My Black History: ESSENCE Readers' Old-School Pics

Last year, we asked you to submit vintage photos of friends and family that stir up sweet memories for a more personal Black History Month. Check out some of the amazing pictures we received.

ESSENCE.COM Feb, 27, 2013

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My mom and auntie paved the way for my family growing up as kids. They taught us how to be independent women of God. Through them I have learned the importance of life, love and family. Black family is beautiful! -Lakisha Coles

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This a very beloved picture of my parents on their wedding day. This picture is important to me because my parents were so in love. -Brandy Chatmon

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This is a picture of my grandmother, to the far right, with her friend Ruby next to her. They were at the Panther Lounge here in Fort Worth, Texas having coffee. My grandmother's name is Mary Alice Odom, she was our vessel of the family—she kept order, she was loving, wise, caring, and taught us life lessons. Education was first in her household. I miss her.

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This picture is important to me because my mother looked so beautiful. She was one of the first few African-American flight attendants for United Airlines. I'm very proud of my mother. -Brandy Chatmon

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These are my loving grandparents in the mid-1960s. My grandfather Msgt. Joe Ellis Sr., was serving in the Air Force at the time and my grandmother Nancy had just graduated with her Master's from Southern University-Baton Rouge. This photo was taken in Arkansas, where they were stationed. This photo is at a friend's party. This photo gives me hope and shows that Black love is still available for those who wait patiently. -Daryl Joy Walters

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Mom and Dad slow dragging at a surprise b-day bash he threw for her. It's important to me because it reminds me of what they always taught: "it's not what you have, but who you've got with you that's important." -Jolanda Logan

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I was 1978 Homecoming Queen for West Orange Stark High School. Black History "for sure."-Tammy Taylor

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My mother at 15 years old. A beauty who gave everything to her family until her last breath. She survived to her 89th birthday on July 15.2012. We sang Happy Birthday and two minutes later, she took her last breath. She made sure we were all together to celebrate her life. -Albirda Rose

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My grandmother was a “proper” lady, so this public display of affection shows a rarely seen side of the wise and nurturing matriarch I knew. In this photo I am able to see more than just glimpses gleaned from family stories and glances snuck that I caught sometimes of the dreamy girl that fell in love with my grandfather, raised 10 children with him, and stayed married to him for over 50 years. I see a multi-faceted woman the likes of which I can only aspire to be. -Darlene Scott

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My mom and dad demonstrated love, dedication, the importance of family, perseverance, and fun! I learned from the best. -Donna FisherBrown

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One of my favorite pictures is of my dad and my brother. This was taken during the 50's at a family reunion in North Carolina. My dad died in 1994. He taught me to be proud of myself, not to let anyone keep me from reaching my goals. And, most important, be proud of our race. -Penny Black

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Picture of my grandfather and my uncles and aunt with my father. -Teresa Smith

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My aunt Darlene and her three sons in the early 80's. She and her husband are still HAPPILY married even after 36 years. -Sharese Eddings

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This is a picture of my great-grandma Ola, my mom Patricia, and my grandmother Annie Frances at my baby shower in 1984. I came along two months later. I love all of these women and am so inspired by their stories, memories, and LOVE! -Stephanie Macfoy

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This is a picture of my mother, the strongest woman I know, my father, who watches over me from heaven and myself. It's the only family picture that we have together, and I saw it for the first time only a few years ago. -Shalonda Julien

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This picture is of my older brother and I on Christmas morning in 1976. It is important to me because it is one of the few pictures we have together as children. Also, it clearly shows that I should have gotten the racetrack and was determined to make it mine! -Catrice Simmons

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This photo was taken in 1969. I was four, my brothers were two and one. You can even see the photo in the background of my first pony ride. -Felicia McAroy

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This is pic of me and my mom in 1982. She made sure my sister and I knew that we came first. We pray together, we stay together. -Sharese Eddings

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Check out the bangs! Being the oldest sibling in a single parent household has great responsibility and great reward. Our mother took pride in raising us with integrity, faith and an overpouring of love. My Blackness doesn't come from the hue of my skin, the twang in my dialect, but it is who I am and I owe it all to my mother Vergie Smith. This picture reflects the pride I have being a beautiful Black young woman. -Crystal Smith

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I love this picture of my mother, Rita Holland. As a mother, grandmother, teacher and staunch advocate for education, she has always pushed others to strive for continual growth and learning about themselves and the world around them...with a positive attitude. At the time this picture was taken, Rita was 21 years old and about to graduate from college and get married. Time has passed, fashion changed and memories were made; throughout it all, Rita has always been the first to say "Attitude is Everything." This picture captures my mother's ever-present success, drive, hope, and love for life and those around her. -Nicole Holland

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Sally Cousins is my great-great-grandmother. She was born around 1880/1890. It's important because not many of us can trace our roots that far and my mother looks just like her. -Tonya Whitaker

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Family day at our home at Evergreen Avenue in the Bronx, 1970-something—I'm not sure of the year. My aunt Jeannie is in the background. -Michelle James

