This Black History Month, the VISIONS community is sharing the stories of Black historical figures who have impacted and inspired us personally.
What Black History Means to Me by Nikki Glass, VP Administration at VISIONS, Inc.
My family history includes a lot of “the first Black Person to…” heroes, a tradition that I am proud of each and every day. Because of their courage, I am able to hold my head up, stand straight and try new things.
My paternal great-great-grandfather, Francis Marion Henderson, was the first Black police officer in Watts, California, in 1926. I don’t know much about his experience but my family recently shared a photo of Francis and he appeared to be a very proud man.
My mother, Alicia Hinkles Glass, and her sister, were the first Black kids to integrate their elementary and junior high schools in Sun Valley, California. When hearing about this, I thought how hard that must have been for them, and for my family, being one of the first to integrate their neighborhood. I continue to be in awe of the courage it took for them to get through that time in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Because of that strength, my sister and I ended up at that same junior high in Sun Valley.
My Aunt Glenda was the first Black woman voted Big Sister of the Year in the Fresno Big Brother Big Sister Organization (1973). She was also the first African American to be named and serve as President of La Providencia Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She has always been one who never lacked courage and the word “can’t” was not in her vocabulary when it came to blazing her own trail. One of the most proud moments for me, was when she started a library – that bears her name – in Kenya, via her own personal charity work.
My family has many heroes, and I am proud, not just in February, for Black History Month, but each and every day.
Photos (left to right): (1) Glenda Jones Library in Kenya. (2) Glenda and children at the Glenda Jones Library in Kenya. (3) Glenda Jones, President of La Providencia Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.