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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Nguyen

Angela Moore

Story sponsored by friends of Angela


Interview by Teresa Nguyen

March, 2024



Former Director of Badger Girl Scouts Council

Developed Circle of Diversity Committee

First African American to Obtain National CEO Certification

Former Executive Director of the YWCA Rock County

Helped Establish the Girl Scouts Program Center at Big Hill Park (Welty Environmental Center)

Girl Scouts Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II Award Recipient

Former Zonta Club Member

Zonta Tribute to Women Award Recipient

Former Member Rock County Diversity Committee

Board Member Women’s Fund - Stateline Community Foundation

Board Member Diversity Action Team of Rock County

Close to 50-Year Member of NAACP

Member of Beloit Rotary Club

Rotary Paul Harris Award Recipient

Wisconsin Universities Women of Color Award Recipient

Member African American Liaison Advisory Committee

City of Beloit Proclamation Recipient

Community Activist


Well Documented Family History


Our relatives on my mother’s side came over on a 1619 ship from parts of Angola, Africa. The first baby, who was born on that ship, was named Angela. By sheer coincidence, that is also my name! The ship docked in Fort Monroe in Hampton, but my family eventually settled in Surry County, about 40 miles away.


The path of the São João Bautista and the White Lion slave ships

The 1619 Project, developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones, focused on subjects of slavery and the founding of the United States. It includes the arrival of this ship to Hampton, Virginia and they actually reached out and sent my family all the information about our ancestors. In 2019, 400 years after the first ship landed, there was a commemoration ceremony held in Virginia with entertainment, dignitaries, and a reunion of many descendants of the people on that ship.


To see the trailer for The 1619 Project click here:



The following is a brief history of the White Lion ship and first Africans, Angela’s ancestors, who were kidnapped from Angola and brought to Virginia. This information is according to the encyclopediavirginia.org website:


In 1619, the Portuguese slave ship São João Bautista’s captain, Manuel Mendes da Cunha, carried with him 350 enslaved Africans, 200 to sell in New Spain.


According to Spanish records, da Cunha had been robbed off the coast of Campeche (along present-day Mexico’s Gulf Coast) by “English corsairs,” or privateers. One of those privateers was captain of the 160-ton White Lion, which sailed out of the port of Vlissingen (Flushing), the Netherlands.


An old drawing displayed at Milton House Museum, depicting the cruelties toward African Americans by the white settlers

Captain John Colyn Jope bore official paperwork, which allowed him to attack and plunder Spanish ships.

The White Lion crew attacked the Portuguese slave ship São João Bautista in July or early August in 1619. They brought along sixty or so of da Cunha’s enslaved Africans and substantial quantities of grain and tallow to Virginia. Some of the Africans were then transported to Jamestown.


The White Lion was in Virginia for a month. Therefore, it probably sold any other African captives that remained aboard.


Virginia’s first census was compiled in March 1620. It listed the “colony’s thirty-two Africans: fifteen male and seventeen female. They, along with four Indians, were categorized as “Others not Christians in the Service of the English.”


For many decades, our story was passed down through oral history. My family had been freed people and ended up in Surry County. It was an enclave of Africans, Native Americans and Scotch Irish. They formed a bond and lived in this community together.


My family actually owned land, which was rare and nearly impossible for African American families. They owned land from numerous ways. Our family still owns lots and lots of acres in that area. So, as landowners, and through all the marriages, there was a solid paper trail of family history.


We can also document over a dozen men from our family who fought in the American Revolutionary War.


I’d always known about a lot of the stories of my family. My maternal side has been aware of our history for years, way before Ancestry.com. They were successful in researching the history with that documentation and for the fact that they didn’t move more than 50 miles away. That helped to keep all the history right there.



Additionally, the court house didn’t burn down, as often happened, in all those hundreds of years, so the papers were all preserved. Those documents reinforced our oral history and the stories my grandmother and mother had shared with us.


Angela and Cousin Anthony

Then, in later years, when information could be found on the internet through genealogy sites, my cousin, Anthony, researched documents from the county courthouse. He became one of our "family historians".



