They say that history, time and family shape who we become and how we face the world. This is true in the case of our mother Anita. Anita Joyce Moore was born November 29, 1937 in Birmingham Alabama to Hattie and Franck Cook . She was one of twelve siblings. As you can imagine being in such a large family there were a lot of responsibilities. Anita played a big role in helping her mother take care of things in the home. She learned to cook, clean, iron and mend clothing. She bore witness and at times the brunt of her mother’s frustrations at balancing motherhood and being a wife and doing so in trying times for Black people. Anita was sensitive, intelligent, obedient and respectful growing up. She often lamented about the lack of opportunity to be free with all the home responsibilities she had, issues within the family, lack of resources and the terrible racism living in the South. Her experience bred a desire to be independent and the determination to follow her own path. When she completed high school in 1955, she left Birmingham Alabama at 18 and moved to Rochester, New York.
In leaving Birmingham, she found independence. Anita became more vocal and assertive in pursuing her goals. She was the first black cashier to work at Woolworth’s in downtown Rochester at the height of racial tension. She encountered many discriminatory situations that required her to be assertive and challenge the standard. She met her husband Frank and over the span of 19 years had four children (Serita, Frank Jr. Lawrence and Sabrina). She took what she learned growing up with her own desire and created a beautiful home for her family filled with love and support. She stayed at home and raised her family for 15 years until she decided to go back to work. Anita went to work at Eastman Kodak for 10 years before going to work for herself as a private personal care aide over 20 years.
Anita valued education and had an appreciation for music and art. She loved plants and gardening and had a knack for cultivating them indoors and out. Orchids and begonias were among her most favorite plants. You could find them and others thriving throughout the house. Her home at 15 Garson Avenue, was featured both in the newspaper and television for its beauty. She knew how to make things beautiful; from preparing a meal to setting a table, decorating or making a bed. She truly had an eye for aesthetics and etiquette. She was a devoted wife and giving mother. She loved to talk, entertain and share what she had. Her warmth was undeniable to those who knew her.
She often said that a person could have a beautiful life if they didn’t weaken. She was strong and forth right. She was most proud of her home and family. And she will be greatly missed and remembered. That is Anita Joyce Moore.
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