I was raised by powerful women! My mother, Julia Mae Burton was born in rural Oklahoma in about 1923. DOB Records were very sketchy for African American/Cherokee females after the trail of tears in Oklahoma territory! While I, on the other hand, was born in Los Angeles,Ca. on Jan.4th,1944.
One of my fondest and earliest memories was being very surprised when my foster grandmother, Missionary Jesse Lee Harris who I would guess was about 50 years of age when I was 5. I remember the two of us boldly walking into the front door of a printing business in a Bryant,Texas.This was a time of separate water fountains and backdoor entrances for people of color to places of business! Imagine my amazement when ‘Mother’ Harris and I walked into this shop and she proceeded to walk behind the counter! At that time,I had never seen a black person behind the counter of a white owned business! Without hesitation, she told me to have a seat as I watched her sit down and place a slender wooden box on her lap and begin to arrange what looked like pieces of metal but was, as I later discovered, led type alphabet which the printer used to spell out the words when printing the songbooks which we published and sold at religious gatherings, conventions around the south! I was a full grown adult before I learned that this amazing woman was not only setting type for songbooks which the owner of the print shop printed for her to sell at these conventions. I suddenly realized that to set the type correctly, the words and sentences had to be spelled and placed backwards into the little troughs in order for the words to be legible when printed on the pages of the songbook! How my grandmother taught herself to spell the entire book backwards and then set type that way was a shock to me even as an adult!
There are scientist and Epigenetic experts with whom I agree like Dr. Bruce Lipton author of’The Biology Of Belief’, who have proven that adopted children take on the genetic blueprints of their adopted parents! I am positive close association with this powerful woman has affected my personal growth and my ability to learn! I am told by those who know much more than I, that A child is taught most of what it will know by the time that it is 7 years of age! But I digress!
I was passed back and forth between my mother and grandmother,in part, because for as long as I can remember mother functioned as a missionary for her church, taking food and clothing to the impoverished in Africa!
I remember my mother and I living in the servants quarters of a wealthy white family,named the Whitakers. Mom came home very excited one day because she had responded to the doorbell to find a police officer standing there who announced that Dale Evans and Roy Rogers had arrived for a visit! For those not old enough to know Roy & Dale, he was one of the first and most popular singing cowboys. I remember that his horse was a fabulous Palomino named Trigger!
It was with much pride that my mother,Julia Mae Burton saved her money as a maid and paid her way through Cosmetology school and then went to work in a black owned hair salon! She then worked hard and continued to save until she paid her way through nursing school and became what was then called a Licensed Practical Nurse!
My mom was not finished! She then attended Pacific Lutheran College, in Tacoma, Washington, getting a degree in education and became a full time school teacher for the Tacoma school district until her retirement!
A few years ago I was applying for a job and one of the questions asked at the interview was, “Do you think that you can work with powerful women! My answer was , I WAS RAISED BY POWERFUL WOMEN!
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