Annie Mae spent all of her life in Mississippi in Brookhaven , Yazoo City and Eden until she finally found her way to the Mississippi Delta where she raised three of her children, having allowed the oldest son to live with her mother in Eden.Upon reaching adulthood, he finally joined the rest of the family in Leland, Mississippi.
Annie Mae only achieved an eighth grade education, but she became convinced early on that the only way to have a decent life was to get an education and work hard. And work hard she did, primarily doing cleaning in homes in Leland, washing dishes at the Leland Cafe and finally finding work as a maid at the Montgomery Hotel In Leland. When she worked there, Blacks were not allowed to stay at the Montgomery Hotel. It is ironic that today, that hotel has become the Highway 61 Blues Museum housing pictures and artifacts of her son,James "Son" Thomas, a renowned Delta Blues Artist and sculptor. In addition, a historical marker out front notes the achievements of two of her sons--James "Son" Thomas and Albert (Al) Lee Perkins as well as her daughter-Velma"Vee" Allen, the author.
Perhaps her most profound influence was on her daughter who achieved the educational goals her mother encouraged, and made her mother proud by singing in the church, attending college and eventually teaching in Leland where she had attended elementary and high school.
The daughter describes her mother's desire to know every detail of her encounters with others and how she loved to hear positive things that others had said to her. Their arrangement was that if the daughter did well in school and remained a "good girl", Annie Mae would see that the daughter never had to take "low stoops" to get what she wanted. Annie Mae said she would provide whatever her daughter needed--and she did.
Annie Mae lived with her daughter and her family up until her death in 1971 where continued to provide guidance and influence the decisions of her daughter.
This book celebrates Annie Mae, a poor Black woman who did her best to raise her children to have a strong work ethic and to look after their families and each other as she tried to do.
The daughter listened.but the boys pursued their music and art dreams. Now, after retirement from a career in education , the daughter is seeking to pursue her deferred dreams in music and writing.
She has declared herself unburdened.