Wednesday, December 30, 2015

1967 Desegregation of Schools in Tangipahoa Parish

May 17, 1967

Dear Parent:

All grades in our school system will be desegregated next year. Any student will be entering one of these grades next year may choose to attend any school in our system, regardless of whether that school was formerly all-white or all Negro. It does not matter which school your child is attending this year. You and your child may select any school you wish.

Every student, white and Negro, must make a choice of schools. If a child is entering that ninth or higher grade, or it the child is fifteen years old or older, the may make the choice himself.  Otherwise a parent or other adult serving as parent must sign the choice form. A child enrolling in the school system for the first time must make a choice of schools before or at the time of his enrollment.

The form on which the choice should be made is attached to this letter. It should be completed and returned by June 15, 1967. You may mail it or deliver it by messenger or by hand to any school principal or to the Office of the Superintendent at any time between May 15 and June 15. No one may require you to return your choice form before June 15 and no preference is given for returning the choice from early.

No principal, teacher or other school official is permitted to influence anyone in making a choice or to require early return of the choice form. No one is permitted to favor or penalize any student or other person because of choice make. A choice once make cannot be changed except for serious hardship.

No child will be denied his choice unless for reasons of overcrowding at the school chosen, in which case children living nearest the school will have preference.

Transportation will be provided, if reasonably possible, no mater what school is chosen.

Your School Board and the school staff will do everything we can to see to it that the right of all students are protected and that desegregation of our schools is carried out successfully.

Sincerely yours,

Deurit L Sauls,


Saturday, December 5, 2015

St. Helena Historic Property-Lillian Cry House

Lillian Cry House
The Lillian Cry House, is nearly a ruin. It is a parlor-dole pen of boxes framed with a pyramidal roof, a hipped roof shed porch; and its only fireplace on the right pen. Symmetry is maintained by the window-door-window-door-window (6/6) facade.

Lillian Cry was the daughter of Bill Cry. She come from a large and respected Negro family.

Recorded by: M.B. Newton, Jr.
Date: May 2, 1981

St. Helena Historic Preservation Property-Warren Napoleon Sims

Warren Napoleon Sims
At the end of the nineteenth century, square (or Bill) Cry built the barn also know as the D.D.Day Barn and the Warner Napoleon Sim Barn. Cry is said to have lived in the right two cribs before he sold the land to D.D. Day, who built another house in 1922, Day sold the place to Sims. Cry and Sims were Negroes; Day was white. Sims (96) still owns it, although he has on account of  his age let it rundown.

The older part is the divided, 12 by 19 ft. crib ( 17 logs to the plate). It had been used as two says. It has two plank doors; both with carved, wooden latches (sliding bar). A 12-ft, runway separates the two main parts of the barn. The left crib is slightly narrower and is of larger logs (14 to the plate); its one door is a plank door made with square naisl. These two parts are of saddle-notched, round logs. A huge, gable roof covers the two cribs and,  in the rear, has three stalls, plus some other space devoted to animals. The front shed holds an excellent old house drawn hay rake.

This barn is remarkable in its black-white succession and in its hardware (wrought iron and carved wood).

St. Helena Property and Historic Significance-Blanche Williams Place

Blanche Williams Place
Henry William Johnson, a Negro farmer, miller, and builder, built his house, perhaps about 1900. It is well built, central-hall house with a built in porch, boxes cornices (front and rear), 4 by 6 in, porch posted with built-up capitals and key-holes notches at their bases, and a hood on three sides of the porch. It is of boards-and-battens; it had beaded siding under the gallery; it had one 6/6 window into each pen; its loft is finished; its one chimney is on the right.

The kitchen ell-now in ruin-also has a chimney.
This is a remarkable house, all things considered.

Recorded by M.B. Newton, Jr.
Date: May 15, 1981
For: Comprehensive Planning Assoc.
Devision of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Lee and Bennett Family History

Picture unknown
It all began when Henry Lee and Ora Bennett met and fell in love and united in Holy matrimony in 1902. Their first daughter was born and they named her Alonia Gladestine. In 1908 their second daughter was born and they named her Mary Birdie. After her birth they packed up and moved to Doddsville, Ms., near Tunica.

The first born child Alonia died in 1911, at and young age. Henry and Ora moved from plantation to plantation to the keep fed and clothed. They didn't have a formal education, but their faith is God was strong and they had each other. Henry taught himself what he needed to know. He learned to survive, work hard and ask the the plantation owner for what he needed. He was different from Negroes of his generation because he didn't fear white people.

He learned of their ways and used it to provide for his family. After the riding tidy of the Mississippi flood in 1927, and the depression they were able to survive because they had God on their side.  They loved and nurtured their children into fine and proud of their own. Henry provided well for his family under these circumstance. His children had plenty to eat, properly clothed and always had a place to stay. He was the first black man to own a automobile in the town he lived in. People would walk for miles to get him to take them to the doctor and other places.

They worked hard to gather the crops and make ends meet. On Saturday nights in the they would go to town. After working hard all week, they looked forward to Saturday nights on the town.  The old fashion virtues of working hard, serving the Lord and honesty were a must in the Lee/Bennett Family.  The children were taught to love and respect themselves, their parents, and the elders. All Henry's brothers stayed with him at one time. Ora would say, "the Lord blessed them so they could help some else".

On Sunday it was time to to got church and give thanks to the Lord for his many blessing during the week. The children would walk to Sunday school and they would follow in the wagon before they purchased a car. Ora loved her house and often styled him at church.

