Sr. family, New York City non-blood family, connected us. He and his driver took me to horse races at the Hollywood Race Track in Los Angeles, to rabbit races in San Diego, shopping in Tijuana, and vacation on the hotel's waterfront in Ensenada, Mexico. This new experience was wonderful. Each evening, Dr. Isadora would have a light liquor cocktail delivered to my room and I would go to sleep listening to the waves coming in or going out.
Dr. and Mrs. Stillman Smith were Papa P's and Mama P's friends. When I was planning a trip to visit Daddy and make up to him for leaving him to get an education, she arranged for Mama and me to spend a night with Dr. and Mrs. Smith who treated us as though we were the senior Powell family. We arrived at the Smith's mansion, I parked my car, the first one I owned, in front of it, and then Mama and I walked up the many palatial steps to enter the front door.
Mama and I were eating dinner with Dr. and Mrs. Smith in their Macon, GA mansion in 1960, and my Dr. Adam Clayton Powell Sr. family connected us. Dinner was complete with wine brought up from their wine cellar and good music that Dr. Smith played on the piano with mama sitting beside him and Mrs. Cynthia Smith and I looking on and listening. The evening was a gala with good food, good wine, and enjoyable music, conversation, and laughter.
I visited Daddy and he took this picture of me while I was standing in his cotton field. This is the very one where I worked hard enough to become a journey girl sharecropper in 1960. Daddy and I stood on the ditch-bank together and I made up to him for Mama and I leaving him for me to get an education, but not without some angst.
On our way back to Daddy’s house in 1960, I changed my head gear to let him see all of me, and I saw all of him.
Cousin John May, my Harriett Tubman, and our Goolsby sharecropper friend, pictured here in 1960, who appreciated education and could read, sing, and pray, helped Mama, who was standing with him, and me to flee the Goolsby sharecropping farm in 1945 for me to become a school teacher.
Mrs. Catherine Cobb, Cousin John, my Harriett Tubman, and Mama in 1960. In 1945, Cousin John implemented Mama’s and my flight from Goolsby sharecropping farm to Sunbury, and he was happy to see me and realize his risk had paid off. Mr. Goolsby never punished him for aiding our escape.
Mama P visited me in the fall of 1960. I celebrated her at Huntington High School with a tour and at the recently renovated Cosmo Club with a tea and all its amenities for celebrities and good ordinary folks, in the black town district. I took her to visit Mama, as shown above, in Sunbury, and I took her to hear me deliver the 11 o’clock Sunday morning woman’s day church service at a Methodist church in Norfolk, Virginia. Before I gave my speech, I asked her to stand and the audience gave a resounding applause to the woman who was Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.’s stepmother.
Scene at tea party held in honor of my Mama P at the renovated Cosmos Night Club in the black business district in Newport News, Virginia.
I was talking with Mr. and Mrs. Calloway. He and I were co-workers at Huntington High school and co-chaperones for the seniors' picnic.
Me, Annie Lee Shaw, fourth generation Shaw family member. I was standing with Cousin Kenny Rutherford and Mama and dressed to be married to Bennie Mamaduke Barnes, a mathematics high school teacher, from Sunbury, North Carolina, in a formal wedding ceremony, at twilight on June 9, 1963 in the Hampton Institute Chapel by the sea.
Our private wedding ceremony.
Our wedding party, including Mama.
I was a happy and healthy pregnant wife and mother-to-be.
I cut and sewed my large pregnant woman's fashionable wardrobe, and I enjoyed wearing my clothes
Mama was holding Trina our newborn fifth generation Shaw family daughter, while Bennie and I looked on in 1965.
Hampton University. It was Hampton Institute when I taught there three years from 1965-1968.
While teaching at Hampton Institute, I was awarded a fellowship to attend the National Science Foundation Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Here I am standing on a very rainy day in my dorm room at the university in 1967.
While at UVA in 1968, I lived in the stately Mary Munford Dormitory for Women
As a student at UVA in 1970, The Lychnos Society at the University of Virginia invited and I accepted membership in the women’s Lychnos Honor Society.
I conducted my doctoral family and neighborhood research in Royal Oaks Manor,
a formidable neighborhood in Northwest Atlanta, Georgia. I show here the
set-up, in one of the two rooms, for 32 bridge players who enjoyed a delectable
dinner, complete with expensive champagne, two hostesses, and a servant in 1969-70.