Famous Family Members


Through all that research, we also found ourselves related to some well-known celebrities. Henry Louis Gates Jr., American literary critic, professor, historian and filmmaker created a television documentary series called Finding Your Roots, which explores the genealogies and family histories of prominent guests. On his show, he interviewed Wanda Sykes, who we discovered is on our family tree! She mentioned in her interview that she’s from Virginia and Gates said in the show that it was unusual that they could go back to the 1600s. But we had already done that before the program aired.



Our shared ancestor was a white woman, an indentured servant, Elizabeth Banks, born around 1665. She had a baby by an enslaved man and it is documented that, as a result, she received 30 lashes and time was added to her servitude. Her children were also indentured servants. There was a very different standard for slaves than there was for indentured servants. So, when she was freed, her children were free and they were able to buy land, as well.


Angela's famous relatives: Comedian Wanda Sykes, Actors Jeffrey Wright and Karen Huger

My cousin also found that Jeffrey Wright, the actor, is on our family tree. Jeffrey Wright has received numerous accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award, a Tony Award, and a Golden Globe Award. He was also nominated for an Academy Award.


Karen Huger, television personality known for her role in Real Housewives of the Potomac, is also a distant relative. She’s actually from Surry.

 

Granny

 

My maternal grandmother, Cora, would always share stories with me about the people in our family. She came from a large family and was the oldest. My maternal great grandfather lived well into his 90s, which was unusual back then. He had been a carpenter by trade. His wife, my grandmother’s mother had passed away at a young age. “Granny”, as I called her, ended up taking care of her siblings while her father went to work, and she was still young.


She had to cook and take care of the house. Every day, she would swing on the gate and wait for him. She would sweetly ask him, “When are you going to get a mother for us?”


He would say, “Sister, Papa’s gonna’ get a mother soon. Just be patient.”


Angela's maternal grandmother

He eventually married and brought her home. The couple had more children before she also passed away. So, the responsibility of caring for all of those children fell onto my grandmother, once again. She was back on that gate, waiting for her daddy, because she was still so young. He remarried, and then his third wife died! Granny would tell me all these stories. She was a very strong woman through all of that.


Granny was so special to me. My sister and I stayed with her a lot. She was sweet, but strong, and very important to me in my life. She was always very proud of me and praised me when I would bring home those good report cards, getting A’s. She was always there for me.


I remember when I was a young girl, I would say to myself that if anything happened to Granny, they would have to bury me with her. She took us to church and was well respected. I learned that just from watching her. She was very quiet and humble, but people respected her and I admired that. I thought it was wonderful. I was 28 when she passed.


My Parents and Early Years


My parents each came from a family of 10, so we always had a lot of relatives around. My father met my mother in high school. My father’s family had moved from North Carolina to Hampton, Virginia.


They were a young married couple and young parents, and it was a tumultuous relationship. They were two strong-willed people.


I was born in 1954 in Virginia, where our family had lived for hundreds of years. That location, Hampton, is the oldest historical settlement in America. NASA trained astronauts there. The Hidden Figures movie told of the history that happened there with African American women mathematicians. It’s a beautiful area of the country.


I’m the oldest, and my sister is 11 months younger. My parents divorced when I was only two. My mother remarried and my stepfather was good to us. My brother, Carl, came along when I was 13.


My mother was very beautiful. Her nickname was “Doll”, and I remember my father would say he had to ‘fight for her’ because even when they’d go to the movie theater, the men would approach her all the time!


Angela's mother, nicknamed "Doll"

My role was to take care of my sister, even though she was only 11 months younger. I took it seriously, and never questioned that or resented that. My mother always worked and my grandmother would go grocery shopping once a week.


My grandfather would take her to the market on Saturdays, as Sunday the market was closed because of the “Blue Law”. (The Blue Law was a 1950 Code of Virginia, which prohibited the working or transacting of business on Sunday, except for businesses specified in the law.) Granny would then cook the rest of the day on Saturday so that we would have a meal after church on Sundays.


Because my mother came from a family of ten children, they did not have a lot of resources. So, when we were young, she put everything into us, her children. My sister and I, we were like twins and in some of our photos we looked like little glamorous TV stars.


When I was growing up, we lived in a Black community. Our doctors were Black, our lawyers were Black, our shoe repair people, beauticians, everything we needed was in our community. It was like our safety net and they shielded us.


When we played with our cousins, we never had fights, but we argued over being the Indians when we played because, to us, they were the heroes.

