It is often said that the matriarch is the nucleus of the African American family. She is the glue that holds everything and everyone together. In the black community, she takes on many roles: mother, sometimes the father, teacher, nurse, counselor, and prayer warrior. Like the nucleus of the cell, she provides nourishment in need and keeps everything calm. Her warm and open arms give comfort at just the right time and she is the ultimate secret keeper when you need a listening ear. She is the unsung hero that looks for no recognition but is usually the most deserving. She has many names: Granny, Grammy, Nana, Grandma, or MeMaw. My unsung hero is Rosie Williams or affectionately known as MeMaw.
Rosie Etta Booth Williams was born in Collins, Mississippi on August 29, 1944. She is the third oldest of 7 children. As the daughter of a school teacher, education was the center of her upbringing. She excelled early in her studies and skipped two grade levels while in elementary school. At age 11, she was the youngest student in her high school freshman class. She graduated 4 years later and began her college career at Alcorn State University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at age 19, once again making her the youngest in her class. She immediately began her teaching career at Lee Rood Middle School in Caruthersville, Missouri, Still a teenager herself, she taught 8th-grade math in a school that had been desegregated. Her quiet strength and faith in God allowed her to persevere through that difficult time in her life. After one year, she married Kirksey Lee Williams and moved to St. Louis, Missouri. There, they raised 7 children together while she pursued a career in the St. Louis Public School System. She devoted 35 years to teaching mathematics to high school students while sharing the love of God as well. To this day, she is still recognized by former students wherever she goes.
My grandmother inspires me in so many ways. She exudes all of the great qualities of many amazing black women in our culture. She is strong-minded yet has a gentle heart. She is god-fearing yet fun-loving. She is an amazing seamstress by hobby and loves to teach others he craft. She even made my prom dress. She encourages me with her bright smile and uplifts me with scriptures from the bible. I feel comfort in knowing that she is always praying for me. When she is not teaching a night class at the local community college, she volunteers at her church outreach center by distributing food. She has taught me to treat people with kindness, never be ungrateful, and thank God in everything that I do. I know that part of the reason I am in college today is because of her influence on my life. I hope that I can continue to make her feel proud of me.