Ahead of Her Time in Yesteryear
Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman Comes of Age in a Southern African American Family
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of Tennessee Press
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It has been said that the past is a foreign country. If that is true, then Kibibi V. Mack-Shelton’s Ahead of Her Time in Yesteryear: Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman Comes of Age in a Southern African American Family gives a grand tour of a world utterly foreign to our present-day sensibilities. That world is of the African American middle and upper classes in the first half of the twentieth cen-...
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At the professional level, I want to first thank the University of Richmond’s Tyler and Alice Haynes Endowment Fund for supporting this project. It made it possible for me to travel to my research sites and transcribe the many hours of oral history tapes recorded during the research phase. Second, after using various transcription companies, I want to thank the “world’s best tape ...
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The inspiration for this book beamed from writing my first book, Parlor Ladies and Ebony Drudges (University of Tennessee Press, 1999), which left me with an itching curiosity to learn more about one of the women discussed in the book, Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman. Zimmerman, a feisty African American nonagenarian, is one of South Carolina’s most respected Black female icons ...
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The era in which the Pierces, Tatnalls, and Zimmermans emerged between the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, is quite different from the modern era of the mid-twentieth to the early twenty-first century. In this prologue I provide a brief overview of the early history and times of Black South Carolina, Black Orangeburg, and the Black family in Orangeburg. In doing so, I hope to ...
Chapter 1. Ancestors: The Pierces and Tatnalls, 1860s–1910
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Franklin Pierce was born on July 18, 1845, in the small town of Cassatt, South Carolina, the free biracial son of a slave woman and her White plantation owner. At some point, he inherited about three to four hundred acres of farm-land from his White father and became a successful farmer in Cassatt. In 1865 Pierce married Charlotte Davis, a Cherokee Indian also born in Cassatt in ...
Chapter 2. Jello: The Girl, 1910–1929
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Hazel Tatnall Pierce was filled with excitement and anticipation as she neared the delivery of her first baby. In fact, although she did not know it at the time, Hazel was to be her mother’s only child to bear grandchildren for her. But just like her mother, Hazel experienced the death of an infant. In 1910, during the home birth, Hazel and James’s first child died when the neck was broken in ...
Chapter 3. Gerry: The Young Adult, 1929–1933
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Since Fisk accepted only five hundred students annually, they were very selective of who was permitted to enroll. On the application, the parents’ section was filled with delicate questions such as “How many rooms are in your home? Do you own your home? Do you have electricity? How many bathrooms? Do you own an automobile?” and so forth. The reason for these questions was ...
Chapter 4. Gerry: The Mother, 1933–1960s
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By Gerry’s senior year in 1932, the majority of the female students at Fisk were making plans to teach school after graduation. As for Gerry, the mathematics major with absolutely no interest in teaching, she decided to pursue a career as an engineer. She knew that this was a male-dominated field strictly reserved for men, but she was passionate and highly motivated to pursue her dream. ...
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“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” These lines from John Donne’s poem are certainly apropos in understanding Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman’s metamorphosis from girlhood to womanhood. Simply put, she is the product of early-twentieth-century, traditional, southern child rearing. Young Jello was instilled with ...
Epilogue. Mrs. Z: Lady Maverick, 1960s–2010
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From the mid-1960s and onward, after Malone and Rose Hayzel went to college, graduated, found jobs, and married, Zin and Gerry Zimmerman enjoyed their “empty nest.” These busy years were filled with Mrs. Geraldyne Zimmerman’s activities, which, ironically, had increased after the children left. She remained active in her As You Like It women’s bridge club and her ...
Appendix. Population Statistics: South Carolina and Orangeburg
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Tatnall-Pierce-Zimmerman Family Tree
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Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 50 halftones
Publication Year: 2010