Angela, her mother and younger sister, Beverly

We lived in the city, but often visited our home in the country where we would stay with my cousin Anthony, the one who took on our family history. We would spend our summers out there. We would all play together out in the yard, morning, noon and night! We explored as far as we could go and we’d eat pears off the pear tree. We had a lot of fun.


Angela with Santa

I remember regularly going to church in both Hampton and Surry County. The church in Surry is historical, it is the same church my family had been attending for decades. We even have a family cemetery at the church in Surry.


Role Models and History


I watched my grandmother maneuver situations with family members and she did it so gently. My mother was not a gentle person. But I learned from both my mother’s and Granny’s example. I learned which way was more effective, and learned a lot from Granny.


She taught me things from telling me, but also by example. She taught me what to do and what not to do. My maternal grandmother was strong in her ways and my mother was, too, in her own way.


Nobody bothered us because everyone was afraid of my mother. But I had good role models in both of them.

Angela (right) with her mom, sister and little brother

We always had a keen and profound sense of history and the African American experience and how it all affected us, the slavery and all of the unjust systems, like Jim Crow laws. I remember Emmett Till, the young teenager who was killed the year after I was born. That story was told over and over again in my family and we knew, pretty intimately, about what happened to him.


We had strong oral communication in our family, but also subscribed to Jet Magazine, a weekly publication, that included photos and news stories, so that we knew what was going on in the African American community. Otherwise our news wasn't published. They wouldn't even publish wedding announcements with photos of Black brides. I remember my paternal grandmother canceled her paper because of their practices. We also had the Journal & Guide, a local newspaper for the Black community.


There’s been a strong history of Black newspapers sharing our people’s stories and that’s how we got the news. I also subscribed to Jet to help my sons know what’s going on.


I’d like to remind everyone, and society, that the children are watching and interpreting what they see. Sometimes it’s a positive thing and sometimes it’s not.


Early Education


I was born in the year that Brown vs. Board of Education was approved by the Supreme Court. Yet it took 14 years for me to attend integrated schools in Virginia. That was because of the wording in the law, ‘based on all deliberate speed’. Eventually, the federal government had to intervene


People think that the issue of school integration was so long ago, but I am Ruby Bridges’ age. It happened in our lifetime. I marvel at her parents for being so brave to do that, when she was a little six-year-old girl.


So, on the documentation, I was born “Colored”, was raised “Negro” and became “Black” throughout my youth.


Angela's Segregated Class - She is 3rd from left, front row in the peach dress

As a little girl in 4th grade, I remember mock voting, going behind a red curtain, to vote for JFK or Richard Nixon. I remember it as clear as day. I voted for JFK because his face looked honest.


JFK was killed when I was nine years old. They released us from school. I remember walking home along the path just crying my eyes out. The thought going through my young mind was, “Now Black people have no hope.” I knew he was a friend of Black people. I thought, “Where can we go and what’s going to happen from here?” It really affected me profoundly.


I remember when the four girls were killed in the bombing of the church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15th, 1963. What was so poignant to me was that when I was in church, I kept looking around to see if our church would be bombed, too. I had a lot of fear about that, because I was around the age of those little girls and I feared that I could be like them, with a photo in the paper.


And I remember watching the March on Washington with MLK Jr. on television. I was 9 years old, turned around and I told my mother, “I should be there! I’m supposed to be there!” I felt so strongly that I should be present.


My mother replied, “Girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about…do you want to be killed?”


But I really wanted to go and felt that I had to be there, that it was something I was supposed to do.


A New Integrated School


During middle and high school, I had responsibilities at home, much like my grandmother. I had to come home and cook. Both my grandmother and mother taught me how to cook.


When I was 14, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Again, like the loss of President Kennedy, I felt that this was something that was going to push us back. But I didn’t feel comfortable talking about those fears to my mother. It was devastating to me.


Attending the new, integrated middle school was an adjustment, but not as much for me as it could have been. I was a good student.


We had new desks, new books, new everything. My whole life I had been used to old, scratched, written on, beat up desks and old textbooks that were written in or with torn out pages. Those were all handed down to us from the white schools. This integrated school also had new equipment in the science lab and I thought, “Wow”. It opened my eyes to the huge disparities between the white and black schools. The dress code was also different. We were used to a staunch dress code, but this was a more liberal atmosphere, as far as school attire goes.