Reverend Homer C. McEwen was pastor of The First Congregational Church in Atlanta. He was eating dinner at the table following service, and I was invited to dinner by Mrs. Edythe Ross, wife of Dr. Hubert Ross. We enjoyed a good old southern meal that included smothered chicken and gravy over grits.
The church service was formal, and the entire church service is subdued. Hence, I only saw emotionalism expressed one Sunday. A male worshipper interspersed the pastor's sermon with "A-mens," but immediately after the service a member told me that the emotional expressions had been given by a visitor. Moreover, only a few people held roles during Sunday morning church services. The ushers, who were usually men, took an active part in helping congregants to their preferred seats and passed the collection plates, while the church secretary read the notices and Reverend McEwen preached. He expressed his views freely in his sermons, including the one, titled, "How Christ Saves." He contended that the American culture was "becoming progressively anesthetic," which contributed to the "hell" they were experiencing, and he reminded the congregants that church people were placing too much significance on the name of their church and social club affiliations and furs they wear. In this regard, he told that animals shed their fur in the summertime, but he concluded soundly that God saves people from these private and corporate hells and replaces them with a vigor of the spirit and a sense of security. After church services, his messages got mixed reviews from congregants, and he knew it, but he was not afraid to speak about "The Evils of Society," as he called them. After all, in 1970, he had pastored The First Congregational church 40 years.
I conducted church life research in The First Congregational Church in 1969-70, under Reverend Homer C. McEwen. Fashionable Mrs. Nell Blackshear, whose bridge setting appears above, and her husband, Mr. Blackshear, who lived in Royal Manor Oaks were members. Two other of my very good friends in this church were Dr. Hubert Ross, Professor at Atlanta University, and his wonderful wife, Edythe, author and social worker. They enabled me to study the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill, and I was often a guest in their home. With Professor Richard Long, from Atlanta University, Dr. Ross helped me complete my doctoral proposal, which was accepted by my University of Virginia doctoral committee. I also had the privilege of worshipping with another member of the church, Mr. Norris Herndon. He was the first black millionaire in Atlanta, though there were a lot of black millionaires in Atlanta, Mr. Herndon was one of America's wealthiest black men, and he lived in his mansion, near Atlanta University, with an exterior that flaunts high style Beaux-Arts-Classical design and the interior displayed a full range of academic and eclectic styles, such as Renaissance Revival. Mr. Herndon had a unique personality, different from most other people. For example, he bought expensive furniture, but didn't ever take the price tags off and visitors could view the cost of his furniture. Now, there was this true story, too. At The First Congregational Church, when he got tired of the décor in the sanctuary, he employed an interior decorator in the Home Advisory Department, Davison's Department Store in Atlanta, from time to time, to change it to his taste, without members' input or complaints and, in fact, a few of the church members, who talked with me about this matter, applauded his generosity. I know I enjoyed the beauty of the sanctuary when Mama, my daughter, and I worshipped there, every other Sunday for ten months in 1969-70.
In 1867, The First Congregational Church in Atlanta was formed in the Storrs School Chapel, the property of the American Missionary Association. In 1908, the present structure was built and continued some of its original activities, including library, gymnasium, business school, employment bureau, working girls' home, kindergarten, and classes for the blind.
The traditional exterior of the church is hybrid Spanish architecture, which is unpretentious, yet distinctive and religious in design. The interior of the church is also traditional. It has a high choir gallery, located behind the pulpit, and it is unobtrusive; two balconies, one on each side of the sanctuary which are supported by columns. There are stained glass windows, which are reproductions of religious pictures, with the exception of two. The well-heeled congregation included at least two millionaires and the services were well performed and subdued.
Reverend Searcy was pastor of Mount Zion Second Baptist Church and resident of Royal Oaks Manor neighborhood. A sample of the sermons that I heard him preach included, "Selection of Marriage Partner," "Prejudice among Blacks," "Faith in God," "Spiritual Power Through Christian Living," "Healing Power," and "Healing Deliverance." His congregation was expressive and, therefore, the members clapped their hands, said Amen, patted their feet, cried, and shouted, as he preached fervently and resoundingly what they wanted to hear.