After the harvest was reaped, the hogs killed, meat cured, grain grinded, can cut and syrup made, they would help their neighbors. Henry was well known for making syrup and the he had his own mill. Neighbors would come from a far to bring their sorghum and he would cook the syrup while the women gathered to can vegetable and fruits preserves the winter.

Once all the supplies were ordered and stored the women would start quilting and the family was ready for a long winters. After the creditors were paid and they received the furnish money would share what was left, which wasn't very much.

The children attend the nearest school. At that time the most school were in the old church building because the attendance was so poor. During the winter it would be so cold and the school located miles from their home, but they to go, come rain, sleet or snow they went to school.

In 1925, they lived on the Dower Luster's plantation and in 1927 the moved  to Street Toler's plantation in Sunflower County. They later moved Beasley Bayou in 1935 located in Isola, Ms. and on the Warren Gardner's plantation in 1939 in Sliver City, Mississippi.

Source: The Lee-Bennett Family Reunion Booklet. The pictures used in this article were taken from the Lee/Bennett Family Reunion Booklet.

Obsequies of the Late Sister Mattie Lee Stewart

Mattie Lee Stewart
Mattie was a devoted wife and mother, on who always put the interest of her family first. She saw to it that her children were given the best that she could provide in loving care, spiritual nourishment, and material comforts.

Mattie, was the fifth daughter of Robert E. and Ella Bennett Lee. She was born in St. Helena Parish on January 19, 1916. She became a christian at an early age and was member of Greater Turner Chapel until death.

She leaves to mourn in her passing: her husband, J. W. Stewart, Sr; one son: Superintendent J. W. Stewart, Jr.; one daughter: Lillie Mae Tillery, both of Greensburg, LA.; four sisters: Caretha Bulter, Lillie Stewart, Mary Lee Wicker, and Velma Lee all of Greensburg and Tom Lee Silver City, Ms.; one foster brother: Emmitt Perry of New Orleans; on e daughter-in-law: Levoria Pope Stewart: Willie Tillery of New Orleans, LA.; four brothers-in-law, three sisters-in-law, three grandchildren, four great grandchildren and a host of aunts, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

The Obsequies for Sister Lizzie Lee

Lizzie Lee
Sister Lizzie Lee, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Jackson, was born September 23, 1907. She was married to Mr. Gene Lee and to this union 7 children were born.  Her oldest child, Mr. Edward Lee preceded her in death.

At an early age she was converted and later accepted the calling of God to go out into the world and preach His Gospel to all. She was a faithful member of Mount Everett A. M.E. Methodist Church until death.

On Tuesday, August 16th at 12:55 o'clock p.m., at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, the angel of heaven came into the hospital and with chilly fingers sealed the lips of Sister Lizzie Lee. Her soul winged its flight from this world of sin, sorrow and pain to a place of eternal rest.

She leaves to mourn a husband, Mr. Gene Lee of Montpelier, LA., Three daughter: Mrs. Helen Spears and Mrs. Lucille Collins of New Orleans, LA., and Mrs. Frankie Wright of Baton Rouge, La., Three sons: Moses James Lee and Wilbert Lee of New Orleans, LA., and Leon Lee of Hammond, La., The God-given mother of Mrs. Mateldia Rankins and Charles Robertson. One brother, Willie Jackson. Three sister: Mrs. Ceola Freeman, Mrs. Viola Green and Mrs. Carrie White all of New Orleans, La., Tow brother-in-law: Mr. Cleveland Spears and Mr. Robert Collins of New Orleans, and Prentiss Wright of Baton Rouge, LA., Four daughters-in-law: Mrs. Irene and Mrs. Marie Lee of New Orleans, LA., Mrs. Kate Lee of Hammond, LA., and Mrs. Mary Lee of Los Angles, California. Twenty-two grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Source: The Obituary of Collection of Cletis Gordon, Sr.

The Obsequies of Brother Hollis Tillery

Hollis Tillery
Brother Hollis Tillery was born to the union of Willie and Nora Tillery, August 10, 1913 and departed this life January 19, 1992 in St. Helena Parish Hospital in Greensburg, LA at 2:00 a.m., He was a member of Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church. He taught school in St. Helena Parish.

Hew as united in wedlock to Ruby Gordon and to this union one daugther was born: Donnal T. Wilson. Later years he married Mrs. Lillie V. Tillery. He leaves to mourn his devoted wife, Mrs. Lille V. Tillery; sister, Mrs. Elnora Wall of Fluker, LA; one step daughter, fours step sons, 8 sisters-in-law, one brothers-in-law, and a host of relatives and friends.

Source: The Obituary Collection of Cletius Gordon, Sr.

The Obsequies of Sister Minnie Lee Stewart

Minnie Lee Stewart
Minnie, was the second daughter of Robert E. and Ella Bennett Lee, was born in St. Helena Parish. She was brought up in the fear of the Lord, became a Christian at an early age and was a member of Turner Chapel until her death.

She was united in Holy Matrimony in Ebbie David Stewart, Sr., and to this union eight children were born. Three children were born by a former marriage. She invested her talents in helping and giving advice to others. She was charter member of Eagle Chapter #113 O.E.S.

She was preceded in death by her parents. One Son; Arthur: One daughter, Robertstine: one brother. Nathaniel Lee: and one grandson, Charles E. Kane.

