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Lillie Mae Wesley

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Information about Lillie Mae Wesley

Profile image of Lillie Mae Wesley

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Parks Administrator
Community Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, White, Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Nothing But The Truth.

Birthplace

Born:
6/11/1921
Birth Location:
Texarkana, Texas

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Parks Administrator
Community Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, White, Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Nothing But The Truth.

Birthplace

Born:
6/11/1921
Birth Location:
Texarkana
See how Lillie Mae Wesley is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Building a better community in her adopted hometown of Long Beach, California, occupied Lillie Mae Wesley nearly all her life. Born in Texarkana, Texas, on June 11, 1921, Wesley spent her childhood in Texas. In 1942, she married Ovid Wesley, who served in the Army during World War II. As her husband prepared to leave the service in 1944, Wesley moved to Long Beach, where her sister lived. Wesley took the opportunity afforded by her husband's return to pursue an education. She began at Long Beach City College and later attended Pacific College before completing her studies at Long Beach State University, where she received a B.A. in recreation and human services.

Both professionally and personally, Wesley worked to help people, especially the less fortunate, in Long Beach. Her first job in California was with the Salvation Army, where she worked for eleven years managing distribution of used clothing and furniture to thrift stores around the area. In the 1950s, Wesley took a position with the City of Long Beach, working in the Department of Recreation. She served in several capacities, including outreach to senior citizens, before retiring in 1980 as supervisor of the Park District.

Outside of her career, Wesley actively and selflessly served her community through her church, St. Mark Baptist Church. With the help of her church and fellow parishioners, Wesley established the first storehouse for the elderly in Long Beach. She also helped elderly, illiterate blacks complete application forms and other paperwork to receive entitlement benefits.

Though she never sought special recognition for her outreach, Wesley received several citations and commendations for her service. She received the Employee of the Year Award from the city of Long Beach in 1980, was recognized by Los Angeles County on Older Americans Recognition Day in 1996, was awarded a certificate from the Family Life Foundation for her service to Long Beach families, and was congratulated by Congress for her life's work and service. In 1992, Wesley became the first black grand marshal in the history of the Long Beach Inaugural Parade.

Wesley and her husband were married fifty-nine years. They have one daughter and one granddaughter. Wesley passed away on May 21, 2010.

See how Lillie Mae Wesley is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lillie Mae Wesley's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lillie Mae Wesley lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes her family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes her parents' physical features and personalities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about being disciplined as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about her parent's educational backgrounds and her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about her father's dairy farm
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes her interests and activities as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about learning how to play the piano
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes how she learned to sew
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes why her parents enrolled her at Dunbar Elementary School in Texarkana, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about the library at Dunbar High School in Texarkana, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes the rivalry between Dunbar High School in Texarkana, Texas and Booker T. Washington High School in Texarkana, Arkansas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about the teachers who influenced her
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about her love of sewing as a teenager
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about why she avoided dating in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about working on her family's farm after high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about her father's prominence as a farmer in Texarkana, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes race relations in Texarkana, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about her father's Caucasian heritage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about a Caucasian family friend who helped her father and protected her family in Texarkana, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about attending Bishop College Extension School in Texarkana, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes courting and marrying her husband, Ovid Wesley
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about moving to California with her husband
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes how she and her husband earned their college degrees
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes her husband's role in her retirement, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes her husband's role in her retirement, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes her involvement with the Long Beach branch of the NAACP
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes how she balanced her civic involvement with being a wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lillie Mae Wesley shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about the importance of treating others well
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lillie Mae Wesley describes the respect she had for her husband
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lillie Mae Wesley shares a story about a childhood friend attempting to court her in old age, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lillie Mae Wesley shares a story about a childhood friend attempting to court her in old age, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lillie Mae Wesley talks about how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lillie Mae Wesley narrates her photographs