Now, I will share with you an anecdote that was in one of his sermons. He began by saying that the black family is imitating the white family by focusing on family connections, which he called, family blood, family dignity, and marriage of daughters to the right young man. He illustrated this by saying that when he was growing up, there were only three cities, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, and Thomasville, GA, in the United States that had a Negro society. A prominent woman in one of the black societies was his schoolmate and every time she found a man, who wanted to marry her, she was told by her family and friends that he was "too black," "too ugly," or "too poor." He had recently seen the woman and she was unmarried with white hair. He suggested that women in his church pray and ask God for a husband, and he would grant their request. He assured them by saying he knew "unattractive black women" who married fine black men, and they should keep themselves clean to get one such man. The church congregation enjoyed his storytelling about the slave, Negro, and black or African American Era, and he appeared to enjoy sharing at least one good anecdote in each sermon.
I conducted church life research at Mount Zion Second Baptist Church, 1969-70, under its Pastor, The Reverend Emory Riah Searcy, who lived in the formidable Royal Oaks Manor neighborhood, where I studied family life. Mrs. Haugabrooks also lived in Royal Oaks Manor and gave me free research access, even to her home when she was not there, but a servant was on duty. Daily, when she travelled she did so with an entourage. Mrs. Haugabrooks, owner of a funeral home and rumored to be a millionaire, visited Mount Zion Second Baptist from time to time and gave large donations. That was not unusual. On different Sundays, she visited other churches in Atlanta and gave heavily in the offerings, and, when needed, some members of the churches used her business. She was outgoing, business-like, and wonderful to be around. Very importantly to my doctoral research, Mrs. Haugabrooks was one of the families who gave me permission to bring Professor Richard J. Coughlin, a member of my University of Virginia doctoral committee, who was attending a professional meeting in Atlanta , to tour her home, for him to validate that I was indeed studying a formidable black middle class neighborhood, Royal Oaks Manor, that included the millionaire Dr. McClendon family that owned the black hospital in Atlanta. Mrs. McClendon was cooperative with my doctoral research, joining others in allowing me to inventory the furniture in her home to determine whether it was eclectic, traditional, contemporary, or a mixture. This brief excerpt about the neighbors in Royal Oaks Manor must, happily, include Dr. Lois Moreland, Spelman College Professor, upon the request of history Professor Bacoate, who was on the Atlanta University faculty when I was a student there, who gave me my first interview in the neighborhood. I am thankful to Lois for opening the door in Royal Manor Oaks that pleased Mr. Coughlin. He was, also, enthralled at eating a delicious dinner with me at Paschal's restaurant in Paschal Hotel and at meeting Mama and my daughter in our beautiful top floor apartment at 496 Holderness Street that I rented from Lottie Realty. In reality, Mr. Coughlin visited our apartment to see and evaluate the organization and data in my 6 thick notebooks of doctoral research that I had collected about the city of Atlanta, middle class neighborhoods, especially Royal Oaks Manor, two churches, and the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill, Inc.
Withdrawing "amiably" from The Friendship Baptist Church, a church comprised of wealthy blacks and some millionaires, in 1868, Mount Zion church members worshipped in their own edifice that experienced two fires. Even so, church members worshipped there, until 1956, when the City of Atlanta bought their land.
In 1956, the pastor and congregants built a contemporary church that cost $90,000.00. The first suppliers of loans were black lending institutions.
The varied rooms in the large church edifice, included: Sunday school rooms, dining rooms, offices, kitchen, lounges, conference rooms, a children's nursery, fellowship hall, chapel, and sanctuary.
The Reverend Searcy preached passionately about black life and historical black slave life, the members offered agreement with what he was preaching, and the church services were vibrant.
The membership was comprised primarily of working class families and a sprinkling of professionals, including school teachers.
After teaching another year at Hampton Institute, I enrolled at the University of Virginia in 1968 to earn a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and this is our famous Rotunda.
I walked on the grounds in front of the Rotunda at University of Virginia to attend my graduation ceremony and to be awarded my Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, June 6, 1971.
I took a good look at the environment around the Rotunda, that I liked so much, before I took my place in my doctoral procession.