This loyal wife, mother, sister, daughter and friends leaves to mourn her passing: her devoted husband Ebbie David Stewart, Sr., six daughters: Sophia Kane of Portland, OR, Ruby Washington of Sacramento, CA, Rosa Campbell and Mayola Tillery of Greensburg, LA, Gracie of Zachary, LA., Josie Gordon of New Orleans, LA.: Three sons: Ebbie, Jr., of Oakland, CA, Willie Lee and Jesse Stewart of New Orleans, LA; two grandchildren whom she reared: Semmie Martin of Baton Rouge, LA., and Kevin Stewart of Greensburg, LA., two stepchildren: Caretha Martin of New Orleans and Warren Martin of Hammond, LA.; five sisters: Caretha Butler, Lillie and Mattie Stewart. Mary Lee Wicker and Velma Lee all of Greensburg: two brother. Moore Lee of Greensburg and Tom Lee of Silver City, MS: one foster brother: Emmitt Perry of New Orleans: three daughters-in-law: Barbara Stewart of Oakland, CA. Catherine and Annette Stewart of New Orleans, LA; five sons-in-law: Ed Clark, William Campbell. Bounce Tillery, Freddie brothers-in-law, three sisters-in-law. 25 children, 26 grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.

Source: The Obituary Collection of Cletis Gordon, Sr.

The Obsequies for Fred Overton

Fred Overton
The quiet manner and useful life, the gentle speech in the life of Brother Fred Overton attracted people to him, and his conscientious service as a trustee, community worker, class leader and benevolent president won the hearts of both races.

He lived a very useful and peaceful lie. He was a devoted husband and father. He was interested in the well-being of his children and everyone in the community. In times of work, indecision, confusion and strife, and in progress, he was looked to for guidance in advice.

On January 15, 1968 the angel of death came and bore the bright spirit of Brother Overton away to the land that is free from the heartaches of this earth. Fred Overton was born to the union of Mrs. Jane Gordon and Overton and Rev. William Overton on September 11, 1897 in Greensburg, LA. in 1918 he was united in holy matrimony to Miss Daisy Stewart. To this union thirteen children was boon. He was reared with a love for God, people and progress.

To mourn in passing he leaves his wife, Mrs. Daisy Stewart Overton; five daughters- Mrs. Lucille Jackson and Mrs. Viola Hurst of Greensburg, LA., Mrs. Izola Millican of Oakland, Calif., Mrs. Bertha Montgomery of Marina, Calif., Miss Doris Overton and Mrs. Ermentrude O. Sheard of Philadelphia, Pa.,  a foster daughter Mrs. Margurite P. Overton of Greensburg, La.; five sons, Charlie and Joe of Greensburg, La., John of Metairie, LA., Fred, Jr. of Philadelphia, PA., Rev. Edward Overton of Ardmore, Pa; one brother, Willie Overton of Greensburg, La.; five sisters, Mrs. Alma Douglas, Greensburg, La., Mrs. Martha Overton, Mrs. Lillie Emerson, Mrs. Pearl Spark of New Orleans, La., Mrs. Candaisy Donald of Pine Grove, La., thirty-three grandchildren, six great grandchildren, a host of in-laws, other relatives and friends.

Source: The Obituary Collection of Cletius Gordon, Sr.

The Obsequies of Brother Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee 
Brother Robert E. Lee was born to Mrs. Caroline Clark and Mr. Presley Lee, July 5, 1879 in St. Helena Parish. He was reared in the atmosphere of a christian home and converted at an early age, united with Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church in St. Helena Parish.

He lived a very useful and peaceful life. He was a devoted husband and father. He was interested in the well-being of his children and everyone in the community. In times of work, confusion, strife, and progress, he was looked to for guidance, encouragement and advice.

He was united in Holy Matrimony to Mrs. Ella Bennett who preceded him in death. To this union eight children were born. He leaves to mourn his passing six daughters;  Minnie, Mattie, and Lillie Stewart, Velma Lee, Mary Wicker and Caretha Butler all of Greensburg, La.; one foster daughter; Mrs John Ella Richardson of New Orleans, LA.; three sons; Monroe and Nathaniel Lee of Greensburg, LA., and Tom Lee of Silver City, Miss.; one foster son; Emmitt Perry of New Orleans, LA; two brothers; Sam and Arthur Lee of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Approximately 50 grandchildren, 100 great grandchildren, six sons-in-law, three daughters-in-law, a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

Source: The Obituary collection of Cletis Gordon Sr.

The Obsequies of Daisy Stewart Overton

Daisy Overton
Sister Daisy S. Overton joined church and baptized at an early age. Her Christian life was  the fragrance of a beautiful rose and her influence will ever live in whatever place she has resided. She has been faithful and ardent worker in the church. Attended church regularly and saw to it the family group attended with her.

Today we are silent, to pay tribute to then of God's gentle women upon whose head rests a crown studded with sparkling jewels of her golden deeds. Always putting Christ first in whatever she did. She was devoted wife and mother who saw to it that her children were given the best she could provided in loving care, spiritual nourishment, and material comforts. This example she lives daily will ever be a goal for her family to strive to reach.

She invested her many talents into every broadening, good work which she good find. She was active in many auxiliaries, every ready to do what was needed. She was always alert as how she could help, comfort and cheer someone who was more needy than herself. He days were filled with helpful and absorbing work. She visited the sick and the sorrowing, taught Sunday School and won many you hearts for the Master.  Her life was full and happy. She was a lovable character, a person everyone chose to have as a friend and willing to be a friend to all. She left a living example of loving service, worthy of emulation, which tribute should bear some comfort for her loved ones. But when the sun of life reach it zenith, with the brightness of a well-spent life has ended.

