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14 Wharfside StreetCharleston, SC 29401
Museum open 10am to 5pm (last entry 4:00 PM) Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.
IAAM will challenge, illuminate, inspire and, ultimately, will move people to action.
14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
May 01, 2019
After all these years, I finally was able to find three of
my grandparent’s children’s birth announcements in “The Palmetto Leader.” The first one I found was on the first page
of the paper. It is my mother’s birth announcement. I could not wait to tell
her of this finding and e-mail a copy of it to her. It reads:
Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Vance, of this city, announce the birth of a baby girl, Wednesday, October 12, 1938. Christened Edna Lucinda. Mother and daughter are doing nicely.
They stayed in the city limits of Columbia at this time. My mother, Edna, was the first child. This resource is so important to me because my mother is my link to the past and to these wonderful people. I reflected on the placement of this birth announcement on the first page. Her parents were important in the community, but her grandparent, Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance, traveled throughout the state of South Carolina as a presiding elder for the AME church.
I remember sitting in and listening to my grandparents and
my mom and her siblings reflect on their memories of the past. I would wait for
the right time to interject questions that helped me understand what life was
like in the South. It paved the way eventually for me to relocate my family
there. The things that stuck out to me that I looked for when moving here did
not disappoint me.
Seeking another such conversation, I asked my mother what
receiving her birth announcement made her think of: “My mom went for nine years
trying to have a child,” she said. “Wow,” I thought, “Nine years! She almost
did not have children.”
“She operated her own café at the time. It was located downtown
Columbia, and was called the Green Leaf Café,” she said. I remember finding an article where the Mills
Brothers had visited the café. I learned it was a popular place were many
“The doctor suggested to her to go home and let someone else
take her place at the café. Two of mom’s (Otis) sisters, Aunt Cat and Aunt
Beattrice, and two cousins, Sadye and Alma Talley, were the first ones to take
over. They worked two shifts two at a time to complete the work that Mom did.
My dad got them to live with us, and most finished high
school and college while working at the café. My mom conceived while they were
living with us. They were able to help my mom out a great deal with me,” said
I can now look for her birth certificate among the county
records. I can also find school records for Aunt Cat, Aunt Beattrice, Sadye,
and Alma. I can also look for a christening record for my mom among Bethel AME
Church records. I can try to find out the name of the doctor. Can you suggest
anything else? Put it in our Facebook
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