I am thankful to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the UVA Department of Sociology and Anthropology, chaired mostly by Professor Richard J. Coughlin, and the University of Virginia for giving me the opportunity to be in my doctoral procession on the UVA Grounds and become the first black woman student to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
My greatest and supreme thanks are to God who gave me the ability to perform, with excellence, in all areas of my doctoral life at the University of Virginia and provided the people who gave me the opportunity to reach this goal that I did not dream or know how to dream, when I was picking cotton in my daddy's cotton fields in south central Alabama.
I received my 14 x 18 Ph.D. Degree in Cultural Anthropology and a handshake from Dr. Theodore Caplow, our new chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, in the presence of my mama Annie Bell Shaw-Hunter, my husband, Bennie Barnes, and my daughter, Trina Miranda Barnes.
My graduation day ceremony, June 6, 1971, was over, and I lingered with my UVA family on the Grounds of the University of Virginia
Mama and I were standing together the way we worked together in the Alabama cotton fields and continued, until this momentous day, June 6, 1971. Foremost, it was Mama who travelled the entire journey from the cotton fields of Alabama to the academic Grounds of the University of Virginia, and that was a happy day for her because I had earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and some "Firsts" at the University of Virginia. I was the University's first African American to earn Ph.D. Degree from its department of sociology and anthropology, the second African American to earn its Ph.D., and the first female to earn the university's Ph.D.
For sure, the day was our day--Mama's Day and My Day. Mama, I could not have done it without your sacrifice and highly dependable help. Mama, thank you. I will always love you for being the wonderful person you are to me.
The day was a hard-earned one for my family. Trina wanted me at home while I was fulfilling my residency at the University of Virginia and Bennie was my statistician and architect for my doctoral dissertation. When my first drawings of Atlanta and the Chattahoochee River were rejected, he used the architectural skills he learned in the military, and, though my committee told me to hire a professional to do the drawings, they didn't ever question his wonderful work. With good reason, the day was, also, Bennie's and Trina's Day because they gave me enough space, help, and time to accomplish the task of earning a Ph.D. Degree, for which I am grateful. I extend more gratitude to Trina for going to pre-school at Spelman College in Atlanta and Hampton Institute for kindergarten, until I could finish the journey. Guys, I deeply thank you.
I, Annie Shaw-Barnes, was standing with Mal Goode, who was one of my first strong encouragers, after I received my Ph.D., in 1971, from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Mal suggested I become the best cultural anthropologist I could, and I did to the best of my ability. When I told him that I had a 293 page black middle class family doctoral dissertation and asked him to help me get it published, he carried a copy to his editor-buyer-friend at Simon and Schuster Publisher in New York City. His friend liked it and told Mal that it needed to be professionally edited. Though Mal struggled and worked hard, he took time to give me his best help in the area I requested.
In 1962, as a network news reporter, Malvin Russell Goode (1908–1995) was the first African American to hold a regular on-air job in the journalism field. He started out in radio news in Pittsburgh before he was hired by ABC television to cover the United Nations in New York City. The move made his career. He stayed in this post for 20 years, inspiring other black journalists to follow in his footsteps. He covered civil rights marches, which brought civil rights issues to the public eye. Other journalists praised Mal as an honest reporter and he showed a professionalism that impressed everyone he met.
Today, I am still grateful for the good man, who worked hard and took time out of his busy schedule to put forth effort to help me succeed. He encouraged me to succeed as a cultural anthropologist and, by his own honest work, reinforced in me the determination to always write the truth.
My Black Middle Class Family Book is comprised mainly of my doctoral research in Royal Oaks Manor neighborhood in Northwest Atlanta, Georgia
I was pleased to give students, in the Historic Preservation course at Georgia State University, permission to copy excerpts from my book, The Black Middle Class Family, detailing furniture and family life of residents in Royal Oaks Manor. The students used the excerpts to make application for the geographical area, Collier Heights, the Atlanta, Georgia area that I researched, to be placed in the Georgia Historical Department and on the National Historical Preservation Register to help preserve Atlanta’s black middle class culture. Though I did not learn the outcome of the students’ efforts, I considered it a tribute to Royal Oaks Manor residents who gave me permission to publish their furnishings and family life and, if the students were successful, the residents’ cooperation that helped me become the first black female to earn a Ph.D., the second black student to earn a Ph.D., and the first black student to graduate with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, that is, all from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, June 6, 1971, had other far-reaching results and stands as a record for all succeeding generations in Atlanta and America. Surely, I hope to find out the outcome of Royal Oaks Manor’s great contribution to understanding black middle-class housing and furniture, family life last century.