Daisy Stewart was born to the union of Mrs. Ada Thomas Stewart and Rev. Ebbie Stewart, date April 8, 1900 in Clinton, LA., In 1918 she was united in Holy Matrimony to the late Fred Overton to this union thirteen children were born.

To mourn her passing she leave; five daughter: Mrs. Lucille Reed and Mrs Doris Johnson, New Orleans, La., Mrs. Bertha Montgomery, Pemberton, N.J., Mrs. Viola Hurst, Greensburg, LA., Mrs, Izola Millican, Oakland, California, and a foster daughter: Mrs. Margurite P. Overton, Greensburg.; four sons: Rev Edward Overton, Ardmore, PA., Mr. Fred Overton Jr., Philadelphia, PA., Mrs. Charlie Overton and Mr. Joe Overton, Jr., Greensburg, LA.; three sisters: Mrs. Bertha Hall, Mrs. Velma Irving, Greensburg, LA., Mrs. Imogene Jones, Houston, TX and four brothers: Mr. J.W. Stewart, Mr. Cleveland Stewart, Mrs. Ebbie Stewart, Greensburg, LA., and Dr. Alfred Stewart, Donaldsonville, LA., 55 grandchildren, 22 great-great grandchildren, a host of in-laws, relatives and friends

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Leon Dunn the Dunn and Chapman Family Griot

Left to right: Leon Dunn, Ruby Dunn Gilmore,
Theodore Dunn
If you want to learn about the Dunn and Chapman family branches of the family. Leon Dunn is the person you want to sit and talk with.  You may want to bring a video recorder and take notes. Mr. Dunn is in his 80s and his mind is very sharp and sound. His niece Paulette went to talk with him about the family history that he could recall for their Dunn family reunion. 

He talked about what he knew and what his father Theodore Dunn passed on to him. Recording your family is very important it is the unwritten history of your family. Everyone has a family member who love to reminisce about "the old day",  and the people who they remember.  At one time we use to be able to say that oral history was often passed down from generation to generation.  Nowadays, it seems like many people in the younger generations has no interest at all in their family history. 

They're to busy with their own lives, work, families, and other interests. By the time they stop and and want to know more about the family history most of the elderly people may not be around anymore.

I could have sit and talk with Mr. Leon for hours. He was recalling events, places and people. Although he didn't know his Native American grandfather Hezekiah. His father passed down stories  to him about Hezekiah. 

Most importantly, Mr. Leon wanted to talk about the family history. Often times some elders in the family doesn't want too talk about the family history. I heard many of them say, "I can't remember". Oral history fill in the gap and help us to learn more about our family and the community they lived in. 

I found Mr. Leon to be a treasure for the Dunn and Chapman families. One of the trades that was past down to him was farming. On any sunny day, you can find him on his tractor tending his crops or harvesting the crops. Although is knees ache him, he don't let it stop him from doing what he love doing. I hope that I can get talk with him to record his family history and preserve it in the oral history collection at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mayor Irma T. Gordon First Year in Office Reflections

Chief Kazerooni, Councilwoman Irma Clines,
Mayor Irma T. Gordon, Councilman Callihan
Kentwood, Louisiana- Mayor Irma T. Gordon became the first elected female mayor of the Town of Kentwood, Louisiana. The first year went by very fast and Mayor Gordon and the Town Council has accomplished many task. However she feel there is so much work yet to be done. You can find Mayor Gordon at the Town City Hall five days a week. Although she served on the Town Council for two decades. So serving the citizens of Kentwood is something that she knows all about.

"We will continue to work to improve our town", she said. One thing that Mayor Gordon has address is the blighted properties on Main Street. The town had already started demolition on some of the building that was falling down. "We now have Walmart's and a new medical clinic," said Mayor Gordon. "We're looking at attracting more businesses to our town," Gordon said.  The Mayor invites the citizens of Kentwood to attend the monthly Town Meeting every first Thursday of the month.

Please click on the video below.

Mrs. Leona Spears of St. Helena Parish, Louisiana

Mrs. Leona Spears
Leona Spears was born on November 29, 1883. " That's the day I was born, " smiles Rocky Hill resident Leona Spears. In her life Mrs. Spears has witnessed the dawn of automobile, running water, airplanes, indoor plumbing and electricity. "I can remember when their wasn't a flick of electricity anywhere in New Orleans.

Tucked in her favorite rocker, legs bundled under a quilt and warmed by a crackling fire, Mrs. Spears chats. " I liked working the field with the mule. That was probably my most favorite thing to do on the farm.

"Ole Sam was the best mule we ever had. I guess we had 5 or 6 one that was with us for a spell. But Ole' Sam was the best 'cause he listened. He'd go slow and when you need him to. And he'd gee and haw like I wanted him to."

Up until a half dozen years ago Mrs. Spears still plowed a little with a mule. A step or two from her back door is her garden or 'patch' as she called it. Her patch is about a quarter acre. "I hoe it all myself, " she says proudly. I lived this because I alway ate good. I eat plenty of vegetables and greens and good meat. People don't eat right. They are too much in a hurry and they eat that food somebody else fixed for them. Better you eat food you fixed yourself.

One of the crops Mrs. Spear and her family raised was rice. "Yeah, rice. There used to be a bunch of us growing rice back then. But it played out. I don't remember when."

