Black History Month: Strong Women

Black History Month: Strong Women

Two of the women who were very helpful to Weakley County were Mama Randle and Betty Lawler. 

Mama fed more kids than you can count. Mrs. Lawler made clothes that were given to kids who could not afford to buy them. She taught piano and voice and was the choir director at Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Mrs. Randle was also a midwife for those who didn’t have the money for a doctor’s fee or if the doctor was not able to make the call.

Zoda May Sanders was a nurse, mortician, hairdresser and also a notary public. Ella Busby was a part owner of Busby Enterprises. She was known for her fine furs of black mink and silver blues, fur-trimmed hats, latest model cars and that mouth of gold teeth and a smile as big as all outdoors. 

Mrs. Vera Taylor, who had a large home, would keep kids from out of town, namely Inez Shane of Greenfield and Pearl White of Dresden. She had a well kept and orderly home. 

Pearl Hayes was one of the most dedicated and determined constructive teachers that Weakley County Training School ever had. If you passed from her 8th grade class, you had high school qualifications. She was an accomplished pianist and was the voice and choir director for Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church for many years. 

There is a monumental sign with her portrait at 353 Fulton St. given by Col. Bob and Gwen Smith. The portrait has been beautifully done by Les MacDiarmid. 

My thoughts often remind me of “Marvelous” Martha Chandler who was the mother of John, Will, Joe, James, Edd, Solomon, Robert “Kid” Chandler, Homer J., Fanny May and Carrie Willard.

Mrs. Martha was ruler of the roost. Their father was a quiet man who didn’t have to worry about the kids. They knew not to cross and back talk their mother since we have so many fatherless homes in our young generation. I would like to see this kind of obedience from our young folk today. What happened to the father who we are told to honor? 

Editor’s note: For more historical accounts of “Strong Women” in Weakley County, see Thursday, Feb. 17’s edition of The Weakley County Press.

wcp 2/10/11

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