Tag Archive | African American

Harlem-Sugar Hill, New York Family Research Trip

This is the first trip I took to dig a little deeper into the life of my mother and her parents.  The trip was life-changing for me. Here is a slide show presentation that I did for research group, “The African American Genealogical Research Group.”  It is very long, but I hope you enjoy it.

Amanuensis Monday: There’s REAL Progress in San Diego

     A few years ago, the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database was offering free access for a week.  I took advantage of it and inputted family and close friends of the family names to see what articles I would find.  I had found about 80 articles that I felt were relevant to my family and historical research.
     The article below had my father “Wally Porter” and my Uncle, “Henry Hodge” along with some of the community leaders of San Diego that I knew, of which I bolded their names.

Wash’s Wash
Col Leon H. Washington Jr.
Los Angeles Sentinel (1946-2005); Feb 11, 1971
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Sentinel: 1934-2005
pg. A6

Wash’s Wash
       There’s REAL Progress in San Diego
                                Col. Leon H. Washington. Jr.
   
     Several days ago I rode down to San Diego to see some old friends and to get a firsthand view of the growing city and its community activities.  Accompanying me on the trip was my assistant, Bill Robertson.
     I was amazed at the building program now under way.  In practically every commercial area of the city you will find ultramodern facilities going up.
     The recently built 1-1/2 mile toll bridge is a sight to behold,as the beautiful man-made island that has several famous-name restaurants on it.  The new airport is practically in the heart of the city.  There is no doubt that San Diego is fast becoming one of California’s most progressive cities.
     Many years ago when I used to go to San Diego there were few Negroes in the city.  Now, I am told, there are more than 60,000 Negroes residing in the town.
     My longtime friend, Atty. Al Montgomery, told me Negroes are really advancing and obtaining better paying jobs than ever before, in spite of the tight job situation.  Like in most places in recent years they had to do a bit of protesting and voicing their demands.
     Montgomery, according to a reliable source, is reported in line for a judgeship.  The longtime Republican is one of the most prominent attorneys in the state.  I hope the governor appoints him very soon.
     Leon Williams, a very likeable young man, is the only Negro city councilman there.  Report on him is that he is doing a commendable job as a lawmaker.
     We saw Wally Porter, a former Angeleno, who now lives there and is with the San Diego Adult School System.  Also learned that Henry Hodge is making his home there and is holding a big county position.
     Understand there are quite a number of young lawyers, teachers and administrators there now who formerly lived in Los Angeles, Porter and Hodge are said to be among the top young men of leadership in the city.
     While at Montgomery’s law office, my old friend H.W. Ragsdale came in.  He is the owner of the Anderson-Ragsdale Funeral Home.  He was looking fine and is still active in the progressive community programs.  He told me that confirmation for approval of San Diego’s first black bank had recently been made.
     The proposed directors and organizers of the Community Bank of Sand Diego are: Richard A. Bland, who is also president of the Logan Heights Realty Board; George Walker Smith, member of the San Diego School Board; Charles T. Robinson, captain of the San Diego Fire Dept.; Hartwell W. Ragsdale, Atty. Alpha Montgomery, Mrs. Valleta Linnette, San Diego faculty member and Hayward Bland, real estate investor.
     The trip was most delightful and I was pleased to see some of my old friends and spend the day looking at progress being made in the border city that will benefit the majority of its residents and visitors.
     The community progress campaign continues!

Document Day: Sylvester W. Carter Death Certificate

     Sylvester Wallace Carter was born on May 15, 1880 and died according to his North Carolina Certificate on June 2, 1943 at 6:00am of a cerebral hemorrhage.  The River Funeral Home provided its services of care. He was buried next to his second wife Olivia W. Martin at Evergreen Cemetery in New Bern, NC On June 4, 1943.
   
