From Colored to Negro to Black by Joseph Summers - HTML preview

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Chapter One Waiting for the Next Taylor


The room was full as all those present were waiting with cautious excitement. They all were gathered together for another memorable family event when another Taylor would enter the world. In one corner of the room was Grandmother Taylor who was now looking toward her 70th birthday and had already seen her son Little Tom and daughter Frances be added to the Taylor clan. She had also seen her Tom have two daughters who had the rich complexion of milk chocolate. Tom also had a son who was dark but handsome and was the apple of his grandmother’s eye. Pearl set next to her grandmother as she gently combed her long white hair. That hair, that had been so Black and straight when Grandmother Taylor was a young girl and danced across the ballroom floor as the envy of every girl in town. 


It was some 53 years earlier in the late spring of 1930 that Angela Mims entered the hall with Thomas Taylor to the tune of Moon River as they were crowned Mr. and Ms. Booker T Washington High. It was the same Thomas Taylor who had escorted her to the Cotillion. It was the same Thomas Taylor who had escorted her to the homecoming game and the same Thomas Taylor that she had dreamed of marrying. He with his kind and gentle smile while being driven to be the next great Colored attorney in Riverside. In fact there had been only one other Colored Attorney in Riverside and that was his father. It was as if they were destined to be together as her father, the Rev Moses Mims has always understood the importance of having his daughter only date the most eligible bachelor in the town. From the time that Thomas’s father made Moses Mims pastor of the First Baptist Church, Moses Mims knew that he wanted the best for his daughter. He made sure that Angela set in the same row with young Thomas at Church and made sure that they set at the same head table for dinner after the Sunday revival.  This was easy as Thomas was the head deacon and had been head deacon for more than 20 years. During this time the family had become as one, controlling the church and the town of Riverside or at least the Colored section of the southern town.


As the sun slowly went down along the hillside, Grandmother Taylor set quietly waiting on the next Taylor. She had already decided that this child would be another clog in the wheel of the Taylor clan and was predestined for great things. While she may not be there, she had already put in motion all of the resources needed for the yet to be born Taylor.


It was in the year 1930 that Thomas Taylor JR. graduated from Booker T Washington High and was to follow in his father’s footsteps to go to Howard University in Washington DC. It was at this school that his father Thomas Sr. had come some 30 years earlier to become the first to graduate from high school and college in his family. A family that had its roots on the old Mississippi plantation of The Taylor family not far from the town of Riverside. He remembered his father telling him stories of his grandparents and their days on the plantation as slaves. He remembered stories of how his grandparents became sharecroppers and stayed on the land even though they could leave after the war between the States.


His grandfather had said that he did not know nothing about any place else and felt just right staying at the only place he had ever called home. He remembered stories of how his grandfather worked the cotton and soy bean fields day and night to take care of his family of 3 boys and 3 girls. How his grandfather made sure that his youngest son learned how to read and write and go to school so he would not have to work the fields. How his grandfather purchased 40 acres and it grew into 200 acres of land. How his grandfather worked so much that he was able to open a store in the colored section of town. Yes this grandson of a slave and whose father was able to go to Howard University in that far away city of Washington DC and come back to run the family store and become the only Colored attorney in middle Mississippi.