Tag Archive | San Diego

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!

Sympathy Saturday: Jimmy Smith (The Jazz Organist)

     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
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

Those Places Thursday: Jazz from Copenhagen, Denmark to San Diego, California

Every year Henry Hodge, my father’s best friend from St. Louis, Missouri would go to Copenhagen for the Jazz Festival, spend time with his girlfriend, and Jazz Artist Friends.

Henry has a collection of the yearly Copenhagen Jazz Festival Postcards, so I decided to post a few of them as there are too many to share.

While in Copenhagen, Henry Hodge met Jazz artists such as Ed Thigpen.  An American drummer that played with Oscar Peterson Trio and many other greats.  Ed moved to Copenhagen in 1972.

Ed Thigpen’s Obituary

Ed Thigpen was born December 28, 1930 and died January 13, 2010.

Richard Boone was another artist my uncle, Henry Hodge met and socialized with in Copenhagen.  Richard Boone was also an American Jazz artist and a Scat singer that moved to Copenhagen.  

Richard Boone was born February 24, 1930 and died February 8, 1999.

More about Richard Boone

My Father Dr. Wally Porter, Richard Boone, Ed Thigpen, Henry Hodge
Photo from the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper
Ed Thigpen & Richard Boone

Ed Thigpen & Richard Boone came to San Diego a few times to visit.  I distinctly remember one Summer when they came to visit Henry Hodge at his home in the the late 80’s.

It was customary for Henry to have a Summer gathering, and these were his special guests.  I was familiar with Ed Thigpen and Richard Boone as I would hear conversations among my parents and Henry.  My father Wally Porter and Henry Hodge had been entertaining jazz artists in their homes through the years, and I am so appreciative that I have been exposed to this.

Ed Thigpen & my mother Betty Porter
Henry Hodge, Richard Boone, unidentified gentleman
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

Military Monday: Letter to a Son

Marshall Walter Porter
U.S. Air Force
March 1985

(6 Years Later)


Jan 14, 1991

Dear Marshall:

I want you to know that you are kept in my prayers.  I want you to know how proud I am of the way you are taking on the responsibility of a service person who might go to war.

I was in your position during the Korean War.  I was called upon to go into service and I did.  I trained and could have been sent to fight, in a place I knew very little.  I had the good fortune to be stationed in California, so I did not have to fight.

As an adult, you will be called upon to do things for which you have strong feeling against doing, but duty calls.  You will be asked to go into battle and you might not know the reasons for fighting, but duty calls.

There is a certain amount of fear involved in going into the unknown.  Feel the fear, because it is natural.  Just don’t let the fear interfere with doing the things for which you have been trained.

I called my Congressman today in Washington, to let him know that I think that America should not rush into war.  I wanted him to know that we should wait on the sanctions to have an effect on the life of the people in Iraq.  The sanctions could end the conflict without a war.

War may come, and you may be caught up in it.  Keep the faith.  Know that we love you and will do whatever we can for your family if something should happen to you.

God bless you, and may his light shine upon you and keep you safe,


Saturday, we had the Martin Luther King Parade downtown.  A big group of people demonstrated for peace.  Today, the largest peace demonstration was held since the Viet Nam War.

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

Sundays Obituary: Betty Mae Peters Porter

My mother Betty Porter had 2 obits in two different newspapers.  Jack Williams, always did an extensive obituary on anyone noteworthy for the San Diego Union-Tribune.  He was offered an early retirement and took it in 2007.  The other Obituary was in the African American Local Newspaper, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.  I thought I would include both as they both are somewhat different.  I believe my mother’s sister-friend Vira Williams wrote the one in the V & V.

Published in SD Voice & Viewpoint
Written by Vira Williams

Betty Mae Peters Porter was born in New York City on November 17, 1926 to Agnes Cully and Charles I. Peters.  She was an only child.  Betty grew up in the “Sugar Hill” area of New York City where she attended George Washington High School.  Always an organizer and socialite, Better and her life time friend, Marilyn “Mickey” Sullivan formed and belonged to a club during their childhood called the “149 Street Queens.”  

