Monday, March 29, 2010

On Bronze Plaques Found on the Street: Honoring an African-American Baha'i

Hey Friends – 

There is a new life-sized portrait bust and bronze plaque honoring Tacoma Baha’i Nettie Asberry at South 5th Street and ML King Way.  Check it out.
- T

Most 79 year-olds are fairly well set in their ways. Their mental and physical powers are diminished. They no longer have the curiosity or ambition or vitality that they once enjoyed. Whatever course they have taken in life is the course that they are on and will remain on, content or not, as they glide toward life’s nearing horizon. One’s values and practices have long since been solidified, especially for fundamentals such as religion and worship. At 79 years of age, Nettie Asberry did a remarkable thing: she changed her religion and resigned from her church. She found Bahá’u’lláh and became one of His followers. This happened in 1944 or ’45 through the friendship of two new Bahá’ís in town, Harry and Marjorie Taylor, who were members of the first Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Tacoma, which was founded in November 1943.'
So begins Gary's description of "Nettie Asberry as a Bahá’í." Who was Nettie? A woman who was honored in a proclamation by the mayor of Tacoma upon her death at 103.
In 1909, residing in Tacoma, she was described as a music teacher of rare ability who always had a large number of pupils, and was regarded as one of Tacoma’s expert pianists and a woman of great accomplishment, speaking French and German fluently. She taught piano to students of all races for more than 50 years. Very socially active and progressive, she helped found the Tacoma Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said to be the first chapter west of Kansas City.
The bust and plaque above were recently discovered by
doing his rounds (walking around the world before he dies --  true story, but for another day). Before Tim's discovery, another die-hard and in his case, very early morning walker,
Tacoma Joe
discovered an earlier plaque to this same Tacoma pioneer mounted in the sidewalk at North 30th and McCarver, pictured below. -gw

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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