There were a lot of changes and there was a lot of racism. In the new school, after integration, they placed police officers in the halls to maintain order. But we never had issues at the Black schools that required police officers. I think they were afraid there would be issues.


Integration in the South - Photo from the Library of Congress

I was told by the school counselor at the integrated school that I was a good student and got good grades, but to not expect that at the new school. It was as if she believed my education had been sub-par. It made me strengthened my resolve.


I thought, “You don’t know what you’re talking about and I’m going to prove you wrong.” I was ready for the challenge!


We had a principal that first year, who called us down for a meeting on the intercom. He said, “I want all of the Niggeroid students to meet in the gym.” My sister and I were at the same school, being so close in age. In the assembly, he proceeded to tell us all, “We’ve had some problems here already this early in the school year. We’ve had 20 Niggeroid students come to the office and only two whites.”


We knew that the teachers had no tolerance for and no experience with children of color and would immediately send them to the office for any little thing. He wanted it cleared up. He kept saying, “All you Niggeroid children”. My sister was clearly and literally confused, so she got up to leave the assembly. I urgently asked her, “Where are you going?” She said, “I’m not a Niggeroid child.” I told her to sit down and said, “He means us.”


We went home and told our parents and everybody. The other kids went home and told their parents. The parents all petitioned the administration. My mother was a part of that. As a result, that principal was fired. And that was a big deal back then, in 1969, to be fired for saying that to the Black students. He obviously had no defense.


Angela's mom (left), sister Beverly (center) and Angela (right)

I could tell you dozens of stories like that. In spite of all this, my education was stellar.


In high school, I belonged to FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and was a member of the Social Group of girls in high school. When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, we helped raise money with churches and activists for the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Norfolk, Virginia.


Activism and Involvement


My mother was a talker and would express what she felt was right or wrong. We knew how she felt about things. She had the temperament of an angry activist. She would come up against anybody. In contrast, my grandmother was very quiet.


I felt from an early age that we could make a change in the world, to make it a better place. I realized that the way we had been treated was unfair. But I’ve never embraced a “victim mentality”. And I realized I had to get involved and got my political activism from knowing that you can change the system through elections and through people who serve as your politician. My long-time activism is a part of my story, as well.


I remember that on my 18th birthday, I caught the bus to city hall to register to vote. In Virginia, you had to register first at least 30 days before the election. I knew it was SO important and how so many of my people were denied the right to vote and even died for that right to vote. That was the second year in the country for 18-year-olds to vote!


Eventually, I had those opportunities to attend marches and conferences and more. I was able to do those things my grandmother would have been proud of.


Higher Education and Work


Having friends in the new school helped to bridge the gaps between our sub-cultures. After high school, I attended community college. Neither one of my parents attended college, so I was a first-generation college graduate.


Angela learning good form at an NAACP golfing event

I worked, even while in college, as a legal secretary and Office Manager for a Black law firm for Robert Scott. At the time, I couldn’t even imagine being hired by a white firm. Perhaps a few years later, but not then. The firm was right there in Newport News. I enjoyed the job and the lawyer had political insights. He ran for State Delegate, much like Wisconsin’s State Assembly. He won and that was ground-breaking! They had a lot of connections and were a respected firm. It was an excellent place to work.


Eventually, I became the Legislative/Administrative Assistant to Senator Scott and had the opportunity to be involved at the state level and learned so much. I helped to coordinate and organize his campaigns. I felt that God put me in the right place at the right time to learn and have access to all of that. I worked there for nine years.


After that, I took a Girl Scouts position as Business Services Director in Virginia in charge of business, finance and human resources. I worked in that position for nine years, as well.


Moving Out of Virginia

When I moved from Virginia, at some point I had to close up the family home and make the decisions.


During that time made frequent visits back home. Then, about two years after I'd left Virginia, I returned to find my mother was more ill than what she had shared on the phone with me on the phone. I knew that I had to bring her back with me and couldn't leave her there.


On one of the visits home, I discovered my mother’s things were gone, including all her photos. My mother was a pictures person and documented all of our childhood. Her things had been put in storage and then that storage space was emptied out without my knowing. We lost so many family photos. That was very difficult.


I hadn’t left home in all that time, so I had to be strategic about my future. I was 38 and had my two sons by then, Tracy and Korey. They are nine years apart and Korey was named after my grandmother, Cora.


