In 1918 and 1919 thirty-seven young women, friends and neighbors of my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner were members of the Edelweiss Club in Montgomery, Alabama. These are snapshots from their lives, place and times.

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Anita Nesbitt was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the third of the twelve children of Joseph and Mattie (Wilson) Nesbitt. Eight survived to adulthood. In 1900 Anita’s mother said she had birthed four children and all were living. In 1910 Mattie who was 36, had birthed 12 children of which seven were still living. She’ had given birth seven times during the decade between the census of 1900 and 1910 There was one set of twins.

Her parents were both literate. The children all attended school. Her father, Joseph was a house carpenter. They lived on the same block of Tuscaloosa as Gwendolyn Lewis and Nellie Taylor and several blocks from the Booker Washington School, where Anita taught for some years.

The teachers associated with the Edelweiss Club were: Georgie W. Farris, Effie Mae Todd, Cecile Walton, Daisy Turner, Anita Nesbitt, Madge Brown, Juanita Davis, Jessie L. Freeman, Naomi Rodgers and Janie Binford.

When she was eighteen Anita graduated from State Normal school in 1916. The following year she started teaching at Day Street School. After that she taught at Booker T. Washington until 1926 when she married. She was 29. Her husband worked at the Veteran’s Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, about 38 miles from Montgomery. They had one son. When her husband died in 1978 she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her son, who was a dentist. That is where she died in 1982 after a long illness.

6 thoughts on “N – Anita NESBITT

    1. I only discovered the club existed after The Emancipator newspaper was added to Newspapers.com . That was about 2018 when I mentioned them in the A to Z that year. I haven’t had any contact with descendants via the Edelweiss Club, although I have heard from several descendants due to other posts I did about their ancestors.
      I don’t know if my grandmother stayed in touch. I don’t have any letters or photographs or memories to prove it. I know my grandparents never returned to the South after they moved to Detroit.
      I did not know Anita. I don’t know if she every came to Detroit.

  1. Anita was the third of twelve children and five of them died young. Before marriage she must have had to work hard, both helping her mother with the younger children at home and teaching for 10 years. I wonder what the shift to married life would have been like for the Edelweiss Club members?

    1. There’s a good topic, “Wedded Bliss”, since I already passed “M”. Some of them missed the freedom they had as single, working women.For some it worked well and for some it didn’t last very long at all. I will have to check how many never married, how many stayed married and how many soon split up.

    1. Yes. All the women who were members and most of the guests were working outside the home. Sometimes guest would be out of town relatives of members who had married and moved away and were visiting. Two of the members worked for family businesses. One guest was a seamstress. The rest were teachers. There were no housewives as members.

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