"I didn't much want it then. But everybody said we needed it. I'd just as soon it never came around. But they got us hooked now, so I guess we stuck with it. Seventy years ago Mrs. Spears played the harmonica. "My daddy gave me one for Christmas." Ever since then music has been a big part of her life. "I've been playing and singing in the church choir for most of my life." She taught herself to play the piano, accordion and Jew's harp.

"I just love making music. It makes me feel good. And I ain't lost nothing she smiles. Mrs. Spears can remember back when Indians still dwelled in the area. " They camp right back there." She points to the northeast. "Daddy didn't let us fool with them too much." We'd see them in the woods when we collected firewood and hunted up our pigs. She can't recall when or why the Indian left.

"Things ain't that bad for most folks today. But I do think that it was better for everybody when I was a chap. People for everybody when I was a chap. People were nicer and shared things more. People like to have you in their kitchen. And if I had too much of this or that I'd give you some. And you'd do the same for me. Today, you never know who is your friend and who is looking to get something from you.

Source: Tangipahoa's Montly Magazine/ December 5 & 6, 1984
Article written by Charley Vance

Martha James of Amite, Louisiana

The Amite Chapter of the Senior Citizens honored 105 year-old Martha James Friday with a party at the new Senior Citizen headquarters in the depot. Cake and punch were served to those attending and songs and expressions of good will were made. The party was organized by Mrs. Eva Anthony, president of the Amite Chapter of the Senior Citizens' Club.

Aunt Martha, as she is affectionately known, was born 105 years ago and has lived all of her life in Amite. She was born a Butler and married Frank Jame, a former employee of the Gullet Cotton Gin Company. She had two children, Johnny and Robert. What is her secret for living so long? I don't have any secret for living so long?

I don't have any secret," she said. "The Bible says to honor your father and mother so that their days may be long. I have always honored old people and this must be God's way of blessing me."

Source: Tangi Talk. Amite, LA.. Wed., Sept 1, 1976

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Life Celebration of Nezzy "Knotrocker" Womack

Nezzy, a faithful servant of God, was called from his earthly woes to his eternal rest on Saturday, October 15, 2005. He was born to the union of Green and Luvenia Womack, on July 24, 1913.

Nezzy, joined church at an early age at Venable Chapel A.M.E. Church in Liverpool, LA. He and his siblings grew up and went to school in Liverpool. When Nezzy was thirty on, he enlisted in the United States Army, where he served in World War II, earning several metals for his service, the highest one being the World War II Victory metal.

Nezzy united in holy matrimony to Sister Vera Buckhalter, fifty six years ago. He spent a life of bliss with his wife and eight children in Kentwood, LA., Nezzy joined Oak Grove A.M.E. Church after returning from the army. He served there faithfully, as a trustee and dutiful servant of God. Shortly before celebrating their fiftieth year anniversary. Brother Nezzy decided that he and wife should worship God together, as member of the same church, so he joined the Orange Grove C.O.G.I.C.

Nezzy was one of the first black businessmen in Kentwood. Their store, "Nezzy's Grocery",  served as a landmark in our community. For many years Mr. Nezzy as he was affectionately called, loved serving the children when they came into his store. He was also a skilled cabinet maker, excelling in many kinds of woodwork.

Brother Nezzy Womack has a deep passion for singing, he was the bass in the Orange Grove Gospel Quartet. It was in the Quarter that he developed a love for his lifelong favorite songs, The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow", "Precious Lord"and" He Never Left Me Alone".

He leaves to cherish his memory, his devoted wife, Vera; eight children, John Peavy, Emma Cleveland, Kentwood, La.; Eugene Peavy(Geraldine), Chicago, IL; Gwendolyn Clifton (Charles), Kent, Wa.; Althea Mitchell (Raymond), LaPlace, La.; Artis Cohn (Floyd), Baton Rouge, La.; Cassie Dennis and Brenda Holmes (Special Children), Audrey, Jackie, and Martina; two brother, Leon Womack, Baton Rouge, La., and Green Womack (Geraldine), Atlanta, Ga; three sisters, Bessie Stanford, Evirda Shipp, Baton Rouge, La., and Reba McIntyre, Kentwood, La; five sister-in-laws; Elice, Ola, Sally, Lilian and Doris Womack; two brother-in-laws, Arthur and Woodrow Buckhalter; thirty-five grandchildren, fifty-two great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and good friends.

Brother Nezzy Womack was preceded in death by his mother and father, Luvenia Taylor and Green Womack; a daughter, Patsy Womack; two sisters, Bertha Montgomery and Helen Imes; seven brothers, John, I.W., Sonny, Walter, A.C., Charlie, Paul and Ray; also a son-in-law, James Cleveland.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In Loving Memory of Maye Pennella Richardson Hall

She was the second daughter of the late Emma Lou Elder Washington and the late Horace Joseph Richardson, Sr.; their baby girl. Maybe Pennella Richardson was born May 2, 1918 and she passed May 11, 1992; having resided at the same residence from beginning to end. She was the beloved wife of the late James Arthur Hall and devoted sister of the late Albert "A.L.", the late Amel, the late Vanzie Wilhemena and the late Horace Joseph Jr. "Pete". She was the loving mother of Jacquelyn Augusta, Vanzie Catherine, Marvin Othel, and Jimmi Lorraine, grandmother of their ten children and great-grandmother of their nine grandchildren.