     At the time of Sylvester’s death, he was married to his third wife Izora (Whittington) Carter who was my 1st cousin 2x removed.  Sylvester’s parents are listed as Henry & Harriett Carter.  The informant was Sylvester’s son Caswell M. Carter from his second marriage with Olivia W. Martin. 
Sylvester W. Carter Death Certificate
Ancestry.com

Sylvester W. Carter
Evergreen Cemetery, New Bern NC
findagrave.com

Document Day: Sylvester W. Carter WWI Draft Registration Card

     “Document Day” is a daily post for any day of the week.  I have a large saved collection of Shoebox Documents from Ancestry.com to be evaluated over time as I am building my family tree.  I felt it necessary to share  and post what I have so that it might be helpful to myself and to those who might be searching the same surnames in the same locale.  

Sylvester W. Carter-WWI Draft Registration Card
Ancestry.com

     Sylvester W. Carter was the husband of my 1st Cousin 2x removed, Izora C. Whittington (1884-1974).


     Sylvester was born May 15, 1880, and was a resident of New Bern, Craven Co., North Carolina on September 12, 1918 when he completed his WWI Registration Card .  


     At the time of his registration, Sylvester was married to Olivia W. Martin.  According to their marriage certificate on FamilySearch.org, they were married on May 15, 1907.


     Sylvester was listed as Negro, Native Born.  He also was listed as being of a medium height, medium build, and having Brown eyes and black hair


     Sylvester was a Carpenter for a company in New Bern, Craven, NC. (Had difficulty making out the name of the company he worked for.)

Document Day: Tom Paulette World War I Registration Card

Tom Paulette
My Paternal Great Grandfather
(Photo from Debra Mitchell)

     My Great Grandfather Tom Paulette was born on February 17, 1873.  On September 12, 1918, Tom registered and completed a World War I Registration Card.  Tom was 45 years old at the time.  He was living in Schlater, Leflore County, Mississippi with his wife Georgie [Howard] Paulette.  His occupation at the time was that of a farmer.  His employer was R.B. Scheaten.  Tom was of a medium height and slender built.  He had grey eyes and Black Hair.

     Tom Paulette was my dad’s (Johnny Roy Mitchell) Grandfather.

WWI Reg Card-Side #1
Ancestry.com

WWI Reg. Card-Side #2
Ancestry.com

Copyright
The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan
Photo from Time.com



 A treasure is a thing or a person highly valued.  I believe that what is considered valuable may vary from one person to another.  I have been on this long journey to learn more about my mother, and in doing so, I have been reaching out to people I would not normally contact.  One of those such persons was Alan Greenspan.  Alan Greenspan is the former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board, which oversees the Federal Reserve Bank from 1987 until 2006.  


Before I went to New York for my research trip, I was interested in learning more about my mother’s High School. My mother attended George Washington High School located in the neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan, NY.  So as I was searching the internet, I came across Wikipedia that had a listing of noted individuals that attended GW High.  On the list was Henry Kissinger, Harry Belafonte and Alan Greenspan.  I had remembered my mother stating that she attended the same school with Alan, but she was not too keen on him, so I did not push her.  


So, I decided to locate Alan Greenspan, and this is the transcribed letter I wrote him:


September 7, 2009


Mr. Alan Greenspan
Greenspan Associates
Washington DC 20036


Mr. Greenspan:


My name is Yvette Porter Moore and I am doing research for a book that incorporates some of the writings of my late mother, Betty Mae Peters who was born in Manhattan, New York in 1926.  She grew up in the Sugar Hill area to to 1950 at which time she moved to Los Angeles.  My mother attended Washington High School and was a graduate of NYU.


During my research for the book, I discovered that you were born in 1926, raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood and also attended the same schools as my mother.  These little known facts really intrigued me, and this is when I read a short biography about you online.  My mother spoke of the cultures that resided in the neighborhood.  I remember her telling me she went to school where it was predominately Jewish.  I could truly see the cultural influences of her upbringing as I was exposed to Kosher foods growing up and also lived in a predominately Jewish neighborhood in San Diego, California.  My mother was fond of the Jewish culture.