Angela with her youngest son, Korey

My brother usually stayed with me, because he was so young, and also my nephew. When my youngest was born, they would want to play with the baby and touch him. I had to guide them, including my oldest son, to be gentle and careful and to not hit the baby.


One day, I came into the room and found the baby, Korey, hitting his older brother. Tracy just took it and didn’t do anything, because I had instilled in him to be so gentle with the baby! He was doing just that, but I had to tell him not to put up with the little one hitting him!


Korey was nicknamed “Ditto”, because he always tried to do whatever his older brother did.


Angela's son, Tracy, with trumpet

Tracy was in college and Korey was ten-years-old when I was accepted for a national fellowship. I spent 14 months on that fellowship in St. Louis, Missouri. Tracy stayed back in Virginia and later came to Wisconsin along with my mother. He joined the U.S. Army after that and later attended UW Whitewater.


Coming to Rock County


I had applied to various positions. One was in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was from the South and Shreveport seemed a natural fit. However, I also received an offer as Director for the Girl Scouts of Badger Council here up north, which covered three counties, Rock, Walworth and Green, plus northern Winnebago County in Illinois.


At that time, I didn’t know much about Wisconsin. In my mind, I believed that everything was white; the people, the milk and the snow! But, when I came for an interview, I saw the diversity in Beloit and the chair of the search committee was African American, Regina Prude. She helped me see what my role might be and how I might fit.


I moved to Wisconsin in February of 1993 when there was a -30 wind-chill factor! I brought my 12-year-old son and intended to bring my mother up here later that year. I moved without a support system and, after moving her up here, took care of my mother morning, noon and night. I had to hook up her IV’s and everything. My mother passed in the spring of 1994.


I stayed with that position for 16 years.


We had a national realignment and they were collapsing councils and consolidating areas. This area was going to be expanded to include both Badger Council and a total of 26 counties, all the way up to La Crosse. It changed a lot and I would have had to apply to that position. I felt that was a huge area, but also that it would be helpful to have new energy coming in. So, I took early retirement from there.


After a year off, I was called and hired to be the manager of a project to research African American infant mortality. I did that for nearly two years. There were three sites across the state. One was Racine, one Kenosha and the other Beloit. All three had high rates of infant mortality.


Then I applied for the Executive Director position of the YWCA of Rock County in 2014. I helped with the diversity initiative so that we were closer aligned to our mission. I started the Racial Justice Conference and we had a few hundred people, which was at capacity, who attended each year until COVID hit. We always exceeded capacity. But then, that year, we went virtual and had over 700 attending! People felt they could participate that way.


With YWCA Racial Justice Award recipient, Beloit College Professor, George Williams.

My goal was to bring more awareness to diversity and the issues, to share knowledge and information, to bring in speakers they may not have had access to. And the Racial Justice Conference program is still going on today. In my position, I once spoke to a congressional committee about the YWCA and its mission. The national YWCA office had contacted me along with some other executives. The committee was looking for diversity-focused examples around the country.


I stayed in that position with the YWCA of Rock County until I got COVID myself and ended up in the hospital for 23 days. Then long-haul COVID set in, so it’s still hard for me. I’m being forced to learn how to slow down. But my goal is still to try and help improve the world and share whatever skills I have, however I can.


When I left the YWCA, I was at a retirement age, but I had planned to work another year. The illness forced me to retire and I couldn’t quite reach that goal.


Originally a Girl Scout Program Center, this building was established with the leadership of Angela Moore. The building is currently the Welty Environmental Center in Beloit serving the youth of our community. Photo - City of Beloit

Community Involvement


Back in 1998, I was involved in the capital campaign which led to the establishment of the Girl Scout Program Center, which later became the Welty Environmental Center at Big Hill Park. We were able to raise 1.2 million dollars for the project through the capital campaign through the Girl Scouts.


Currently, the Center is a wonderful place for our youth. According to lakesedition.com, the center activities consist of “a variety of learning experiences, including projects that meet state standards for school and home school groups, special workshops for teachers and adult leaders, festivals and programs for whole families, library outreach, summer day camps, and activities in collaboration with many not-for-profit groups in Beloit and the surrounding Stateline area.


