This blog is composed of images and writings related to the life and work of Faith Ringgold, her mother Mme. Willi Posey, and her daughters Michele and Barbara Wallace. There are pages with links to blogs composed of the materials arranged by decades. The blog, itself, will ultimately be composed of materials related to the life of the family in the 90s and the 21st century.

Tuesday

Photo-Essay: Ida Matilda Posey



The mother of Willi Posey, and the grandmother of Faith, was Ida whose middle name was Matilda. I guess I should say also that she was my maternal great-grandmother, which makes her more cuddly, although I never knew her.  I was always told of her that she died prematurely of a broken heart in 1927 in New York City.  MJ never spoke of her without a pained expression on her face.

From my limited study of the census records and the variations over a period of decades, it would appear that some people did a lot of fiddling with their birthdates as time went on so it is difficult to tell with certainty when Ida Matilda was born but my guess would be 1869, which would have made her 58 when she died.  I guess that could be considered rather young to a grieving daughter with young children (Uncle Andrew and Aunt Barbara, four and one, respectively.  

B.B., my great-grandfather and MJ's father, was born in 1860 in Rocky Grove, Aiken County, South Carolina of Free and Matilda Posey, and he died in 1912 in Palatka Florida, which would have made him 52, also a fairly young age.  He was nine years older than his wife Ida.  This information I gathered from census records from Palatka, Florida in 1880.

B.B. Posey also died young of an attack of appendicitis.  This could not have been an easy thing to die of in 1912 in Palatka, Florida.  With no x-rays and I don't know what else (but maybe some morphine), this meant a protracted death at home.  As MJ tells it, he died at home.

This picture, which is extensively doctored and colored, may have been taken soon after Ida Matilda's husband's death or around her move to New York, maybe in about 1918 or so, although the long skirt suggests closer to the earlier date of 1912.

I used to call her Ida Mae because there is another Ida Mae, the daughter of Hilliard Bingham (Willi's Uncle), Ida Mae Bingham who never married, and who was a choral director at the Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

Matilda seems to have been a somewhat popular name during the period.  Free Posey's wife, and the mother of B.B. Posey was named Matilda, born in about 1815 in Aiken County,  South Carolina. Her husband Free Posey was born in about 1813.  The first name is highly suggestive.  

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Michele Wallace: Talking in Pictures

Michele Wallace: Talking in Pictures
Barbara, MJ, Michele and Mom in the background in sunglasses at a fashion show in the early 60s