Norfolk State University Lyman Beecher Brooks Library was on the campus, where I taught as Eminent Anthropology Professor from 1971 to 1997. The librarians in Brooks Library were my professional friends and helpers, and three stand out as foremost. The first two were Ms. Cynthia Lynn Harrison and Ms. Nell Barnes, reference librarians, to whom I presented numerous research topics, and they gave me a complete printout, each time, two days later, with the references and related references to my research topic. The third was Mrs. Hazel Blount, interlibrary loan librarian, who acquired all the references from other libraries that our library did not have, in the shortest amount of time possible, by searching to find the closest library with the books and articles that I needed for my lectures, scholarly papers, and publications. This library, though a new one has been built, was the heart of my professional life, and I will always hold sweet scholarly memories of it, for I enjoyed a professional and collegial experience inside its walls.
Jim Nolan and I were colleagues in the sociology department at Norfolk State University the majority of the 26 years I taught there, and he was a professor of moral collegiality who liked to see me succeed. It was Jim who taught me how to read computer printouts, so that I could embellish my cultural anthropology professional literary writing with hard facts, and it was Jim, who was my Editor-in-Chief at NSU. He edited a book, Retention of African -American Males in High School: A Study of African-American Male High School Dropouts, African American Males Seniors and White Male Seniors and three of the most important documents in my academic career, and they all reaped the success. I am pleased that I know James A. Nolan, a sociology professor of few social words in social interaction, but dependable and prompt in fulfilling his promises, because he is a good man, willing and helpful to help me succeed, gratis, even though I didn't ever ask for that. Thanks, Jim.
In this recitation of scholarly help at Norfolk State University, I thank everyone for their help, and I will point to one more colleague, Dr. Sandra Deloatch, chairman of the computer department at Norfolk State University. In giving me computer assistance, one example stands out foremost. I had research data recorded on floppy disks and I could not retrieve my data on my new computer. I called Sandra and told her my problem and, without delay, she told me to bring the floppy disks to her office and she would convert the data to a diskette. Sandra did and prevented me from losing research data I needed for a research project. Sandra, thanks.
Dr. Arlene Maclin, physicist at another university, was a stellar teacher and proposal writer. She helped me win two fellowships to do summer faculty interns at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, and it was there that the research team sent me to study military sentencing of men in the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The second fellowship gave me a summer faculty intern to study at the Navy Personnel Center in San Diego, CA, where, with a team, we did worldwide wife abuse research in United States military families, and, together, had a published pamphlet of our research. Also, Arlene helped me win a grant that I used to research and write a textbook to teach Norfolk State University students how to conduct library research, using hard cover and electronic abstracts and indexes, write term papers, document each with text or end notes, and how to write MLA bibliography style, along with how to write abstracts. The hundreds of students who took the course, Social Science Research Skills Seminar, that I used the book for, taught countless other students the skills. In addition, in that course, I taught the students to write essay answers in all their courses the same way they organized their term papers. They did and English teachers and other teachers asked my students where they had learned the skills, and a large number of my students made A on essay examinations in varied courses.
James A. Nolan, Sandra Deloatch, and Arlene P. Maclin stand with the greatest scholars who didn't ever stop helping me succeed in my professional life. Hence, they stand with my anthropology colleagues in the American South and throughout America, members of the Association of Black Anthropologists, and members of the Virginia Social Science Association.
I am thankful to recognize some of the many people who helped me because I could not have done it alone. Yet, there is one more scholar, John Ramsey, whom I am pleased to thank. In the next frame, I do that.
