Until the Civil Rights movement began challenging Jim Crow legislations and unconstitutional
segregation in the late 50s and early 60s, America still existed as a segregated society.
Progress ventured in other areas of life, for this was a time when America was deeply fascinated
with television and new homes. History says there were over 85 million TV’s in America and the
average home cost was between $12,000 and $15,000.
Yet there was utter chaos in America. The Vietnam War occupied 10 years. There were many peaceful
demonstrations among college students, and freedom of speech became more prevalent.
We experienced the assassination of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy in 1963, and of the
non-violent spokesman, Martin Luther King in 1968.
The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and Voting Rights of 1965 greatly impacted American life. During the
late 60’s, the reality of integration became factual in our home town.
Here are some of Rockdale’s prominent black women from the 1950s to the present:
Loretha Baggerly - Seamstress and community worker.
Vivian Gates Wilbon was top chef cook at Andy’s for many years, also at the Piano Bar. Her
daughter, Shirley Embra has followed in her footsteps at the Rockdale Inn.
Bessie Jo Davis - Top chef at Kountry Inn for years, Former Food Coordinator for Rising Star
Joyce Ford - Business owner of “Sew n’ Things”. Member of Rising Star Singers and Community
Vedozell Molden-Tindle - Retired telephone operator, established the Tindle Scholarship for East
Side Graduates. Scholarships were given for over 10 years.
Johnnie Sanders-Banks - Education aid for many years at Rockdale Junior-High School.
Doris Robinson-Phillips - Great singer and community worker, serves as program coordinator for
Rising Star Baptist Church.
Bettie Miller Page - Former secretary at Austin Community College and the Department of Human
Clara F. Clark-Brooks - Co-founder of Institute for Teaching God’s Word. School of Religion.
Lovie Molden-Edwards - Retiree of the Travis County Correction Office. Former Corrections
Officer, great community worker.
Jo Ann Bradford - Retired Alcoan in production Administration, formally a chemical analyst, a
quality manager systems coordinator, an employment specialist in the personnel department. She is a
great community worker and serves as musician for many occasions, as well as Rising Star Baptist
Daisy Majors Davenport - Aycock honor graduate, secretary/clerk/typist at Methodist Hospital in
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS, SERIES 5, PART 4
Rockdale’s black women of the 1950s to present
by Susie Sansom-Piper
Rockdale Reporter - February 23, 2012