Virginia Doswell's favorite moments in Black History

Yacine Simporé Special to the Amsterdam News | 3/5/2012, 2:38 p.m.
Virginia Doswell's favorite moments in Black History

Virginia Doswell is definitely an outstanding storyteller. As she shared with us her favorite moments in black history, she plunged us into a moving flashback of her life.

At almost 90 years old, this woman remembers every key moment in history that truly changed the course of her life.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Doswell said one of her favorite moments in Black history was the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin luther King Jr. "i was very excited by this movement that was going to change our country forever," she said with a distant look.

"but another political decision before King's movement was really important for Black people; After World War ii, President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt compelled the factories to hire black people in Baltimore," she said, which had a direct impact on her life, as she could thereafter get hired.

"My mother, my sister and myself were hired in a factory," she recalled. "i was so excited to work and to earn my own money. This was a big step; so far, black women were only hired to work as maids. I was now earning $40 a week and was totally independent in the way i was spending my money."

But after years working in the factory, Doswell aspired to work as a nurse. With the money she had saved, she decided to move to New York and study there. At the time, the Lincoln School of Nursing was just opening its doors and welcomed students from everywhere without any segregation. it was one of the first integrated schools.

"I was impressed when I knew that a group of wealthy white women had established this school to enable all the black women to study nursing," she explained. "it was such a good opportunity for me."

Three years later, Doswell graduated as a nurse and worked at the Lincoln Hospital, which she considers as a victory.

It now seems logical to say that educational changes for Black people were some of her favorite moments in the history. She remembered the school integration decision implemented by the Supreme court in 1954, which deemed segregated schools unconstitutional.

After that, the Lincoln School, where she studied, closed as black people could go from that to any school they wanted.

I couldn't imagine this. We were so segregated in everything and everywhere, but I am happy to have lived enough long to see all these changes.