Homegoing Services for Stacey Andrea Gordon

Stacy Andrea Gordon was the baby children of 12, born on November 10, 1963 to the late Adam and Susie Marie Hookfin Gordon. On March 8, 2015 she was called to her eternal resting place with our Lord and Saviour.

Stacy was raised in Kentwood, LA. She declared her faith of God at an early age, attending Orange Grove Church of God in Christ (COGIC). She later moved her membership to Emmanuel Church of God in Christ (COGIC) where she was an active and dedicated member. Stacy was involved in many auxiliaries, and formed a great passion for the choir and youth ministries.

She was educated in the Tangipahoa Parish School System and graduated from Kentwood High School. Stacy graduated from the Ruth Cook's Computer School. She became a para-professional at Kentwood Elementary School where she enjoyed working with children. Stacy was employed by Tangipahoa Parish Clerk of Court office. She enjoyed her job; bringing joy and laughter to the her co-worker until declining health led to retirement.

In 1987 Stacy married Jerry Bryant. To this union, daughters Jerrica and Kelsey Bryant were born. Besides these two lovely daughters, both of Kentwood, LA who cherish her memory, Stacy is survived by her four sister; Dorothy Daniel of Houston, TX, Mary A. Harrell of Amite, LA, Bettye J.
Jackson of San Leandro, CA and Sharon Gordon of Missouri City, TX and by her seven brothers; Willie Neal Gordon and Alvin Gordon both of Kentwood, LA, Nolan Gordon, Redger Gordon, Herman Gordon and Chris Gordon all of Houston, TX and Glen Patrick Gordon of Slidell, LA, and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, aunts, uncles and other family members.

Stacy is preceded in death by her parents, Adam and Susie Marie Gordon and her brother, Bobby Gordon. Stacy loved people and her humor brought light in many places. Her laughter will forever be remembered.

The Home Going Celebration for Mae Louise Miller

Mae Louise Miller
Mae Louise Miller was born August 24, 1943 to the late Cain Walls, Sr., and Lela Mae Holden Walls. She was married to Wallace Miller for twenty plus years. She accepted Christ early in her life and attended Orange Grove C.O.G.I.C., then she later joined Deliverance Temple C.O.G.I.C., She truly the Lord.

She was an inspiration to all she met and known for her big smile and caring spirit. Her most precious gift was her motherly love for all children. She also had an open door attitude for all who came to her home.

She traveled to several states on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement speaking and meeting notable people: Martin Luther King, III, Susan Taylor-editor of Essence magazine, the late Dr. Ron Walters, Dr. Ron Daniels, the late Min. Harold Muhammad, Dr. Leonard Dunston, and former Councilman Oliver Thomas.

She appeared in People's magazine (2007), Nightline News, and About Time magazine. She spoke on the Travis Smiley Radio Talk Show, Bev Smith Radio Talk Show, and FM 98 Radio Talk Show, Warren Ballentine Radio Show, and Nurturing Our Roots Television Talk Show with host and producer Antoinette Harrell.

She leaves to cherish her memories; 4 children-Terrine (Christopher) Steele, Burkhalter, Joe (Angela) Hill, Tausha' Steele; all of Kentwood, LA-Kerry (Tamika) Steele of Raleigh, NC; 5 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren, 2 sisters; Annie Miller and Idell Walls of Kentwood, LA; 2 brother; Arthur( Willie Mae) Walls of Varnado, LA and CW Walls of Kentwood, LA; a host of nieces and nephews whom she loved and help raise as her own children, other relatives and friends and a special cousin, Minnie Dillon.

She was preceded in death by her parents Cain Walls, Sr., and Lela Mae Walls, a sister; Ernestine Hills, and a brother Cain Walls, Jr.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Home Going Service For Sister Bertha Vining Oden

Bertha Vining Oden was born on June 9, 1932 tot he late Monroe Vining and Louise Hill Vining in St. Helena Parish. God decided that he needed a beautiful flower to add to his garden so on the morning of September 29, 2015, he called her home where the sweet fragrance of her blossom could be enjoyed by Heaven's Host. Her family and all who knew her have been left with a vid caused by the pain of such a great loss of one who was so loving and dear to them, yet through it all we give thanks to God for having allowed us to share in a life that was beautiful and loving as her's.

Sister Bertha joined Little Bethel Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Willard Vernon. She later attended Butler A.M.E. Zion Church with her niece and great nieces, most recently during her time of illness, she insisted on going to New Hope Baptist Church with her great great nieces until she was hospitalized. Sister Bert leaves to cherish her precious memories: one sister, Mattie Butler of New Orleans, Louisiana; four children she read as her own, Latoya, Daniel and David Butler all of Amite, Louisiana; Kim Muyaka of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; five God-children, Fred Vining of Pontiac, Michigan, Carolyn Watts of San Diego, California, Tyrone Butler of New Orleans, Louisiana, Melvin Martin, Jr., of Baton Rouge, Louisiana., Bradley Nichols of Fort Drum, New York; great/caregiver whom she lived with Mertrell Butler of Amite, Louisiana; great niece, Sheila Addison and great-great nieces, Nikalya Battiste and Nicole Butler who also cared for her as she endured good and bad days; two uncles, Wesley and Charles Vining of New Orleans, Louisiana; one aunt, Betty Jean Nicholson of Houston, Texas. A host of sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Sister Bert was preceded in death by her husband, Allison Oden, Jr., her parents, Monroe and Louise Vining, six brothers: Adam, Vercey, Ercey, Johnny, Willie and Monore; four sisters, Georgia, Lillie, Ethel Mae and Ruby and a beloved niece and nephew, Dorothy Dell Addison and Raymond Vining.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Robert Zanders A Local Musician from Amite, Louisiana

Robert Zanders was born in Amite, Louisiana on December 28, 1910 to Robert and Beatrice Taylor Zanders. Robert was known throughout the Florida Parishes as a gifted musician and often played for various occasion throughout his lifetime.

