Gertis Elizabeth Hughley Fordjour

14 november 1944 to present

my grandma part1

My grandma, Gertis Elizabeth Hughley, was born in Montgomery, Alabama in the autumn of 1944, less than a year before WWII ended. Grandma’s mother was a Nurse and her father retired from the Army and came home from the War. He was an electrician. She had one younger brother named Thyris Henit. They lived in a Middle Class neighborhood and had a German Shepherd dog named Wolfy. He lived for 17 years and was loved by the whole family.

When she was 8 years old, her family moved from the South to Michigan which is in the Midwestern United States. During this time the Civil Rights movement got started in the South. She heard a lot of people in Alabama were protesting for civil rights. She told me a lot of stories about that time, but the one that got a lot of attention was the story about the African American woman that got dragged off the bus because she wouldn’t let a white man sit in her seat on the bus. She was tired. A lot of people didn’t like African-Americans and wouldn’t let them go in a lot of places like schools, shops, restaurants and hotels, or give them jobs. It was not a good time for brown people. Everyone called African Americans “black” but they are really brown. We say brown people in my family.

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my grandma part2

My grandma says her first job was doing the dishes. Her first professional job was teaching school. She went to a Historically Black University (HBU) called Oakwood College in Huntsville Alabama in 1963. She got married in 1967 to Isaac Fordjour from Ghana, West Africa. They had my aunt in April 1968 and my mom in May 1969. My grandma taught school until she retired in 2008. She continued to teach and mentor kids until a few years ago. Now she lives in Kentucky with my step-granddad, Roy. She still has a lot of energy and is funny and smart. She is really creative and tells stories and sings. She has traveled around the world singing in choirs and groups with her schools or churches.
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