Blandye Brooks

Blandye Brooks is fond of her Greenville, MS home. The best times of her life have been in Mississippi and in Mississippi she wants to stay. In 1946, she lived in Chicago but returned quicky to home.

Being raised by her father and grandmother strengthened the bonds she felt for her home and influenced her decision to live in Greenville. Her loyalty to her community, friends and church kept her in Greenville. In her youth, lack of opportunity led her to migrate North and leave the South. But the pull of fate proved to be too strong, and she returned to Greenville.

Blandye Dinkins-Brooks was born on July 27, 1912 to Alice Savage and Charles Hamilton Dinkins in Washington County, Mississippi. Her mother died early, and Blandye was raised by her father and grandmother. Her grandmother died when she was thirteen years old. Her brothers and sisters had died earlier. Brooks' father, born in 1861, was a former slave. He raised his daughter on their farm which was located outside of Greenville. In January 1917, the family moved to Greenville. "My father had been a farmer in Washington County at the place of my birth, but when I was near school age, he felt that he wanted his daughter to have the benefit of a nine-month school" as opposed to a four-month school which they had in Washington County.The school system in the city of Greenville provided a nine month curriculum for its students, where as the schools in the rural areas of the Delta started after Thanksgiving and
continued for only four months. This allowed the children to help their parents with the harvesting and planting of crops. Brooks graduated from high school and took a job teaching high school in Greenville to put herself through college. She graduated with a masters degree from Tuskegee University and an honors degree in education from Tugaloo University. She taught fifth grade for over forty years. In 1946, Blandye Brooks was married. She moved to Detroit in 1946, and her father died two years later in 1948. The marriage, however, did not last and Brooks returned to Greenville in 1947. She attributes her reluctance to leave Greenville to her desire to remain with her friends, rather than start anew in a northern city.  

Photo of Kenrick McNish, Blandye Brooks, and Kelly Denson.
Kenrick McNish, Blandye Brooks, Kelly Denson

Ms. Brooks, participates in her church, Redeemer Episcopal Church, and taught for many years at the local elementary school in Greenville. The membership of the church had declined because young people have moved away. Brooks would like to see the industry grow in the Delta because she recognizes that it is the only hope for the Delta's future. While she remained in the Delta, most migrated to northern cities where jobs are plentiful.

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