Story Walk: state

Story Walk: "state"

Poverty and Racism by Bertha Porter & Desirae Porter


[1st speaker] In 1945, when I was two years old, by this time my mother and father had separated, and one particular weekend, there was an entertainment affair going on, in another state, that she wanted to go to. So she took my sister and I, and she got somebody to babysit, and she went to this affair, and didn’t show up again for about two months.


[2nd speaker] So she just left you guys there?


[1st speaker] Yes, and the babysitter told her, well, you’re going to have to pay for the time I’ve had your two daughters. And my mother said, well, keep the kids.


[2nd speaker] So did you guys stay there, is that where you grew up?


[1st speaker] Actually, the babysitter, she didn’t want us either. And she sold us. And when my father did find out what my mother had done, he spent his weekends off from work going from North Carolina to West Virginia to try and find us. He was never able to find my sister, but he did find me. Then he took me back to North Carolina, but the person that babysat for me while my father worked ended up being the person that I today still consider to be my mother. She raised me from age about three until she died when I was eleven years old. Her name was Sarah Pratt and Daddy was Lee Pratt. I think probably one vivid memory that I have that’s not a pleasant memory, is we went to visit Mom’s parents in Newbury, South Carolina.   And one evening, the grownups seemed to be, all of a sudden got very excited about something , and I looked in the direction where everybody was looking, and there was a light, in the shape of a cross, and the oldest cousin was told to take the kids, and she took us to a place in the woods, and they told us to stay there until somebody came for us. I didn’t realize until I was probably about eighteen, nineteen, maybe twenty years old, when that incident really hit me. You know, what was really happening.   


[2nd speaker]And did you stay down South?


[1st speaker] Mama died when I was eleven, my father came back to North Carolina and brought me to Rochester. And I’ve been here in Rochester ever since.