This is a photo of Daoud Haroon’s Maternal Grand Parents and extended family. Taken in Columbia, South Carolina in about 1904 on the front porch of their home at 1324/5 Elmwood Avenue. Daoud Haroon comments on the following photos:
“My Grandfather William Thomas, Mr. Billy as he was known, was born into slavery around the year 1860 – 5 years before the end of American The Civil War between the North & the South.
He is seated to the far right against the railing, my mother (Veda) is seated in between his legs and his wife Miss Essie is seated behind him holding my aunt Trudy. His Grandmothers parents and brother are seated to her left.The young girl at the center was the ‘house-girl’, who did the house cleaning and the laundry – she eventually inherited the house and the property when Daoud Haroon’s family abandoned the South and migrated North.
My Great Grand Uncle Francis Thomas is seated in the middle, far left was a well known musician who graduated from The New England Conservatory of Music in 1902, and went on to receive his Masters Degree in Liturgical Music from the University of Chicago in 1910. He wrote the Alma Mater for the all White Columbia, High School, fifty years before they allowed Blacks to attend the High School – talk about life being strange. I think they are still singing that Alma Mater today.
My Uncle Bill, seated in between the legs of my Grand Uncle Francis eventually grew up to be a gangster and used to drive bootleg whiskey for Al Capone in Chicago.”
Here is a photo of my Maternal grandparents and great grand parents taken in the backyard of the same house on Elmwood Ave. It was taken (my best guess is during the mid to the latter part of the 1880s, – my guess is based on the fact that the youth standing to the right of my Grand Mother, Mrs. Essie Thomas is the same distinguished gentleman: Uncle Francis Thomas, in the first picture -the musician and composer. I am certain these are my grandmothers parents – I think my Grandfathers parents were lost during slavery.”
Veda Thomas / Born March 2, 1901/ Died August 1966
“A mother and friend to many – she turned no one away from her door.”
From Left to right: 1. Cousin Jacqueline, 2. Aunt Trudy, 3. Sister Jean, 4. Mother (Veda T.) 5. Sister Jacqueline.
Me: John Mancebo Lewis / Front Center
Daoud Haroon’s immediate family: