top of page

Fri, Mar 18


ZOOM event


"GRANDMOTHERS" ZOOM video link: (Virtual ZOOM only) / Meeting ID: 882 9844 2075 / Passcode: 043822 / Phone: (646) 558-8656 Hear about the lives of eight women who lived from the Jim Crow to Civil Rights eras in the deep south of Florida.

Registration is closed
See other events

Time & Location

Mar 18, 2022, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

ZOOM event


About the event

"GRANDMOTHERS" ZOOM virtual presentation link:

[Meeting ID: 882 9844 2075; Passcode: 043822;  Phone: (646) 558-8656]



In Celebration of Women’s History Month, The Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center (CCMCC) invites you to the "GRANDMOTHERS" YouTube video premiere on Friday, March 18, at 7 pm. Register here on the CCMCC website and you will receive a link for the "GRANDMOTHERS" video  and post-viewing general public Q & A "live" Zoom, featuring Ms. Vivian Filer, CEO of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center (CCMCC) and Dr. Zoharah Simmons, retired UF professor and Civil Rights activist.

Introduction to "GRANDMOTHERS" staged reading premiere:


The "GRANDMOTHERS" video interweaves vivid recollections of eight Gainesville women who lived during the Jim Crow era, the struggle for voting rights, racial civil rights and rights for women. Six of the women represented in the video are Black and two are White. The "GRANDMOTHERS" actresses perform the women’s words verbatim as excerpted from oral history interviews collected by University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and arranged to create this powerful story, by Dr. Elizabeth Heard.

These Gainesville women’s oral histories reveal the everyday pain and joys and successes of women’s lives during the 1930s-1960s. Black women’s lives included severe limitations and threats of violence imposed by segregation and Jim Crow laws. They speak of personal struggles to meet the challenges from racism in the education system, on the job, and in stores. The women voice their experiences with courage, humor, and strength. Hearing their personal stories, intimately told, we truly appreciate and celebrate these women who came before us and how they advanced racial equality and women’s rights for all of us.


Historical Photo Montage:


"GRANDMOTHERS" CHARACTERS and CAST (in order of appearance)

Sebrenah Phillips plays Cora Roberson who was a teacher at A. Quinn Jones and Lincoln High. She was active in the NAACP and Gainesville Women for Equal Rights. Cora Roberson was the first Black teacher assigned to the formerly White school, Kirby Smith.

Brenadette Harper plays Janie Roberts whose father, in her words, was “half Indian and half Yankee.” He was sharecropper in Hague. Her Black mother was a busy midwife. The family moved to Gainesville to the Pleasant Street neighborhood which she described in detail from that era.

Pamela Marshall Koons plays Florence Woods, a Black nurse who was educated in Atlanta, Georgia, worked at Alachua General Hospital in Gainesville, Florida and questioned the blatant inequality in working conditions between Black and White staff.

Vivian Filer plays Mable Dorsey, whose mother was a maid but wanted her daughter to be educated. Mable Dorsey became a lead teacher at Lincoln, teaching Home Economics and Modern Family Life. She became the Florida Extension Service’s first Black educator and supervisor.

Denise Matthews plays Gussie Rudderman, a White Jewish woman from Atlanta who owned the downtown clothing store, Ruddys, with her husband. They were members of Gainesville’s first Synagogue.

Yvette Clarke plays Savannah Williams who was musically gifted. She was a Black woman who became an activist for racial equality, for voting rights and worked in Gainesville’s Civil Rights movement, fighting to end segregation.

Keturah Bailey Acevedo plays Mary Aaron who was a Black woman born in Liberty County, Florida. There she learned how to hunt and fish from her mother. Her father was a logger and a farmer. When she moved to Gainesville after World War II, she worked for a UF fraternity while sewing nights and weekends for her own successful dressmaking business.

Emilee Matthews plays Mable Voyle. Her father worked for the Frist Bank. As a daughter in a White middle-class Gainesville family, her memories reflect the leisure pleasures of a White girlhood of that era.


Share this event

bottom of page