Afro-Bets Book of Shapes by Margery Brown, Culverson Blair

By Margery Brown, Culverson Blair

Afro-Bets: booklet of Shapes [Paperback]
Margery Brown (Author), Culverson Blair (Illustrator)

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Reading could be dangerous. A child might copy an owner’s signature on a pass to escape or even teach other slaves to read and write. Freed children were eager to learn. The federal government helped start schools, but there were not enough books. No wonder the newly freed black children were so eager to attend school and make up for lost time. Their parents organized private schools, paid teachers, and bought writing slates and beginning books, called primers. Children walked miles or rode horseback to their schools in all kinds of weather.

The Douglass Club of Austin was organized in 1906. The club women talked about books and helped others. Many of the founders were teachers. C. The sorority was a “sisterhood” of young women who organized to make new friends and train to be leaders. In 1913, she and the other Deltas marched in a parade supporting suffrage on the eve of Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration as President. When Dodd returned to Dallas, she continued her sorority work and taught school. Her teaching career and work with church and club women became a stepping-stone for a new career in social work.

Other women also ran successful businesses. Jane Calloway, a Dallas widow, sold coal to keep people’s houses and businesses warm. Mary A. Warren of Houston was the first black female photographer in the United States. She opened her business in 1866, right after the Civil War. A number of women became teachers, nurses, and dressmakers. Gertrude Ross Rydolph ran a ranch near Victoria with her husband. Mattie B. White (Mrs. Thomas J. White) moved to Austin after graduating from Walden University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1884.

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