The mother of five sons, she worked after she returned to Arlington for the Smithsonian and for the Department of Justice. From 1980 to her retirement in 1997, she was an ESL (English as Second Language) teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School along Columbia Pike. She remains active as a community literacy volunteer, in progressive issues, and as an in-demand speaker. Her son Loki made “An Ordinary Hero,” an award-winning film of her life as a front-line civil rights worker, and there is an educational foundation in her name promoting the cause of civil rights to children.
She was interviewed in her home recently by CPDP director Lloyd Wolf. Excerpts from the interview follow.
After the Movement, I came back to Arlington. I had five boys, and had split with my husband.
I stayed politically active. I voted! With five small kids in the house, you’re not going to meetings. I stayed involved in the local elementary school. PTA, the music teacher was looking for an African-American song that would be good to sing at the International Dinner, and I suggested “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which he didn’t know from the man in the moon. He taught it to virtually ever kid in the school. It was probably the first white school in the County to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing ” en masse.