When I began researching my family history, I was very much interested in the churches that my family attended throughout the generations, as this was the place where families gathered to worship, socialize, to be baptized, held communion, were married, eulogized, and many times buried in the church cemetery. The Family Church series will be a post that I talk about, discuss and share a family church, and possibly its history if available, and the family members that attended this place of worship.
|Mt. Hermon Baptist Church
Porter Family attended for many years
Mt. Hermon, LA is is bordered by Mississippi and about 6 miles away.
After all of this effort, I discovered that I had the right name of the church but the incorrect location. I went online to see if I could find more information, and discovered the church that I had pinpointed as the family church was predominately Caucasian and I was looking for an African American Church.
Diane, the secretary had a conversation with the church clerk, who happened to be the church historian and was a Porter, stated that they never had a Leroy in their family.
My search is still on, and even though this post is incorrect, I want to keep it up, so that other’s will know that all research done is not always accurate, and sometimes must be re-checked. There are so many churches with the same name, locale must always be checked too.
When both of my parents passed, I had access to their address book. I came across Jimmy & Lola Smith’s phone number and decided to call. I spoke with Lola, as Jimmy was performing at a Jazz festival. Lola had expressed that she was recovering from a stroke. Through the years I would hear stories about Lola & Jimmy as my parents kept up with them and one of their children, Michael.
Apparently Michael had lived in San Diego for awhile and had attended the school where my father was Dean.
Jimmy Smith was born on December 8, 1928 and died February 8, 2005. We lost the Jazz Organist Pioneer.
|Signed picture of Jimmy Smith
to Yvette (me)
|Jimmy Smith Obituary|
|(l to r) The Grants, Betty & Walter Porter, Me & Jimmy Smith
I must have really liked Jimmy.
|Lola & Jimmy Smith and Betty Porter at ECC|
Photos by ImageSeed Photography & Mike Norris…All Rights reserved
|Speaking to Staff and some Parents @ Porter Elementary
re: Naming of School and who Dr. Walter Porter was.
Today is the 10th Year Anniversary of my Father’s Passing. It is very difficult for me to do justice in honoring my father in a short and sweet post. It is not like my father was extra-ordinary because he was just a regular guy who sometimes did things in an extra-ordinary way.
During my father’s Celebration of Life Services, there was mention as to naming a building, street, maybe one of the Salvation Army Centers, just name something after him. I thought, “Wow! That would be nice!” Well, in 2003, as I was reading a local newspaper, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, I came across an ad requesting names for the naming of two schools to be built under Proposition MM. (The light-bulb went off!)
“The Campaign for the Naming of a San Diego City School was ON!”
Now why on earth would we name a school after my father? We have other great men (Black men) in San Diego, so why Walter? I think it is because of the Essence of who Walter Porter was, and it was in the heart of the people who knew him and his life, that they chose to have this school named after him.
For those of you that did not know who Walter James Porter was, (known as “Wally” to others) here is a letter my mother wrote for the school naming campaign I organized:
Janet D. Delaney
Director of Community Relations
San Diego City Schools
4100 Normal Street
San Diego, CA 92103
May 28, 2003
Dear Ms. Delaney:
When my beloved, now deceased husband retried from his administrative position with the San Diego Community College District in June 1994, his retirement party was attended by hundreds of people. The Admiral Kidd Club’s large dining room was packed. He received so many plaques and proclamations that the two huge bulletin boards I had constructed in a large room in our house were inadequate to contain them. He received letters of commendation from the (then Republican Governor of California and from the Democratic President of the United States of America.
When, as a long-established nursing home resident, in 2000-2001, for many months, it was noted that Dr. Walter J. (“Wally”) Porter received more guests than had ever been recorded in the history of that institution (and some visited after sign-in hours.)
Hundreds more people packed the Neighborhood House Association at Wally’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service on August 18, 2001. They came from near and far.
Wally belonged to the community. He was devoted to helping as many people as possible. As Mrs. Freddye Jackson, retired principal, once remarked: “He really cared,” and to Wally, the “Community” stretched from the Mexican border to the North County border and far beyond whether he was selling raffle tickets in San Diego or soliciting funds (and getting them) from the Pentagon, he energetically and tirelessly worked on behalf of his community. Whether he was helping an individual solve a problem on a “one-on-one” basis or leading an extremely large group toward a successful altruistic goal, his magnetic personality, genuine warmth, incredible sense of humor and leadership skills accompanied by his rich baritone voice enabled him to “move mountains.”
In addition to working tirelessly as a community college administrator, Wally participated enthusiastically in innumerable organizations. He was a man who didn’t know how to say “No!” Some organizations he worked with for a while. Others appeared to be permanent. In fact, he was dressing to attend a Salvation Army Breakfast Meeting when he suffered his first stroke. (I was at home and called 9-1-1.) A partial list of his organizations follows. (I’m bound to leave some out, since he was active in Los Angeles before we moved here in 1968-1969 with our family).