My mother also stated that she resided in “Sugar Hill” and that it was considered a posh African American neighborhood that has deep historical roots during the period of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve also read her journal that made mention of World War II, and the Air Raid drills that occurred in New York.  My mother was going to write a book of her memoirs in Manhattan, but she died before her dream was realized.  As her daughter, it is my desire to writer her story.


This is why I have written you this letter.  I humbly come to you requesting that you would share with me, from your perspective what Manhattan was like growing up.  What were the race relations between the Jews and the Blacks during the 30’s 40’s and early 50’s?  I would like to know what the environmental landscape was in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  I understand that we may never meet but anything you can share with me would not only be wonderful, but I would be eternally grateful to you.


I am including my mother’s obituary in hopes that you will feel compelled to write me back personally or possibly call me. [Contact info removed for privacy].  If you would like to meet in person, please also let me know so I can arrange my travel. I appreciate anything that you can do to help.


Humbly Written,


Yvette Porter Moore


Mr Greenspan responded to my request quickly:

September 18, 2009
Dear Ms. Moore,
Your letter brought back many memories.  I wish I had the time to sit back and chat about my growing in Washington Heights, but my schedule is so tight that I am unable.
My best wishes on your project


Sincerely yours,
Alan Greenspan 

Even though he graciously declined my opportunity to interview him, I decided to read his books.  By doing so, I learned as much as I would have if I had the chance to speak with him.  I feel that this note is treasure for my chest as he still gave me well wishes for my continuing project, (this is how I took it) because no matter how disappointed I was, he did respond back to me.

Copyright
The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Halloween Decorations Forever

Christine Gilliard Culley
January 3, 1930-September 1, 2009


Forest Green Park Cemeteries & Mausoleums
Morganville, New Jersey
Grave 34D: Row E, Grave 10
(Volunteer post on Find-A-Grave)


     In June of 2010, I went to New York for a family research trip to find out more about my mother, Betty Mae Peters life growing up in Sugar Hill.  I also went with the  purpose of finding and visiting my mother’s first cousin, Christine G. Culley, who is the only child of Violet Jones & Wendell P. Culley, a trumpet player who played in Count Basie’s band. 

     I was saddened by the fact, that when I arrived at her apartment (she had lived there since her birth), that she had passed 9 months prior to my arrival.  I realized that it was going to take me some time to find out who handled her affairs, and get more information on who Christine Culley was.  

     Within a few months, I was able to make a connection with the executor (Karen) of her estate, thanks to the owner of the apartment.  Since that time, Karen and I have kept in touch, as she has become most helpful to me and the history of Christine & her family.

     I have found Christine to have been an interesting soul, and pray that she is resting in peace.



(Portion of an email sent to me by Karen) 

August 31, 2010

She loved all holidays — but Halloween was an esp. fav of hers, and I’m sure much of that was connected with its spiritual associations.  She frequently joked about still having the decorations up all over apt. — it became a running joke with us, and why I felt (unconventional Bohemian that she is) it would please her to have the headstone read “Halloween decorations forever” (although I didn’t discuss the headstone with her since the brief discussion I precipitated on the subject upset her…but I had to get some idea of her wishes).

 Chris had vaguely indicated she would like a priest (the local parish ended up graciously giving her a FULL high mass, even bringing in an organist and singer who performed one of her favs and mine, Schubert’s Ave Maria— 3 of the nuns closest to her and I were her pall bearers; I also half-teased if she’d also like a wicha service and she’d brightened:  “THAT would be nice, too!” but we feared her befriended nuns would be scandalized, LOL) — and that she wanted to be buried “somewhere with a lot of nature and green” (not much to go on, LOL) — but it was indeed comforting to see all the trees and wild geese strutting around the grounds out there when the day came.

A few of the 200 photos sent to me of Christine’s apartment



Wendell Culley’s trumpet in the background


More about Christine (Past Post)


Yes, Christine may have been different than the “norm” but isn’t that what makes our family stories so rich with flavor?


Copyright

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011