The Late Leon McKnight, Sr.

Leon McKnight, Sr. was born in Tangipahoa, Louisiana. May 14, 1894, the son of John and Eliza McKnight. He came to Amite in 1928. He remained until his demise. He was a faithful member of Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church.

The Angel of Death visited Bro. McKnight on Sunday, December 27, 1970, he was 76 years, 7 months and 13 days olds.

He leaves to mourn his passing, three daughters; Mrs. Viola Robertson of Hammond, Louisiana, Mrs. Edna Muse of Bogalusa, Louisiana, and Mrs. Katherine Burton of Kentwood, Louisiana; two sons; Wallace and Leon, Jr., Amite, Louisiana; four sisters, two brothers, thirteen grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends. Interment: Butler Cemetery.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

The Late Mrs. Audrey Robinson Curry

Audrey Robinson Curry
Mrs. Audrey Robinson Curry, the wife of Mr. George Curry, was born in Amite, Louisiana, June 21, 1918, the daughter of the late Horace and Virgie Pitts Robinson.

Mrs. Curry was employed by the Tangipahoa Parish School System, where she served as third grade teacher at Westside High School.

She received her formal training at Amite, Rosenwald, Dillon High and Grambling College. She was a member of the Tangipahoa Education Association.

Mrs. Curry was active in civic, social and religious activities. Her heart went out to Zeta Phi Beta and was an example of "Finer" womanhood which Zeta stands.

As a young woman, Audrey, as most of her friends knew her, and church members knew her, was a lovable and adorable person, given her time, talent and energy to her church activities. She was a devoted member of Grant's Chapel A.M.E. Church, where she spent most of her life working in various departments of the church. Mrs. Curry was a leader for the Y.P.W.W., Vice District President of Layman League, and did a great deal of mission work.

After Audrey's marriage to Mr. Curry, she resided in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived happily until her demise. Yet, she she and her mother were able to spend many pleasant hours together and with their friends.

She slipped away quietly in the still of the morning on Monday, September 30, 1968. Surviving Mrs. Curry are; are husband, Mr. George Curry, New Orleans, Louisiana, mother, Mrs. Vergie Robinson; brother, Mr. Johnnie Robinson, and three sister-in-laws, Mrs. Helen Robinson of Amite, La; six aunts, three uncles; one nephew and a host of other relatives.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

In Loving Memories of Delores B. McCormick

Delores Bush McCormick, 31 of 5114 Brooklyn was born June 3, 1943 in Independence, Louisiana. She passed away March 30, 1975. She was united in marriage to Mr. Samuel McCormick on June 1, 1969.

She was employed by the Kansas City Public School District, where she worked at Pasco High School since 1969 as a Vocational Business Teacher.

She was a member of Leonard Chapel A.M.E. Church in Amite, Louisiana. She later joined the Bethel A.M.E. Church on February 22, 1970, where she was a member of the Voices of Bethel Choir. She was member of Celestial Chapter No. 102, Order of Eastern Star, where she held a the post of Past Secretary;

She is survived by her husband, Mr. Samuel McCormick: her mother, Mrs. Vallera Bush; six brothers, Mrs. Charlie Bush, Jr., Mrs. Ray Bush., Mr. Hollis Bush, Sr., Mr. Harold Bush, Mr. George Bush, and the Mr. Amos Bush; and a host of other relatives and friends.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Shirley C. Temple Candidate for State Representative 1971

While reading the push card of candidate Shirley C. Temple for State Representative in 1971. It brings to mind,  today election with Osa Williams and Janice Holland running for the same seat today.

Shirley C. Temple was the wife of Collis Temple, Sr. of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Children in the Sugar Cane Field in Amite, Louisiana

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

West Side School Marching Band Photographs

Photo Credit

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

A Photograph from Amite, Louisiana

Can anyone tell me who this lady and little boys is in this photograph? Please email me at

West Side School in Amite, Louisiana Before Integration

Photo Credit:
Mrs. Clotidle Zanders 
I came across these photographs in the collection of Mrs. Clotidle Zanders. If you are from the Amite, Louisiana., and know some of the people in the photographs, please contact me by email at

This photographs was taken at one of the homecoming games in Amite, Louisiana.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Theodore & Gladys Chapman Dunn Family Reunion

Diedre Gilmore Perryman and Paulette Gilmore Sims
Organizers of the Dunn Family Reunion

Dunn Family Blanket

Carol won the prize
Photo credit
Walter C. Black, Sr.

The Theodore and Gladys Chapman Dunn Family Reunion

Theodore and Gladys Chapman Dunn
This years Dunn family reunion was organized by Paulette Gilmore Sims, the daughter of the late Charlie Gilmore and Ruby Lee Dunn Gilmore. Paulette and her committee organized a one day event that displayed family photographs, the Dunn History, a slideshow presentation and family fun. This years theme was " We Are Our Brother's Keeper".  The reunion was held as Jellystone Park in Robert, Louisiana. 