The Beloit City Council will be honoring me with a proclamation regarding the center on Monday, March 18th, 2024 and will hang my portrait in the building at a later date this spring. I think about the little girls who might read that plaque under the photo, see my picture and say, "Hey, maybe I could do that."

Angela (on right) with her fellow Diversity Action Team Board Members. Photo by Kim Hoholek Photography

I was a member of the Zonta Club for many years and I’m on the board of the Stateline Women’s Fund through the Stateline Community Foundation. I served on the Rock County Diversity Committee, as well. It’s been a lot. I’ve been involved with the NAACP for over 40 years and I’m on the board of Diversity Action Team, and a member of the Beloit Rotary Club, though it’s hard to get to all the meetings with my health having slowed me down. In Janesville, I’m on the African American Liaison Committee with the Janesville Police Department, though I’m not sure when we’ll pick that up again, as we have a new chief now.


Family


My birth father is still alive. He’s in good health in his 80s and we are in touch often. I’m very fortunate.


My sister, Beverly, passed away in 2005. She ended up with four children after two divorces. Her third husband was a man from Nova Scotia. His last name is Gero and they had two children together. They have a small museum there that traces his family to South Carolina, a family of freed or runaway slaves. It’s a remarkable story, like our family’s. My sister and brother-in-law lived outside Toronto.


Beverly passed away at age 50 and it took me a while to get over that. I'm still not over it. I was always told, “Take care of your sister.” And there wasn’t anything I could do when she suddenly collapsed at work. We had been so close; we could finish each other’s’ sentences and we had shared so many experiences. We shared funny stories and laughed a lot at the same things. It was great having a sister like her; with whom you could share so much .



I remember that Friday evening, I had taken my granddaughter to the skating rink. When I got back and heard the message, it was from her husband who said she got sick at work and they had rushed her to the hospital. He added, “It doesn’t look good.” I took the next flight out. When I got there, she was in a coma. After five days she passed away, and I was with her every single day.


In Canada, the medical system is different and it was difficult for me to figure out what went wrong with her or to get solid answers. Some of the medical staff said it had to do with high blood pressure, another said a brain aneurism and others said her asthma. I also met with her primary physician in his office and he said that she didn't have a high blood pressure issue.


They did not do a full autopsy, but they did a brain autopsy and did not find an aneurism. We still don’t know exactly why she died. It’s been a source of frustration and I still don’t know what happened at work that day. She was the type to run to the doctor for any little thing, so I don’t think she had been ill prior to that.


Angela and her brother Carl

We had a funeral in Canada. She was very much loved and lots of people came and spoke at the funeral. We also had a funeral in Virginia because we have so many relatives, cousins, aunts and uncles! She had grown up there and knew lots of people there, too.


I’m in touch with her children, so that’s a good thing.


My brother Carl is doing well. He’s in Virginia, too, and we’re in touch.


I have my two sons, Tracy and Korey and now five grandchildren! One grandchild is in Virginia and the other four are in Wisconsin. There were four girls until my grandson came along. I’m raising him to help my son and my grandson and I are very close.


Angela and family at Christmas

Travel & Hobbies


One of my goals is to travel more in my retirement. I want to go to all 50 states. I’ve been to 38 so far and I can’t wait to finish! I love, love, love to travel.


Some favorite places were Toronto, Canada and other locations in Canada. It was clean and beautiful. There were hardly any homeless people, which means they were taking care of their citizens and those with issues.


I don’t travel as a critical tourist; I just want to absorb all I can. I go places with an open mind and to learn new things. I could tell you something about each place. I just enjoy walking and watching people and experiencing what is different and unique about each community.


I also loved parts of Colorado and I loved Utah. When I was there, I got to see the Mormon Tabernacle Chapel. You can’t go in, but I got to see what they allowed us to see. Salt Lake City was also very clean. We traveled up the mountains and saw the ski slopes. It was just beautiful!


Salt Lake City, Utah - Photo by R. Derek Smith

Palm Springs, California is also a gorgeous place, but it’s very, very hot. It’s expensive to live there. San Diego was another favorite. When we had snow on the ground, they had fresh flowers in bloom! I just loved that!


Miami and parts of Florida were enjoyable with all the diversity and the lively music in those bigger cities. I loved parts of Mexico that I visited, too. There are so many places on my list! I can’t wait to get active again!


Another hobby is that I love, love, love to read! I can remember reading chapter books in first and second grade.


