Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Photographs, Virginia

Beauty winner!

My grandmother worked as a dietician at Dorie Miller Recreation Center in Newport News, Virginia. The organizers of a teen beauty contest were looking for more contestants, and my 13 year-old mother casually entered.

“And the winner is … Beverly Allen!”

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Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 15 August 1951.

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New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Virginia), 25 August 1951.

The summer after high school, to while away the hours until enrollment at Hampton Institute, she entered the Fancy Pants and Sport Shirt Ball at the city of Hampton’s African-American beach resort, the Bay Shore Hotel. In a midriff-baring genie outfit whipped up by my grandmother, she took second. (But really? You be the judge….)

New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Virginia), 30 June 1956.

Sixty-two years later, she’s still beautiful … inside and out.

Happy 80th birthday to this abiding blessing, my mother, with love.

 

 

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Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

Voters League meets at Zion Baptist.

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 10 September 1931.

It appears that the Citizens Civic and Welfare League quickly narrowed its focus and morphed into the Colored Citizens Voters League. By 1931, John C. Allen Sr. was president of the organization for several years. (Zion Baptist was Allen’s home church.)

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 30 March 1936.

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Education, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

The Allens make the honor roll.

5 9 1911

The Daily Press, 9 May 1911.

11 10 1912

The Daily Press, 10 November 1912.

12 10 39

The Daily Press, 10 December 1939.

My great-uncle J. Maxwell Allen, great-aunt Marion Allen Lomans, and first cousin once removed J. Maxwell Allen Jr. excelled in their elementary school studies at John Marshall School in Newport News, Virginia. John Marshall opened in 1896.

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Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

The D.D.G.C.

I finally ponied up for expanded access to Newspapers.com’s holdings and immediately tapped into a vein of articles about my Allen family in Newport News, Virginia. Expect a river of posts, starting with the earliest print references I have found to my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr.

rp 3 7 1908

Richmond Planet, 7 March 1908.

rp 4 2 1910

Richmond Planet, 2 April 1910.

John Allen arrived in Newport News from Charles City County in 1899, an unlettered farm boy. Less than ten years later, he held high office in the Knights of Pythias of North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, an African-American fraternal organization founded in Richmond in 1869 after a black man was denied membership by the Pythians’ Supreme Lodge.

These notices, published in Richmond’s black newspaper, signaled to the public the fraternal organization’s trustworthiness and largesse and undoubtedly attracted new members and expanded its influence.

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Business, Maternal Kin, Oral History, Other Documents, Photographs, Virginia, Vocation

Texaco liked the work.

In the summer of 2002, my uncle Charles C. Allen told me this about my grandfather John C. Allen Jr.:

[Daddy] had to get reestablished after the war. But he had a friend named Buster Reynolds. And Buster Reynolds was reputed to have made his money in the numbers, and so when the numbers were getting real hot and heavy, when it was reputed that the Mafia was trying to take the numbers over, Buster got out. And he built this service station, and he had a Texaco franchise, and he had Daddy to build the station. And Texaco liked the work so much that Daddy built two more stations for Texaco. And both of the stations that were built in the black community are still up. They’re not gas stations anymore, but the buildings are still up. And the one that was built Overtown is gone. But even the station that was in the white community, Texaco had him to build that one, too.

Today I found this:

2 1 1948

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 1 February 1948.

My uncle passed away in January; I wish dearly that I’d been able to share this with him.

Texaco 2

The former service station at 28th and Chestnut, Newport News, 2002.

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