Sunday, January 24, 2016

An Extraordinary Woman

Thanks to my friend Caroll for inviting us both to the birthday party for a member of her Detroit History Club. Not just any party, but a hundred and second birthday party. That is so rare that I don't even know how to type it.

Betty graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College. She entertained W. E. Du Bois in her living room. Her late husband was a member of the renowned Tuskeegee Airmen.  Betty taught in the Highland Park School system when it too was renowned and extremely well funded thanks to the tax base from the automotive industry. And did I mention she taught Latin?

I had met Betty before and I wish I had known her more. How did an Afro-American woman attend Wellesley at that period in her nation's history? The article I referenced above describes much of the grim background of that time.

Here she was last Thursday, chattering away to Ernie about Latin and some of their common friends (after all, it was 50 years ago that Ernie came and began teaching at Wayne State.) Her mind is still sharp and it is only very recently that she has moved into an assisted care facility.

Spending time with her and some other members of the History Society was an honor. Detroit needs more teachers like Betty.

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