Dr. John Ramsey was a stellar political science professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and my longtime professional friend. John was the foundation of the historical Virginia Social Science Association, and he encouraged me to become a member of the organization's board. Thereafter, John made sure that I served as treasurer, program chair, session organizer, vice president, and first African American female president of the 57-year old Association. John would make sure I attended all board meetings by giving me and others rides with him to the meetings. John and I know some personal knowledge of each other and he encouraged me to the hilt to write my memoir. John was a friend who enjoyed seeing me succeed, and I am so thankful for him and everyone else with that attitude. I needed John's support to have the good success that I experienced in the Virginia Social Science Association.
Mr. John L. Horton was the Employment and Restitution Coordinator for the Restorative Justice Program in Norfolk, Virginia and, as a renown expert in the juvenile justice system, with his master's degree, he was a newspaper columnist, lecturer, counselor, workshop and clinic facilitator, and college teacher, and is available. John still lives in Norfolk.
John appeared on my New England Radio Show, Moving America Forward, WALLE 990 AM. He taught me in my interview with him on my show, the nature of the criminal justice system for black boys, which is devastating because so many of the little fellows are innocent, and that reaps undeserved consequences for them.
Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in Management and Administration from Harvard University, Cambridge and served in many high ranking educational capacities, but the one he likes best is his tenure as a middle school principal in New York City. Dr. Anderson was a stellar principal and, as a professional, he is a deep and expansive well of knowledge. It was Wilton who appeared on my New England talk radio show, WALLE 990 AM and, during and after the interview, the brilliant educator taught me the whole American school system available to blacks, and it does not have a kinsman. It is a privilege to know this man who talked with me about global matters in our personal telephone calls. Yes, he is a scholar of the first magnitude, and he is available for appointments and lives with his wife in Silver Springs, Maryland.
A photographer at our daily newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot, took this picture of me and placed it on the cover of Portfolio Magazine. It was shown in a collage for a year in a television ad to advertise Norfolk and Virginia Beach to invite tourists.
The Tribal Government House where Trina and I lived in the Osudoku Society in 1975.
Our room in the Tribal Government House: Our grass mattress that we slept on under the mosquito net was the best health-giving mattress I have ever slept on.
I went to the center of the village to conduct interviews and do participant observation—participate in tribal life—do what they do.
Trina taught Osudoku children at our home in the Osudoku Tribal Society how to shoot marbles.
Trina and I taught the Osudoku children at our home in the Osudoku Tribal Society how to turn and jump rope.
Young women dressed for their puberty rites in the Osudoku Tribal Society.
I visited Barnes and Noble book store in Virginia Beach, Virginia to see my book, Say It Loud, on its book shelf.
I have just been elected one of the Virginia State Council of Higher Education’s Best Thirteen Teachers of the Year in 1988 and Full Professor.
I was speaking at the corporate banquet in 1988 honoring us as The 13 Best Teachers in the State of Virginia.
I was awarded the Palmer-Scales Excellence Teacher Award for teaching excellence at Huntington High School in Newport News Virginia, the Best 1988 Virginia Award for Best College Teaching in the State, 1988, and the Best Commencement Speaker Award from Stratton College in Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2009.
I am Baptist, but, along the way, I joined St. John's African American Episcopal Church and had two pastors. My second pastor there was Reverend Burton. Each Sunday, he went to the podium with a well-prepared sermon that was filled with positive messages and I didn't ever hear him describe an illness of any type. He and his choir sang beautiful hymns in soft melodies and on our beautiful Communion Sunday, each first Sunday in the month, the ordained lady pastor sang the Lord's Prayer, in her beautiful soprano voice. It was there, on my 75th birthday, that I enjoyed church service. In this church, I was invited to deliver the 11 a.m. women's day speech, which was well received, and, at that time, Reverend Knight was our pastor. Reverend Burton, who gave me ultimate respect, as did the members, One Sunday, two men members, who knew I wanted a picture of the church, obtained the picture below and told me the church had given me permission to use it any way it would benefit me. For sure, no matter how busy I was working and as a family member, I didn't ever forget about going to church.
This picture is the church, St. John's African American Episcopal Church in Norfolk, Virginia, that Reverend Burton still pastors, and it is beautiful and included on the Norfolk Historic Trail.
