Real Experiences for BHM 2016: Music Gurus

The next set of heroes I want to talk about are one set of my maternal grandparents (that's a long story, just go with it): Leslie McIver, Sr. and Mary-Ann McIver. They were born a little later than may paternal grandparents, but still during the Jim Crow South. They met while attending Claflin University—1 of 4 of the only schools in South Carolina that accepted Blacks at the time. While at Claflin, my grandfather became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and my grandmother a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. After graduating, both of them began teaching music. My grandfather would go on to become a local legend as a great high school band director. My own high school band director would often bring up this fact and eventually convinced my grandfather to conduct one of the band practices for my high school (while I was still in school). My grandmother continued teaching piano lessons even after retirement, becoming the go-to person for Black children in the community who wanted to learn music. Perhaps this is why I learned to read music while I learned to read words. On top of being great musicians, both were heavily involved in serving the community. Every time I walk into their house, I am greeted by a wall of awards for their service to our community—not a community far away or that I've heard of, but the one I lived in. One little known service that they did was encourage and facilitate the formation of the first integrated United Methodist Church in my hometown. They would later be ordained as Deacons in the Methodist Church. Again, during an era where black people were not afforded many rights, my grandparents were out paving the way for future generations and doing great things. Also, growing up in an era where women were supposed to stay in the kitchen, my grandmother completed both high school and college, taught, and was ordained. They would go on to raise 4 kids, all of whom turned out to be successful, involved with their community and all around great people. ‪#‎BlackHistoryMonth2016‪#‎OhSnapWeGet29Days‪#‎MakeItCount‬ ‪#‎BeatTheOdds‬


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