“Behind the Scenes of The Other Alexandria’s Column”
It was a cloudy rainy day when Corrine Henry was born on Tuesday, November 15, 1927. She was her parents’ sunshine.
Throughout Corrine’s childhood, she was outgoing and full of life. In her teens, she and several of her friends formed a group called the Silver Slippers. Like all teenagers, Corrine made sure she looked her best. She enjoyed applying her makeup even when she was sick. Her family and her friends played an important role in her life.
In her late teens, she became engaged to John Sidney Holland, Jr. He was in the United States Army. By the time he gets out of the military, Corrine would have started experiencing early stages of Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the nervous system. Symptoms can vary, but in many cases, one will feel weakness, numbness, shaking (tremors), loss of vision, pain, paralyses and loss of balance.
Corrine’s day-to-day life was limited due to her illness, but she kept a smile on her face and enjoyed her two children, Sylvia and Toniette. She lived with her parents who provided for her and her children.
Many people came to Alexandria during the civil war from Maryland, North Carolina and other parts of Virginia. Few African American families talked to their children about their lives prior to the civil war. These stories were lost and never passed down through the generations. However, one of these families who migrated to Alexandria during the civil war did share their family history with their younger generation.
Annie Lee Wheeler shared her father’s family history with her daughter, Helena Wheeler and her grandchildren, especially her granddaughter, Shirley Gilliam Sanders Steele.
Mrs. Helen Lumpkins Robinson Day was a well-known teacher at Parker-Gray School and at Charles Houston Elementary School. She was born in Alexandria, VA in 1905. She was a trailblazer in advocating for a daycare center for African Americans. She was on many committees and raised money for many disadvantage African Americans.
“The Other Alexandria’s Column,” in the Alexandria Times Newspaper
For Black History Month, I would like to highlight two articles that I wrote. The first article is in the December 2021 newspaper, I wrote an article on Lauretta Dorsey Young who was a well-known Opera Singer. Lauretta was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1942. Her family migrated to Baltimore, Maryland around 1951.
Lauretta became an international Opera Singer winning many awards for her performance. She never forgot her ties to Alexandria. The City of Alexandria was Lauretta’s birthplace and throughout her world travels, she made all the Alexandrians proud.