Her mother, Agnes was a well known seamstress and fashion designer.  Her clients included Marian Anderson, Betty Davis, Barbara Rush, Joan Crawford and other celebrities.  Betty often modeled in her mother’s fashion shows in New York City.

Betty was an excellent student. She received a dual bachelor’s degree in English an Journalism from New York University in 1947.  Her skills and clever talents in writing were evident in her unique holiday letters received by friends and relatives.  Betty and her mother moved to Los Angeles, where her Aunt Zara Cully Brown was an actress, also known as “Mother Jefferson” in the television sitcom “The Jeffersons” (starring Sherman Hemsley and Isabelle Sanford).

While in Los Angeles, Betty received her California Credential from Los Angeles State College, and attended Pepperdine University, where she received her Master of Arts degree in Multicultural Education.  Betty became very popular and active in the social and political circles of the Los Angeles Community.  Betty taught at Rosewood Elementary School and later founded the Friendship Guild where she was President.  This was an elite organization of women who remained Betty’s dearest friends throughout her life.

In 1957, Betty met and married the late Dr. Walter J. Porter.  They moved to San Diego, CA in 1969, and became very active in the field of education, musical and civic affairs.  They also became the proud parents of two loving children.  Betty taught classes for the Gifted & Talented students at the elementary school level in the San Diego City Schools for many years, retiring in 1992.  She was an avid reader, and an excellent cook.  A “gathering at the Porter household was always a special treat. She was always supportive of “Wally’s” numerous activities as she shared forty-four memorable years with him until his death in 2001.  She also enjoyed spending time with her seven grandchildren.

Betty was a member of the San Diego Tema Sister Society, the African Art Committee, the chapel of awareness in Encinitas and was an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Silver Star,(Epsilon Xi Omega Chapter).  Betty was a breast cancer survivor who tried to impress on others the importance of yearly exams.  She suffered a massive stroke on Christmas Eve, which took her life.

Betty Porter leaves to mourn two children, Marshall Porter of Houston, TX,. Yvette Porter-Moore of Spring Valley, CA,. Seven grandchildren, Keith Porter, Vanessa Moore, Michael Moore, Victoria Porter of San Diego, Candice Porter, Kyle Porter & Kayla Porter of Houston, Tx., and a host of family members and friends.  We will miss her great sense of humor and her infectious laugh.  If you look in the sky, you will see two bright, new stars-Betty and Walter porter continuing their eternal party together.

The “Celebration of Lie Services,” will be held, Saturday, January 24, 2004 from 4:00pm-7:00pm at the South Crest Arts Cultural Center, 4120 Alpha Street, San Diego, CA 92113.

In lieu of flowers & cards, donation can be sent to the Walter J. Porter Educational & Community Foundation, 1314 Sangamon Avenue, Spring Valley, CA 91977.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

JANUARY 23, 2004
Section: LOCAL
Edition: 1,2,6,7
Page: B-6


Betty Mae Porter 
educator, writer and civic activist

If Betty Mae Porter hadn’t found her niche teaching gifted and talented children, she might have made her mark as a journalist.

As a dual English and journalism major at New York University in the late 1940s, she had visions of writing for a newspaper. But the racial barriers of the era made it difficult to find a job, said her daughter, Yvette Porter-Moore.

Mrs. Porter turned to elementary education instead, beginning a career that brought her to the San Diego Unified School District in 1969. Before retiring in 1992, she had taught at four schools in the city’s gifted and talented education program.

She died of complications from a stroke Jan. 5 at San Diego Hospice, her daughter said. Mrs. Porter was 77.

A writer for much of her life, Mrs. Porter impressed family and friends with her language skills and her vivid letters, which became a holiday tradition. She had started compiling her memoirs before her death, recording her life story in notes and audio tapes.

“It’s something I might finish as a family project,” her daughter said.

