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My beloved grandmother

My beloved grandmother, Essie Nicholls, was 96 when she died last year. She lived a good and long life. In almost 100 years on this earth, she lived through the Depression, the Civil Rights Movement and the nation’s first black president. She’d seen it all.

During World War II, my grandmother lived in Washington, D.C. She relocated from New York in search of work. She lived on Georgia Avenue – not far from Howard University.

One day she went shopping, and wanted to try on a hat, but couldn't unless she bought it. She wasn't allowed to try it on because she was black. As a young woman from New York, my grandmother wasn’t used to that. She never forgot that experience and didn’t want much to do with D.C. after that.

However, she returned to D.C. in 1963 for the March on Washington. She remembered a historic, beautiful day that went off without a hitch. And when she returned for a visit in 2006, she found a city that was majority black.

Change was all around her. She moved back to New York at 94 after 20 years in Florida. Through it all, my grandmother lived a life of dignity and grace. She would expect us to do the same.

As I strive to honor her legacy, I must stay strong and hold on to what makes me happy. My grandmother wouldn’t have it any other way.

– Nicole L. Gill, Digital Content Editor, CouncilMag.com

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