October 12, 2007

Paying Homage

Most people who know me know that I love to read, do research, and share information. Traits which sometimes give the appearance of a know-it-all. Here she comes again... Well, Miss Know-It-All is at it again.

My 6th grade teacher, Hilda Cobb, was a very, very, very fair African-American, matronly to the max. You know, the sturdy black tie-ups, silky straight hair wrapped into a knot at the base of the neck (we caught it down once and it was super-long), wire-framed glasses, shapeless appearance. Modest, unassuming. Now that I am in my matronly years, I realize that she was not as old as she appeared back then. Those sturdy black tie-ups are starting to look pretty good. Very no nonsense. Her ruler was legendary. In fact, she was legendary at B.K. Bruce Elementary School. You did not want to be in her class. But she was, as I've come to realize, a fantastic teacher. I'm sure that we were the bane of her existence.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember someone mentioning that her husband was a "big-whig at Howard; a doctor." Meant nothing to me then. Our neighborhood was littered with teachers, doctors, lawyers, ministers--who taught us, doctored to us, counseled us, wed and buried us. After all, I grew up in a segregated DC; racial barriers fell slowly. These men and women were not in my league. My parents were "beneath them" socially, economically, and educationally. However, with a better handle on history, I am continually amazed to learn that I grew up in an area, a neighborhood, in Washington, DC, that gave shelter to many African-Americans who made a difference in the lives of not only their people but to humanity, as well. History books are full of names of people who lived in or adjacent to my neighborhood. I look back and realize that I "suffered" through classes, seminars, etc., because they were required. Totally unaware that the people sharing their information were acclaimed persons to be revered, if you will, and that I was "honored" to be in their presence.

So where are you going with this, Missy? Mrs. Cobb's husband, W. Montague Cobb, was born today, October 12, 1904. So...? Read this:
To bring it full circle, I took a class in drama or some such from their daughter, Amelia, while in college.

So I'm remembering the Sterling Brown's, Charles Drew's, Freeman's, Ralph Bunche's, Paul Cooke's and more. And saying "Thank you." I have been touched in some way by you.

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