Brief History of two women that inspired my life
|Before the month of February is over, I wanted to take a minute and recognize two women that were and still are major parts of my Black History. Mrs. Mary Magdeline WashingtonBrown, my Grandmother, and Mrs. Florence Henrietta Brown Williams, my Mother.|
My Grandmother was a midwife in Screven (Wayne County) Georgia. Back then Black did not really go to the doctor's office or hospital to deliver their children. They called the midwife. Aunt Janie Barnes (born a slave and died at age 107) and Grandmom Mary were two of the midwives who delivered many of the babies throughout Jesup, Brunswick, Blackshear, and places in between.
Years ago, my daughter, Nneka Barnes and I rescued her midwife bag for our history. She was strong even though I am told she was not more than 5'3" and weighed less than 120 pounds
My Mother was my inspiration. She worked in the fields, but she got her education. She was an evangelist, dietitian, seamstress, teacher, and much much more. When there was no kindergarten for Black children in Screven, Georgia, my Mother decided to start one and start one she did. Her first students were Linda Brock, Barbara Ann Brock, Queen Hillman, Barbara Wright and three other young girls whose names I do not recall at this time.
Mother cooked all of the meals at Screven Elementary School (segregated). She also cooked at Jesup High School (Whites Only). She was PTA president, she was a Sunday School Teacher and taught Bible study. Mother believed that every child should have a quality education and that being in a segregated school did not make you inferior it made you work harder.
In Mother's earlier years, she worked at Campbell Soup in New Jersey with one of her brothers, Adolph Browne. she left there to go home to take care of her ailing mother, father and invalid sister.
During the last twenty-three (23) years of her life, she lived with me in Mount Rainier, MD where she along with some other residents founded the Mount Rainier Nature Center. she was also a member of the Mount Rainier Chrysanthemum Club where she won a number of awards for her Chrysanthemums.
I am proud of the foresight of my Mother and her Mother who believed that education was the way out. Thanks to them my grandchildren represent four generations of college educated Brown/Washington family members.
As last night's program noted, YES, we are Black History -- even here in Mount Rainier, Maryland where the story has not yet been told!
My tribute to my Black History!