City Councilwoman Delia Farquharson spoke about Mental Health with elders. She advised us to check on the elderly. Many can be “depressed” which is masked with Cancer and other illnesses. The Episcopal Church of St. Simon the Cyrenian honoured my godmother Beatrice J. Robinson [1919-2018] posthumously for her dedicated years as a member of Saint Luke’s Guild.
She was born on June 9, 1919 to the late William and Daisy Gibbs. At a time when a dozen eggs cost 61 cents, three oranges were for 12 cents, and a 1/2 pound of bacon went for 21 cents. The elegance of the Harlem Renaissance was the focal point of African-American Culture with the summer of 1919 being referred to as The Red Summer. Which was marked by hundreds of deaths and high casualties across the United States. Beatrice was born during a time of race riots that occurred in more than three dozen cities and one rural county.
She was raised in the Fordham and Melrose section of the Bronx with her sister Patricia Moore. Patricia and Beatrice went to dances at The Renaissance on 7th Avenue and 135th Street. Together they sang on the chorus at church and joined their friends after at the local ice cream parlor. In the early 30s she attended Evander Child’s High School. Buzzing with Females who wore dresses and floral patterns as they kept their hair close to their head. While attending Evander Child High School, Mary McLeod Bethune was named Director of the Division of Negro Affairs and was the first black woman to receive a presidential appointment. On December 12, 1938 the U.S. Supreme Court in Missouri v. Canada ruled that a state that provides in-state education for whites must provide comparable in-state education for blacks.
Beatrice was inspired by Blacks who fought to gain a sound education, academic excellence became a part of her journey. She held conversations in English, French and Italian. Language was a passion and she understood you can get far with being able to adapt to more than one. During her years at NYU Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong dominated the jazz scene. With her gloves on preferably a pair that matched her outfit. Furs was very popular, as were animal skins. Crocodile purses, wombat collars, lambskin lining, and leather sleeves — no animal was off limits. Bea wore them well.
Lamorte Burns & Company also known as Lloyds of London was located on Beaver Street in downtown New York City. Her skills in English, French and Italian made her an asset to the company until she retired.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Bea moved into a beautiful pink building located on East Third Street in Mount Vernon. Playing Bridge was her darling. Her love for Ancient Asian furnishing and decor welcomed her guest to relax with a vintage tea cup, rub the Red Marble Buddhist bald head and stomach to make a wish, and admire an oriental console in the living room. She welcomed many who moved in and invested in small intimate relationships with Families who migrated to the United States. Ethel Burgess and Jean Taylor were from Belize Central America. The Howells were from Barbados. All were introduced to St. Simon the Cyrenian by Beatrice.
Rides to church were filled with conversations. Mrs. Howell would pick up Beatrice with Yolanda and Gina in the back seat. Stories exchanged and inquires of education was always a part of Beatrice dialogues. Bea and Mrs. Howell would spell out words in hopes of the Girls not understanding the topic. Gina and Yolanda were studious and knew exactly what they were spelling. They filled the back seat with chuckles. Beatrice was a long time member of St. Simon’s Church. As a Sunday school teacher she was able to impart her love of the word to the young children in her Sunday school class. The St. Luke’s Guild primary mission is to add the beauty of nature to services, and to assist other groups with their special events that require flowers. Bea served as president at one point and was a member of the St. Luke’s Guild.
Described as a vivacious individual Bea cared very much for her appearance. She loved to shop. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel became “an adjective in her own time.” The fascination with Chanel grew as the most celebrated stars of the time Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Jackie Kennedy, and Beatrice Robinson wore the latest fashions from Chanel. Coco Chanel introduced the little black dress and was the first designer to introduce large pearls with glittering gemstones ignited Beatrice. Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s and Co., Lord and Taylor’s, and Bloomingdales were her cup of tea.
My godmother and I would lunch at Lord and Taylor’s as she infused me with the love of fashions and education. “We were sitting in church, godmother Bea looked at me and whispered the most powerful person right now is a white man and an educated black woman.” These powerful conversations never ended. “Every time I graduated my godmother would invite me out to chat, chew, and shop. Our conversations always included what was next after I graduated.” She was a champion towards education like Michelle Obama, which inspired my creation of Beatrice who leads Let Girls Learn Day in Mt. Vernon and Belize, Central America. In 2015, Michelle Obama pioneered the initiative #letgirlslearn. She recognized that adolescent girls face multiple challenges in pursuing an education. Beatrice is featured on flyers, buttons, and t-shirts with a sign saying “Let Girls Learn”.
Beatrice Jeanette Gibbs-Robinson shared her love for fellowship with the Lord, education, fine foods, welcoming those from far, and fashionable style.
Our joint memories will continue to hold her in high regard. The next time you open a book, eat a leg of lamb with mint jelly, sing a hymn, and walk into Bloomingdales give a nod to Beatrice Jeanette Gibbs-Robinson.
#thabump #volunteer #legacy #letgirlslearn
I really miss this gem 💎 Godmother Bea… Beatrice Jeanette Gibbs-Robinson shared her love for fellowship with the Lord, education, fine foods, welcoming those from far, and fashionable style.
Love Yah… Cynti