Blondine Heron

Blondine Heron is a family-orientated woman. The numerous pictures and portraits that decorate nearly every wall in her home exhibit the love and togetherness her family shares. She has traveled a long way since her beginnings in St. Louis, MO but she has never forgotten her origins. The many hours and many years she spent working in the fields next to her fourteen siblings are history, but these memories have shaped her entire life and her out look on it.

Today, she lives next to her sister on the land in Mound Bayou her parents bought when she was a child. Her brothers and sisters that do not live in Mound Bayou are still very close in her heart and she talks regularly to each of them and visits them frequently. The lessons of family she learned as a child are the same ones she is now passing on to her son, Tommy.

Blondine does not want him to have to work as hard as she did in order to succeed. Her years in Chicago have passed but are far from being forgotten. The lights, hustle, noise, and other distinguishing aspects of Chicago, IL are still very detailed and vibrant in her mind. The children she taught and the friends she made will stick with her always but she knew the cramped apartments of Chicago had to be left for the wide open and ever welcoming space of the Mound Bayou, a place she calls home.

Blondine Heron was born in 1936 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was one of fourteen children (ten girls and four boys). Her parents felt they had too many children to raise in a city so in 1942 they moved to Mound Bayou. Ms. Heron's father had grown up twenty miles away from Mound Bayou. In Mound Bayou, her parents bought a 6-room house and forty acres of land. Everyone in her household contributed to the farm labor. The boys took care of the heavy chores like driving the tractors, while the girls took care of all of the chopping and organizing of the crops. The family grew cotton, oats, wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans. Over a period of years, Blondine Heron's father bought and owned 500 acres of land.  

Photo of Blondine Heron and son Tommy Heron.
Blondine Heron and son, Tommy Heron

In 1963, Blondine Heron moved to Chicago with her sister Barbara, after completing college. She disliked farming, and there were few jobs in Mississippi for educated blacks. In Chicago, Ms. Heron found a job teaching second graders. Settled in her home on the West Side of Chicago, Ms. Heron joined Saint Stevens AME Church. Over 80% of the membership of Saint Stevens had migrated from the South. In Chicago, Ms. Heron found more to do than in Mound Bayou. Her social life grew to arenas outside of the church structure and she met people who were not connected with her southern roots.

Ms. Heron adopted her now 17-year-old son Tommy Heron in 1982. As with many other migrants from the Delta, Blondine found opportunity in Chicago however she still returned to the Delta, her home. She returned to Mound Bayou with Tommy because she longed to be close to the land she grew up on and the family who was near. It is also important to Blondine to have her son understand the environment and culture from which she came.

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