Trina Miranda Barnes, fifth generation Shaw family member, in her four-year old photo while attending pre-school at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
When Trina was in the fourth grade at Taylor Elementary School in the Ghent Section of Norfolk, Virginia, Mr. Trump, her principal, gave the students in the school standardized IQ tests and had them scored. When he received the scores, he telephoned and told me, “Your daughter is a genius" and gave me the ranged she ranked. Bennie and I appreciated proof, but we also recalled that on a different standardized test at Taylor, the question requested students to check the correct answer about a drunk man, and Trina, having never seen her daddy or anyone drunk, checked that such man was strong, sturdy, and walked upright. Though she scored well on the test, for Bennie and me, the drunk man question is a legendary school story.
Trina Miranda Barnes represented Taylor Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia, in the regional televised Spelling Bee and placed first in her graduating elementary sixth grade class.
Trina was class valedictorian of her Bayside Junior High School class in Virginia Beach.
Our daughter, Trina Miranda Barnes and one of my best friends, Dr. Arlene Maclin, physicist, since we were students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1968. She attended, my daughter, Trina’s graduation from the McDuffie College Preparatory School, Springfield, Massachusetts in 1983.
Ella, my very best friend, since I was a college student, living with the Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.’s family in New York City, also attended Trina’s graduation program from McDuffie College Preparatory School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1983.
Our daughter, Trina Miranda Barnes-Jones, fifth generation Shaw family member, receiving her college degree from Dr. Gray, President of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
Gabrielle Diamanta Jones is sixth generation Shaw family member, born in 1991.
After boarding her flight at the Norfolk International Airport, the pilot invited
her into his cockpit in the airplane that would take her back home to her mother,
Trina, in Atlanta, GA.
Gabrielle, sixth generation Shaw family member, liked the airplane’s cockpit and the pilot’s explanation of its technology. She goes to high school at Lovett College Preparatory School in Atlanta, Georgia and graduates.
Our granddaughter, Gabrielle Diamanta Jones, Trina’s daughter and sixth generation Shaw family member is receiving her college graduation degree from Wellesley College in 2014, awarded by Dr. Bottomly, President of Wellesley College, Massachusetts.
Bennie and I attended our Sunday school class at First Baptist Church, Kempsville Road, in Norfolk, Virginia.
Daddy sat in his chair, located behind him, all day until I arrived, each summer, in my rental car from the Pensacola Airport to visit him. He always greeted me with robust hugs.
Daddy and I were sitting with four of his brothers, Uncles JB, Charlie, Dollar Bill, and Morgan, who were part of our family reunion gathering at Uncle Charlie’s house in Evergreen, Alabama.
My cousin Jerome, Uncle JB’s son, was reading my book, The Black Middle Class Family, at one of our family reunions at Daddy’s house in Lockhart, Alabama.
The years rolled on and Daddy and I revisited my sandy school bus stop at Goolsby sharecropping farm.
I gave Daddy his first restaurant experience, Hardees, to eat breakfast before I drove to the Pensacola Airport to return to Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1989. From then on my stepmother carried Daddy out to eat at different eating places.
I was lecturing at Norfolk State University, Virginia, on my book, Everyday Racism, which was carried in the University of Virginia bookstore, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores. The book was published in huge articles in The Virginian-Pilot daily newspaper with articles that followed in column to editor and by our weekly newspaper, The New Journal and Guide.
I was lecturing at Hinds Library, Jackson MS on my Everyday Racism book. Audiences for my lectures on this book have been white university students, black university students, white lay groups, black lay groups, and mixed audiences. I was guest for the book on one national television show, and the station played my interview on and off for a year, and a radio station in the Bay Area, California, gave me two recalls. I appeared as guest on 200 radio programs, including PBS, with call-ins, from Virginia to Hawaii and from Montreal to Florida. Electronically from my home; my lecturing reached as far away as keynote corporate speaker at the annual meeting of Southwest Bell, St. Louis, MO, and planners of the annual meeting, surprisingly, provided a book signing, after my corporate speech, for me to sign my Everyday Racism book, my last duty at the corporate meeting. My speaking has reached to 60 nations, including the Moral Rearmament Conference in Caux Switzerland, on the topic, “The Violent Young Black man and What to Do About Him”.
Scene at Everyday Racism Book Signing.
Scene at Everyday Racism Book Signing.
Scene at Everyday Racism Book Signing.
Scene at Everyday Racism Book Signing.