Along with her husband, fellow educator Walter J. Porter, Mrs. Porter was active in several community organizations. Her husband, who died in August 2001, had been dean of the Mid-City Continuing Education Center.

An elementary school bearing his name is scheduled to open in 2005 in southeastern San Diego, his daughter said.

Proud of her African-Amerian heritage, Mrs. Porter served on the African Arts Committee of the San Diego Museum of Art and was active in the San Diego-Tema Sister City Society. The latter was formed to adopt Tema, Ghana, as an African sister city to San Diego.

Mrs. Porter‘s memberships included the Episilon Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

In April, Mrs. Porter was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that had killed her mother. Through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, she regained her health.

“She said she wanted to spend the rest of her life promoting cancer awareness and encouraging women to get mammograms,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Porter, a Del Cerro resident for more than 30 years, was born in New York City.

Growing up in affluent Sugar Hill in northern Manhattan, she co-founded a social club, “149th Street Queens.” Her mother, Agnes Peters, designed fashions for a celebrity clientele that included Marian Anderson, Bette Davis, Barbara Rush and Joan Crawford.

Mrs. Porter often modeled her mother’s fashions in New York City before moving to Los Angeles. Although her roots were on the East Coast, she had an aunt in Los Angeles, Zara Cully Brown, an actress who played the role of the feisty Mother Jefferson in “The Jeffersons” TV series.

While living in Los Angeles, Mrs. Porter earned a California teaching credential at Los Angeles State College and a master’s degree in multicultural education at Pepperdine University.

She began her teaching career at Rosewood Elementary School in Los Angeles. After moving to San Diego, she taught at various times at Encanto Elementary, Stockton Elementary, Sunset View Elementary and Lindbergh-Schweitzer Elementary.

Survivors include her daughter, Yvette Porter-Moore of Spring Valley; son, Marshall Porter of Houston; and seven grandchildren.

A celebration of life is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at Southcrest Arts and Cultural Center, 4120 Alpha St., San Diego.

Donations are suggested to the Walter J. Porter Educational & Community Foundation, 1314 Sangamon Ave., Spring Valley, CA 91977.

Jack Williams

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

Amanuensis Monday: NAACP Sets KKK Action

My Father was the President of the San Diego Local Chapter of the NAACP in 1976.  I was 8 years old at the time.

[Transcribed from Los Angeles Sentinel, Dec. 16, 1976]

A multi-pronged plan of action to deal with the current crisis at Camp Pendleton involving the Ku Klux Klan and black Marines has been announced by NAACP leadership following a special meeting attended by National Regional NAACP staff and branch members from San Diego.

     The special meeting was called in response to regional request for information regarding the state of affairs related to the incidents, according to Mrs. Virna M. Canson, Regional Director.
     “We have received numerous requests for information and investigation,” Canson said.  “The immense scope of this problem calls for the co-operative efforts of our Region and National offices.”
     The groups set as a first priority an investigation to determine if there is adequate defense of the black Marines.
     “Regional legal representatives will take immediate steps to ascertain the quality of legal representation the black Marines have at this time,” Canson said.
     Wally Porter, president of the San Diego Branch NAACP, called for the 14 black Marines to be removed from confinement.
     “We are hard put to understand how white Klansmen have been disbursed to other bases and have freedom of movement while blacks are being held in confinement,” Porter declared.
     “It is not our purpose to suggest guilt or innocence, we do believe, however, there exist procedures which would be more equitably applied.”
National NAACP’s Acting Director of Branch and Field Administration William Penn, said, “We at the National office will lend any support possible to the efforts of the NAACP in this area.”
     In other action the group called for a Congressional investigation and constituted the local Board as a committee of the whole toward this action.
Porter commended the San Diego Urban League and its director Clarence Pendleton for their efforts in bringing this matter to the forefront.
     “We welcome support from any other organizations who may wish to work with NAACP in its comprehensive attacks,” Porter said.
     Interested persons may contact him at (714) 236-9078.

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