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Thursday, December 8, 2022

‘I have witnessed inauguration of 15 American Presidents’

Taiwo Abiodun an America-based Journalist paid a visit to a -93 year -old African -American in St. Louis, Missouri, America and whom her grandson says his roots likely came from Nigeria. The nonagenarian is rich in History. Despite her age she still remembers some of the happenings in the past.

MEETING AN HISTORIAN
She is dark in complexion and her skin glitters despite her age. Her beautiful greyed hair showed under her cap. She spoke though softly but clearly in American accent .Her eyes are not dim and her hearing not impaired .As she spoke she revealed her complete set of dentition which are still intact. On her table was an Holy Bible and her recommended medicated reading glasses. By her bedside was also a four -wheel Walker Rollator which is a mobility aid device she uses to aid her movement . On her bed was a remote control she uses to change the television channels. She loved watching the television.
Her grandson , Thomas Lacy Bey asked whether she had called her sister , but instead of replying him she grabbed her cellphone, looked at the screen and said ” You mean Maltida? I called her this morning .” When asked who Maltida is, she said Maltida is my younger sister, she lives in Chicago. She is now 81 years old I call her everyday,” she told this reporter.
When this reporter was introduced to her as Journalist from Nigeria, Africa, her countenance changed as her face became brighter she smiled, chuckled then gathered enough energy and pulled herself together. It was like her strength was renewed, she had that inner joy that propelled her to renew her energy as she had been expecting this visitor and her lips parted ways and she said ” Africa? Good. Sit down my son,” as she tried to adjust herself on her King-size bed for the interview Thomas Lacy Bey her grandson and one of her granddaughters, Tasha Evans assisted her and the story started.
Welcome to the home of a nonagenarian Elizina Evans who lives in St. Louis , Missouri in America Her last birthday was October last year when she clocked 93.
MY LIFE
On where she came from ,she said ” My name is Elizina Evans, I am 93. I know I am African- American but I was born in Tunica, in the State of Mississippi .I lived in Mississippi but later relocated, live in St. Louis in the state of Missouri . I have three daughters and two sons, but my two sons had died .
She spoke about her growing up ,she said ” I live in the country and the town is called Tunica in the State of Mississippi. I worked in an hospital where I retired when I was 62 years old” ( 32 years ago).
AMERICA’S PRESIDENTS SHE SAW
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45)
Harry S. Truman (1945-53)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61)
John F. Kennedy (1961-63)
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69)
Richard Nixon (1969-74)
Gerald Ford (1974-77)
James Carter (1977-81)
Ronald Reagan (1981-89)
George H.W. Bush (1989-93)
William J. Clinton (1993-2001)
George W. Bush (2001-09)
Barack Obama (2009-2016)
Donald J. Trump (2016- 2021)
Joe Biden (2021-???)
Asked to recount the America Presidents she witnessed their regimes, she drooped her head and said in a low-tone” American Presidents? Oh yes, I knew some of them.” She continued after a pause.
”I can remember Presidents Roosevelt , Jimmy Carter, Truman, Obama, we have President Nixon, and President Roosevelt , I know Obama and now a new President ”
On the best President so far , she said ”I can’t remember now ” but added
”I remember the President that was shot, he was loved by everybody , I think it was Kennedy ”
Asked to confirm the story that her root is from Nigeria , Africa ,according to her grandson, she responded ”I know I was born in Tunica .I heard about Nigeria , and that was a long time ”, she paused , adjusted herself and continued .
SLAVERY WAS ABOLISHED BUT WE SUFFERED RACISM
Asked to speak about slavery , she said ”I heard and knew about it .Slavery was abolished over hundred of years but then there was something close to it when I was working in a Cotton company we were forced to pick cotton in the dark!. That was what the Whites did to the slaves. There was no light in Mississippi for a very long time , but I cannot remember the dates now .Apart from this , we faced racism especially those in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana , down south Missouri and many others. We the Black experienced what we called racial discrimination. In the companies where we worked we were made to go in and go out through the back door while the Whites took the front door when coming in or going out of the companies. We had no right to take where the Whites take ” .
She continued on racism ,”While riding in a bus , you had to stand up and stay in the back, you cannot sit down for only the White people had the right to sit and also to sit in the front “.
KENNEDY Martin Luther King and Malcom X
Mama who is fond of talking about Human rights’ activists praised JF Kennedy and Martin Luther King for rising up against white supremacy, she said ” Kennedy, was for the Black and White people, he brought them together. You can imagine how they deprived the Blacks from having formal education!. The Blacks were not allowed to go to school to have education, most of them studied at home. He fought for the Blacks and made sure they had equal rights to education, that is what we are enjoying today.” On Martin Luther King, she praised him and said ”Luther was a good man, he fought for equal rights for the Black. He tried to bring the Black and Whites together that was why he was killed, he wanted everybody to have equal rights.”
”What of Malcom X? she was asked ,but she said ”Malcom X? Ohhh, the name……. I can’t remember.’’
MISSISSIPI MASSACRE
Reminded that a lot of Blacks were massacred in the 30s and 40s in Mississippi, and asked whether it is true, she quickly replied” Yes, it was true. It was because the Blacks didn’t want to be slaves any more , so they refused to obey the Whites .The Whites people were killing the Blacks because the Blacks spoke up and did not want to be slaves any longer. You see they wanted the Black do what they wanted, but the Black refused”
FRIENDS
On her friends she said ”I don’t know where they are now. They have passed on.”
EAT IN THE MORNING
On what she do in the morning ”When I wake up in the morning at 5am, the first thing I will say is thank you Lord. I would pray and read my Bible .For my breakfast I eat cereals and drink milk and coffee. I like to do everything. I pray and read my Bible . I use my glasses to read the Bible.”
WHAT HURTS ME MOST
”It hurts me when I remember that I lost my two sons but I knew they didn’t come here to stay. They are in a better place now.”
As this reporter said goodbye to her, she summoned courage to stretch her hand to the table and took her Black coloured Holy Bible, grabbed her reading glasses….but before she continued, I asked ”Grandma which story do you like most in the Bible?” She responded” All the stories in the Bible are my favorites.”

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