Meet Julia Martin…
Born in Wareham, she grew up during World War II. Her family got used to food rations. “You couldn’t get butter, tires for your car… we had to keep lights off like a bomb shelter. A lot of fellows we knew were over there fighting… and didn’t make it back.”
Raised in a foster home as a teenager in Boston, Martin remembers marching with the drum and bugle corps. She later married and went on to have five children.
For 25 years, Martin was a detective. “It kept you on your toes, I interrogated people. I arrested people. I worked under cover. It was very exciting.”
After her husband died, she began volunteering and became a community activist, working with the Martha Elliot Health Center and opening up a daycare center. She was on the Parent Teacher Association and got a library opened at the Curley School. “My life really began in Jamaica Plain,” she said.
Meet Juanita Brown…
Born in Alabama, she grew up in Brockton near a convent and remembers doing errands for the nuns. Along with her extended family, the neighbors also looked out for her. “They were people who cared, who took time with me, who showed me the right and wrong things in life,” she said.
Brown truly believes the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Juanita adds that the best job she had was as a nurse, because she liked helping people. She went on to get married and has been married for 54 years.
Introducing Tomás Castillo…
Born in the Dominican Republic, Castillo enjoyed a political career. Beginning as a Justice of the Peace, Castillo went on to win many elections and political positions. It was not until later on that politics became “very dangerous,” he said. A person did not know who his own enemy was, and Castillo’s life was threatened.
He got married and went on to have nine children. In the 1960s, the Dominican Republic, “dictatorship was over and my country regained its liberty… and we lived better,” he said.
Meet Edna Jackson…
Edna remembers when she grew up in North Carolina, it was a very racially segregated place to live. “…People stayed in their own place,” she said. “Racism was a difficult part of life. I would see signs that said ‘Blacks Only’ and ‘Whites Only.’ Blacks could only go in the back door, but the whites could go in the front.”
When she came to Boston, it was a whole different world. She got a job at Brigham and Women’s Hospital working on the computer and “loved it.” She also went on to get married and have four children.
Her advice to the teens of today is simple. “Be yourself and be a good person.”