(My daughter has sent you Wally’s resume, so I won’t repeat all that).
Partial List -San Diego Community College Administrator’s Association
-Charter member, San Diego Southeast Rotary Club
-President, San Diego Chapter, N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Educator’s Breakfast and Parade Committee
-Starlight Musical Theater Board of Directors
-Salvation Army Advisory Board
-La Jolla Playhouse Advisory Board
-Alpha Pi Chapter, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity
-Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
-Tema, Ghana (Africa) Sister City Society
-100 Black Men (National Coalition) San Diego Chapter
-San Diego Museum of Art, African Arts Committee
-San Diego Catfish Club
-Mentor for San Diego Links-“An affair of Honor.” (Yearly event)
In spite of (the above) and many other endeavors, Wally found time to be a loving husband and father. He always had time for us, individually and together.
Dr. Walter J. (Wally) Porter is as fine a role model as has ever been born. The Community of San Diego deserves to have a school named in his honor.
(Mrs.) Betty M.P. Porter
If you want to more about Walter: Click on the links below:
Even though my father has been physically gone from this earth, I feel his Spirit daily. I found myself trying to walk in my father’s shoes and did not give my self a chance to breathe. Now I have found my own calling, and am free to be who I am.
My father had his ashes buried at sea..So the School is a wonderful testament and memorial to his life.
The School Naming Committee unanimously voted to name a school after Dr. Walter Porter, and then the San Diego Unified School Board District voted unanimously to name a school after Walter Porter. So….
|Formerly Kennedy Elementary School|
We Formed a Foundation, Raised some monies for some projects & Had 1st Annual Gala Honoring Community Leaders
Had A Second Gala & Honored Community Leaders
|Willie G, Yvette Porter Moore, Donnell Johnson|
|Yvette Porter Moore|
|Yvette Porter Moore|
|Painting donated by Porter Family Estate|
Jack Porter was born on May 16, 1908 and died in September of 1984. I vaguely remember meeting my Uncle Jack. He was my father’s oldest half Brother born to Harrison and Pearl Porter in East Carroll, Lake Providence, Louisiana. My Father talked very well of Jack. Going through papers, I found this newspaper clipping of Jack…Not sure what paper it was in but was from the Los Angeles, Carson area. My search will be to find out what local newspaper it was in like the Sentinel Black Newspaper.
I remember my grandmother Helen Bunn mentioning Jack fishing and bringing them fish back whenever he went. I just think this is a great shot of him with the fish he caught and I am sure my grandmother cleaned it and prepared it for him, as she did on many occasions.
I recently connected with family on the Porter side that knew Jack and spoke with his wife recently. I am planning on taking a trip to Las Vegas to collect and record stories of my Uncle’s life from his son that he adopted from a family member….(soon to be revealed to me.)
This essay written by my daughter Vanessa is a treasure of my heart..As I was reading, tears welled up because my father loved to dance and to know that my daughter Vanessa experienced and will always remember her dance with her grandfather. Reminds me of “Dance With My Father,” by Luther Vandross.
Prompt Title: An Adult I Admire
Directions for Writing: There are many adults who have played an important part in your life. Pick one adult who may have helped, supported, or encouraged you. Write an essay about this person.
|The Second and Final
Father Dance with her Grandfather
(pardon all misspellings)
I will never forget how my extra nice helpful grandpa taught me how to dance. It was in 1994 in Kindergarten on a Friday at 3:30 to 9:00. I was at Highlands Elementary at the Father Dauter dance.
It all started when I just about imbarressed my grandpa. I was dancing with 4 brades in my hair. I was short like a big dog. That night I was wearing a prettey vieolet dress that went to my neas. My grandpa was tall wearing his nice strait picth black suit that was so cool. I was out there dancing with me grandpa all of a sudden my hands were swinging my legs were jumping off the floor my Four long brades were not still they were swinging like snakes moving a lot.
My grandpa saw how I was dancing. He started to dance like me excsept he looked funnyer. I asked him, “Why are you dancing funny?” He said, “Because it gives me alot of energy to teach you how to dance, and I wanted to dance esaclly as my baby.” I asked my grandpa if he can teach me how to dance before he did loose all his energy.”
He grabed one of my hands, told me to put my leg and move it to the right, then he told me to swich them to the left. Step by step he was teachng me how to do things. Before the fun night was over he told me that I will be a pro-
…dancer from him, and when he said that I repeated what he said. My grandpa taught me how to get his finger in one of his hand and let him twirl me like a hurrcane, and also taught me how to fall back in his arms and not fall. Imagine me that little dancing like a woman. My grandpa picked me skinny little hips up and through me in the air like a pizza getin cooked by a cooker, and caught me. He also taught me how to do the election slide. The second time we did it I fell on my shoe lace and started all over again. My grandpa just about taught me 6 dances and more.
I ispire my grandfather because he taught me how to dance he also loved me more than money. He tooked care of me I want to be just like him when I’m a grandparent. I will hopefully teach my grandkids and be a good person just like him!!!