July 18, 2015 by DuboisOnMain
A bit over an hour ago, I was considering closing because it is hot and no visitors had stopped in. I generally can see traffic from where I sit. When A couple vehicles came around the corner and slowed down, caught my eye. One looked a bit familiar. So when I went to door, I saw a group of black people of various ages that I didn’t recognize coming toward me. I was busy putting my “OPEN” sign up….had forgotten to do so. As I was introducing myself to this group and not hearing a name I recognized, I was thanking them for visiting the museum.
Once inside, I learned the older woman was a DuBois graduate. In fact, she had been the valedictorian of her class. She wasn’t sure about the year and her relatives weren’t either. One relative mentioned she had a yearbook that had the relative’s picture. I said, I’d love to have a copy and I always tell potential donors we don’t need their originals. So everyone looked around the museum. They recognized a football player, James Mosley, #33 (incorrectly spelled Mosby and numbered 37). He was the husband of a relative. They all were impressed with what they saw. I told them this information was donated as that is the only way this could happen. They also noticed and picked up some old fashioned horehound candy from the shelf. This is usually only found at Cracker Barrel one told me. (Learned something else…older people recognize that candy as it’s part of our history. Might need to keep a supply available.)
The 1948-1949 yearbook which is on the sign-in table was looked through. Turns out it is the same one the relative has. I also have an original copy of this book which is not on display. There is a picture of Yonsia Davidson, Valedictorian 1949! We have the same book. Yonsia is here!
She sat at the school desk in front and I had her autograph her picture in the yearbook on display. We talked about cursive writing which doesn’t seem to be considered important nowadays. She looked at her class picture and commented about lining up on the steps for it. Then she named some of her classmates. She wrote her name and today’s date next to her picture. Yes, she was smiling and happy. I pulled out the original copy and had her autograph it also. What an unexpected surprise. This is History Alive!
I learned Ms. Davidson had been a nurse in NY and had her Master’s degree. That is exciting given the history of segregation, but DuBois students excelled. Again, I reminded people, a copy of documentation is needed as proof of status and hopefully, this will be gathered and sent to us. This group was in town for a family reunion. They are relatives of Raymond Davidson, one of our gardeners. If they can, they will come back later. Of course, I gave them a card so they can communicate with me. Ms Davidson wanted one also. She said so she could send me a card……. Ahhh….That’s what we did years ago, acknowledged things through cards or letters. History.
Thank you Davidson’s for the visit.
A very special thank you to:
Ms. Yonsia Davison, DuBois High School Valedictorian, 1949.