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My Black History! My great-grandparents, grandparents, mom and dad. -Teresa Clark

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This is a picture of my mother and my grandmother. When I think about my life today, I have to give credit to these two very strong women who raised my sisters and I to be strong, independent women. I will always cherish their memories and their ability to ground us both spiritually and emotionally. -Margaret Bailey

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This is my mom Blanchie McCarthy. She was a strong, intelligent woman. She graduated from A&T University then went on to teach in the school system. My mom was beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. She cooked great Southern food, collard greens, dirty rice, fried chicken, you name it. I thank God for her being a mother to me and my sister. Always loving and caring for us. -Catrinia Smith

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My mom on July 4th, 1977 at West Potomac in Washington, D.C. -Renee Brooks

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This is a picture of me and 11 of my sisters. There were a total of 14 girls (two are deceased at the time of this picture) and seven boys, all from the same parents. We were taught about GOD, family, love and forgiveness and we still practice that today. Thank you, Mom and Dad! Continue to rest in peace. -Hattie Yancey

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My auntie Jan looking fabulous in spring of '77. -Renee Brooks

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Me and my family in the 70s. Although my father wasn't around when we were growing up, this is how I would like to remember him. After I finally swallowed my pride and reconnected with him for the sake of my children, he passed away three years later in 2009 of throat cancer. -Tamika Ross

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This is a picture of my great aunt Helen, my eldest cousin Daiven, my grandmother Edna and grandfather Andrew. These four people are my inspiration. My grandfather passed away when I was two and my great aunt Helen passed away in 2002 of cancer. I was very close to her. My cousin Daiven is more like my big sister. Her being 34, no kids, and having a college degree; I look at her and know I can do anything. My grandmother Edna is my backbone; her losing her youngest daughter in October 2010 (my mother), she has been there for me throughout and beyond. These four people represent overcoming struggle, defeat, and overall love. -Ashley Rogers

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The is my family, the Banks. This was the last picture of my mother and our whole family. The back row, from the left: brother Aundra; sister Faye; brother Clarence; me; my brother Robert; front row; my oldest sister, Joyce and loving mother Clara Banks. OMG, I miss her so much. I love my family. And once a year we still get together for The Banks Bayou BBQ. -Felecia Banks

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"This photograph represents the timeless sisterhood that has always existed between the many generations of women in my family. My mother, Norgina Wright Penn, my grandmother Allegra Merry Wright, and my second cousin Roalene Phillips, posed for this photo many year ago as they celebrated a joint business together. Two of them have long since gone on to heaven and the third, Ms. Phillips, continues to keep their legacy of fierce and fabulous womanhood alive within our family." -- Charli Penn

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A picture of my parents and my four siblings in 1976. This photo is important because our parents have always emphasized the importance of family and supporting one another. -Susan Holmes-Walker

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This is a picture of my grandmother, Dorothy. She passed when I was 4 or 5 years old. But I remember her like it was yesterday. Our trips to AC and hanging out will always be in my heart. -Sherla Scott

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Evidence of Black love is so important within our community. Whenever I think of love, I think of my grandparents. They taught me how to love myself and love others. They embodied love. They surely loved each other. I'm getting married this November and this photo keeps me inspired about the love I have for my fiance. -Brandi Neloms

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I love this picture. My two aunts (R.I.P.) loved my sister and I dearly. The youngest of my mother's siblings was in fact the most protective of everyone in the family. My cousin Nat, who lost his mother (my aunt) when he was younger than in the picture, is shown with his father, Mr. Burkes (R.I.P.). He never turned his back on Nat, he was with him every step of the way. This picture was taken in 1979 at my grandmother's house. The love at that time is priceless. -Natasha Douglas

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The picture is of my mom, my dad, my deceased brother (died one year ago) and I. -Shakina Shaw

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Me and my sisters and brother when we were younger and times were simple and moments were cherished. In these times, we need to love more and let go of the rest. -Angela Ray

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This is my grandmother and grandfather with nine of their 13 kids. This picture allows each grandchild to draw strength from the beauty it holds. We are strong, intelligent and beautiful—we are FAMILY! Might I add, before my grandmother died in 1989 she had more than 108 grandchildren... WOW. -Phillip Cody

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This is my grandmother who was born in 1911 in rural MS. I think she had to be the strongest woman that I've ever known. She raised six kids and in her life, she has seen so many things...I just wish she had been around to see Obama get into the White House. -Tiffay Jackson

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This is a picture of me and my father on my 8th grade graduation back in 1978. It means so much to me because my dad is my hero and now his health is a bit fragile and he is legally blind. -Katty Henriquez-Thillet

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Picture of the Lemon's Family taken in Chandler, Texas in front of the family homeplace in 1930. My paternal great grandparents, my paternal grandmother and her siblings are pictured here. Our family members instilled the importance of high moral values, pride, respect and dignity to the generations. There is only one living family member in this picture, the baby, (my second cousin) is 83 years old today. -Carla Haggerty