Like everyone else, the computer is always my helper, as seen in this 2017 photo. The same hands
I use on the computer are the same ones that picked 200 pounds of cotton per day on the Goolsby sharecropping farm.
I was a frequent contributor to our daily newspaper, The Virginian Pilot, and our weekly newspaper, The New Journal and Guide. I was also a frequent television guest on affiliate television stations of ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS.
Selected published books from my total of seven. They accompany 20 refereed articles in high tier anthropology journals, five chapters in my anthropology colleagues’ books, and four abstracts in anthropology journals and one abstract in the American Sociology Journal.
I am Norfolk State University Eminent Anthropology Professor Emerita
The Host of More Good People Who Helped Build This Photo Gallery
I am thankful to all the people and for all the publications and artifacts in this photo gallery and for my blog following, however, I will include other good groups that, also, helped build it, and The Authors Guild, authors' organization, located in New York City helped me build my website, including this Photo Gallery. With good reasons, I am thankful to include others who helped build this website, its Photo Gallery and so much more. They are my teachers, Misses Cobb, Wood, and Larkin, on Goolsby sharecropping farm, my sharecroppers with whom I have stayed in touch, my thousands of high school students and college students, especially the students in my Social Science Research Skills Seminar at Norfolk State University, Virginia, who helped me conduct numerous research studies, year-after-year, my hundreds of fellow members of the Virginia Social Science Association who elected me to all its positions including treasurer, program chair, vice president, and president, my hundreds of fellow members in the Southern Anthropology Society, especially the ones who included me in our most scholarly sessions and published my scholarly papers with theirs, my thousands of anthropology colleagues, especially those who invited me to read papers in sessions or symposiums and got them published at distinguished publishing presses in America and France, gave me high positions in the structures, including presidency of the National Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA) and membership on the American Anthropology Board of Directors, my tens of thousands Delta Sigma Theta Sorority sisters and, especially the Norfolk, Virginia graduate chapter that elected me their Chapter President and performed under my leadership so well, until it earned me the opportunity to serve on the national board of my sorority, my thousands of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brothers, especially the Newport News, Virginia Chapter who elected me their Omega Psi Phi Queen, the thousands of men in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, my husband’s fraternity, for the Norfolk Chapter of Alpha Wives elected me its President, and so many plain people, like myself, who gave of themselves to help me. Then, there was my visionary mother who left my kind and strong daddy to bring me to Sunbury to become a school teacher and, here in the North, she attended all my school graduations, took the mother of the bride’s seat at my formal wedding, attended me when I birthed Trina, attended Trina’s christening ceremony, and was so often a member of my audiences when I gave speeches in 11 o’clock church services; moreover, she spent several years helping me raise Trina while I earned my Ph.D. degree, including a year in Atlanta, Georgia, 1969-1970, where we lived at 496 Holderness Street in a beautiful apartment rented to us by Lottie Realty. Mama attended Sunday morning church services with Trina and me, while I was quietly worshipping and gathering church life data at The First Congregational Church and Mount Zion Second Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and she witnessed the culmination, my graduation with a Ph.D. degree from the University of Virginia. I didn’t want her to leave before I finished teaching 40 years up north, the reason we were here, but she did. Yet, there was the consolation, that she did enjoy so much of what my life was about and what she gave up so much for, after Mama left, my daddy, uncles, and aunts-in-law filled the emotional parent void I felt after mama was gone. There was during mama's lifetime and afterward, my devoted husband, Bennie, who was last promoted to Supervisory Management Specialist for the United States Department of Defense, who has been at my side helping me all the way and, without his help, the photo gallery would be different and so much else in my life would, also, be different. Yet, mama and I needed Cousin John May to help us come up north, get an education and for me to marry Bennie, whom mama called “Son” and loved like him, as though he was her son. So, it is with unending gratitude to Cousin John May, for serving as Harriett Tubman for Mama and me by helping us escape from the sharecropping farm and, without his help, I do not believe we would have ever come north. Yes, we needed Cousin Kenny and Mama Sarah to welcome us to live in their home, so reminiscent of slave quarters, but so appreciated by Mama and me. Above all that goodness, I know in my heart that it was God who helped everyone who helped us, and I am deeply thankful Him.
Copyrighted 2017 Annie Shaw-Barnes