During the 1950s, my grandparents owned a night club for about a year on Davis Avenue. By the 1960s, Davis Avenue was the hub for Negroes in Mobile. There were grocery stores, night clubs, doctors, lawyers, barbers, hair salons…everything needed to support the community.
I couldn’t find a good picture of Davis Ave. My mother told me that she never went on that side of town because the neighborhood had gotten really rough – people fighting, gun shots, stealing, etc. I imagine it must have looked like this:
This event takes place in Mobile, AL around 1948. Alice (my mother) was 13 years old, and Eva Jasper (my grandmother – Mom’s side) was 51 years old. Eva worked for a white family as a house keeper. During this time, Jim Crow laws were still in effect and the civil rights movement was not officially active (check out the history section at the end of this post). In Mobile, Negroes worked low paying jobs, and one of the primary sources of income for Negro women was cleaning the house and keeping the children of white people.
On this day, Alice went to visit her grandmother. However, this day was different because when she arrived at Eva’s house, she had a bandana tied around her head. Alice asked, “Momma Eva, what’s wrong?”
Eva responded with her head hung low, “I’ve got a real bad headache. This bandana will help it go away. Only problem is I have to go to work today.” Without hesitation, Alice said, “What if I go for you today? I don’t mind!”
They met in high school. He came up to her in the cafeteria and said, “Hi, I’m Roland. I’m on the football team. What’s your name?” She responded, “Alice”.
“Nice to meet you. Do you have a phone at home? Can I call you sometime?” Roland asked hoping the answers to all his questions were yes!
Alice thought Roland was handsome. She hoped he really would call.
The year was around 1950. Both Alice and Roland attended Central High School in Mobile, AL. Roland was one of the star running backs (or wide receivers – we are researching this). Everyone that attended Central High’s football games knew that if Roland got the ball, he was going to score a touchdown. He was always in the local newspaper for his many achievements with football and track. He was truly a star at Central High! Continue reading →