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Senior citizens honored by the Shaw Quarters community

Shaw Quarters’ residents and natives honored the tight-knit community’s disabled and senior citizens last Saturday.

The annual event was originally set to be held at Alphonso Figgers Park, but was moved to the Washington Masonic Hall due to scorching temperatures and the threat of rain.

The building serves as the New Destiny Christian Church, where Pastor Charles Salem presides.

The organizers of the event thanked Salem for allowing them to have the event at his church.

In addition to being served a soulful dinner, each senior or disabled person participated in a raffle, and were given a gift basket, a gift bag and a $25 Walmart gift card.

Like many other events, the senior and disabled celebration was put on hold during the pandemic.

“We never know when or if we’ll have it again,” Cynthia Evans, one of the event’s organizers said. “We celebrate where we come from but look forward to where we’re going.”

Most in attendance shared their memories of growing in Shaw Quarters.

Even those who didn’t live in the community but often visited, talked of the good times they have had there.

Two of the ladies who attended the event, Lula Mae Love and Hazel Porter, are first-generation Shaw Quarters residents.

Evans recalled stories of how the two fought each other while growing up.

“She had a mean streak,” Porter said jokingly. “If things didn’t go her way, she would jump on me, and I would run.”

During the event Porter also gave words of advice on raising younger generations.

“Back then people cared about your children, their children, everybody’s children,” Porter said.

Before the celebration came to an end, Evans touched on a topic that she says is plaguing the black community – heir property.

“Heir property is from the devil,” Evans said.

She said many of the properties that belonged to elders in the Shaw Quarters community have been purchased by investors from other states.

“It’ll end up with somebody who buys the property for taxes,” Evans said. “We have to make sure that wealth stays in the family.”

Evans handed living will packets and asked each person there to fill them out to put their wishes in writing.

She also explained the difference between a last will and a testament, and said everyone needs both.

She said that although the elders may have good intentions of leaving their property to their family, not leaving assets in writing to one or two heirs usually causes turmoil when that loved one dies.

Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service