Virginia’s House is a non profit 501(c3) organization servicing survivors of domestic violence. I continue to be inspired by the compassion of my mother, Virginia Askew. Growing up mama told me stories of how as a young girl in Mississippi she cleaned houses for twenty-five cents weekly and having five customers she would end up with $1.25 at the end of the week. As an adult she and my father were sharecroppers with four children and as sharecroppers they never had enough to feed or clothe the family.
This caused my father to leave Mississippi to find a job and home for them “up North”, as mama would say. In order to make this journey mama would have to sew and patch all of their clothes by hand and because she had no shoes to wear she would take old shoe soles and wrap her legs and feet in newspaper and then tied it all together with string to have “paper shoes”.
All of her life was directed towards helping others, her family, friends or foes she kept her door open and enough food on the stove. With an eight grade education she could read and write my father could only write his name, he was not allowed to attend school. After finding work in Chicago she and my father soon became entrepreneurs opening a small grocery store.
Her doors continued to be open to her family and neighbors converting her home into a rooming house, sometimes renting out rooms but more times than not, she was not paid but she took it all in stride, saying God would provide. Mama loved helping others and in order to do this she cooked and sold dinners, candy, cakes and pies and snow cones. Being a mother in her church and an activist in her community she was able to get clothes and food for those without. Her love of her family and community continued until she was called home on 03/15/2000.