Theodore Dunn was born in 1906 in Amite County, Mississippi to Hezekiah and Gertrude Atkins Jackson Dunn. According to the oral history of his oldest son Leon Dunn, Sr.,  his father Theodore moved his family to Kentwood, Louisiana in the 1940s. 

Theodore was killed in a truck accident in 1957 in Easlyville, Louisiana. He was a farmer and logger by occupation. He worked hard to save money to purchase the land that is still in the Dunn family today.  To their union of Theodore and Gladys Dunn, eight children was born; Leon Dunn, Sr., Willie Mae Dunn Williams, Gertrude Dunn Perry,  Gena Mae Dunn Chapman, Will Henry Dunn, Charlie Dunn, Theodore Dunn, and Ruby Lee Dunn Gilmore.  Three of their offsprings has passed away: Gertrude Dunn Perry, Charlie Dunn, and Gena Mae Dunn Chapman.
Leon Dunn, Ruby Lee Dunn Gilmore, Theodore Dunn

Hezekiah Dunn and Gertrude was the parents of Bernice Dunn Hampton, Elouise Dunn Collins, Everlee Dunn Clark, Leon Dunn, Theodore Dunn and Otis Dunn.  Gertrude has children by her first husband. The children ware Rufus Jackson and Laura Jackson Banks according to the Dunn Family tree that was complied in 2009. Hezekiah was known by family members as Hizzie.  Leon said that his father Theodore passed down a lot of oral history to him about the Dunn family. He also said his father Theodore told him that that Hezekiah was of Indian descent. 

Hezekiah is the son of Andrew Dunn, no one knew the name of Hezekiah's mother. I checked U. S. census to see if I could locate her. Andrew was listed as a widower. Hezekiah's brother and sisters were listed as Maggie, Malinda, Mary, and Madison. 

Well over a hundred descendants of Theodore and Gladys attend this years family reunion. Lot of home cooked food, homemade ice cream and prizes was given out.  Everyone was so happy to see each other and to meet new family members. Two of Theodore's brother and sister offsprings also was present.

Elouise Dunn Collis and Odis Dunn offsprings express their desire to learn more about their family history. There were discussions of organizing an upcoming event of all eight branches of Hezekiah and Gertrude Dunn.

Looking at the younger generation work to make this years family reunion a success was beautiful.  Some of the family was reflecting on the days when the family reunions was held in grandma Gladys front yard under the two oak trees in Kentwood, La.

Now the younger generation are stepping up to the task and organizing the family reunions to keep the family together. It was so good to see family respecting and sharing love with each other.

Photo Credits
Walter C. Blacks, Sr.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Leo Collins, Sr. and Edwina Collins of Amite, Louisiana

Mr. Leo and Mrs. Edwina Collins

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Robert and Willie Pearl Temple of Amite, Louisiana

Robert and Willie Pearl Temple

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

The Benton Family of Amite, Louisiana

Steve & Rosa Benton
Andre, Pamela, & Gary

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Passing of Betty Steptoe Belton of Amite, Louisiana

Betty Steptoe BeltonMs. Betty Steptoe Belton., a resident of Amite, La passed away on September 10, 2015 at Hood Memorial Hospital at the age of 73. Betty was born on January 10, 1942 to Ralph & Myrtis Steptoe. The Family has asked you join them in Honoring her life. Funeral services are scheduled as follows; Visitation: Thursday September 17, 2015 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Cross Memorial Funeral Home in Amite, La. Funeral: Friday September 18, 2015 for 11:00 am at Butler's Chapel AME Church in Amite, La. Interment will be at Butler's Cemetery in Amite, LA. Arrangements have been entrusted to Cross Memorial Funeral Home of Amite, La. You may send cards, flowers, and sign the guest register right here from our website

Friday, September 11, 2015

Joshua Williams of Amite, Louisiana

Joshua Williams standing
A reprint from the Dixie newspaper 1963.  A new wing of Southern University's natural science building. An electron microscope, one of the new research tools now available at Southern, is operated by Dr. James J. Prestage. Looking on is student Joshua Williams of Amite. Microscope was acquired through a grant.

In Memory of the Zanders Family from Amite, Louisiana

Left to Right: Deloris Levy, Robert Zander, Colitide Zander,
Shawn Levy, the lady on the end unknown
I'm extending a warmhearted appreciation for family of Amite, Louisiana for saving and archiving the history, events and photographs of African American people of Amite, Louisiana?  Mrs. Colitidle preserved the history that we must never forget. After she passed away her daughter the late Deloris Levy inherited the collections and after she passed away.

It was passed on to Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr., and I'm truly humbled that he allowed me to examine and analyze the collections and help get it ready to be archived at Southeastern Louisiana University for the further studies on the history of African American people of the Florida Parishes. We're not doing enough to preserve our enriched history too pass down to the next generation. We're losing property, intellectual properties, family heirlooms, land and other value family resources due to the lack of knowledge and sometime the lack of caring.

I know that Mrs. Colitidle and Ms. Deloris would be happy to know that the collection is being shared and preserved for future studies, thesis, dissertations and other publications to be the lives and studies of African American people of Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes.

Many African American people in the Amite community can recall sweet and lasting memories of Mrs. Coltitlde. Her love for flowers and serving her community was her passion. Preserving our history and educating the youth about their rich history and heritage should be something we all sured pass on. It can help to restore and enhance their self-esteem and self-awareness.  For more information about the pioneers and people who shaped our lives and community, please continue to follow Preserving Our History in Tangiphaoa and St. Helena Parishes.