I had belonged to a book club in Beloit. A group of us would meet at each other’s homes, bring hors d'oeuvres and then that turned into meals. We would discuss the book, but then would solve all the world’s problems in our discussion, too. We only curtailed it due to COVID. We haven’t resurged it officially yet, but we communicate via email and Messenger about our lives and issues, etc.


Some are living in other places and we would travel to see each other. We decided to get together again sometime soon. We’re all still friends and connect with each other regularly.


Thoughts on Race Relations


Every Black person has a concern for their family. It is part of the norm. We teach our children from birth, particularly our little boys, what to do, how to act…how to stay alive.


We have what we call “The Talk”. It is not just a one-time talk. It is ongoing. Ultimately, it is to keep our children safe and alive. It is sad, but it has become a natural fabric of Black parenting. I’m certain it has been in existence since slavery and has continued in different forms to keep us safe and alive.



Racism has affected every fabric of our lives. It affects the recipient of racism as well as the perpetrators, whether directly or indirectly. Our whole society is affected by systemic racism.


Some are affected more so than others. The whole poverty cycle, generational poverty, has been perpetrated and supported by systemic racism. It’s really awful. Depending on where you live, your zip code, that can affect whether you have clean water or air, the crime rate, how responsive medical and law enforcement people are - and that’s just one example.



Racism is alive and well. But it’s something we are now addressing. I’m excited about that and encouraged. And people are listening. Today you are seeing so many young people involved in creating change. We’re seeing people of different races and different socioeconomic levels sharing their voice. It is incredible.


35 years ago, when people in Tiananmen Square were singing “We Shall Overcome”, it gave me chills. I had chills again when there were protests by people all over the world identifying with George Floyd in 2020. Thousands upon thousands were asking for an end to police brutality and protesting in solidarity for racial justice.


There have been new conversations and I have had people reaching out to me on a professional level. People were wanting to know what can be done. I’ve had people requesting me to speak to staff at the corporate level and at the board level. It’s been great to see that desire to improve.

Angela in uniform as Director of Girl Scouts Badger Council

Our Rock County Community


I’ve been here 31 years now. I think people are more aware of people of color. For example, when I first arrived here, I had a meeting and had decided to go to the Janesville Mall. I had on my Girl Scout uniform and I remember walking through the mall and people actually parted as I approached. It was as if they were shocked to see this Black woman in that uniform. They would turn their heads and just watch me. I don’t think that would happen today.


Back around the time I was applying to come up here for a job, I was near the end of my fellowship in St. Louis and the KKK were here in Janesville, Wisconsin. I saw it on television and thought, “what a shame”. When I applied for the Badger Council up here, I never thought about that incident or connected Janesville to it.


Shortly after, I went to a local event and a little white girl, a Girl Scout Brownie, was sitting there and her eyes were tearing up. When I asked her if she was okay, she said, “Yes”, but then told me she was uncomfortable about the KKK coming to town. I encouraged her to turn to her family, her parents and her Girl Scout leaders, who would take good care of her. But she was very aware and it had affected her to her core.


Angela in her position as Executive Director of the YWCA Rock County

As I was comforting her, I realized that THIS city was where Geraldo was, what I had seen on TV in St. Louis! This was before cell phones and the internet. I spoke to some people about it. The next day, during the board meeting, I had to tell them, “When I had my interview, you guys left that part out!” They admitted that they had. I told them that a little Brownie Girl Scout had to tell me!


I know the climate is different now than what it was then. Janesville is more diverse, even though the school district has a way to go to look more like America. But I think the majority want their children to experience things more like the real world so that they can be prepared for their future lives.


Angela with YWCA'a Martha Pierson and Jessi Luepnitz

Today, I see people willing to sit down and communicate and I see systemic changes for the better. So, this is progress. Since I’ve been here, I can sense a difference. It has changed. We still have a long way to go, but I can tell there is improvement. We’ve evolved and now we are truly, openly talking about race and what we can do to better our community.


What we’re doing now, by engaging in dialogue and conversation, is the first step toward understanding each other and each other’s needs. It is important to include the people we are talking about or that we serve when we are making decisions or formulating policy. We need to have them at the table.


One of the worst things we can do is to try to decide for a group of people, a group that we don’t truly understand. It’s important we don’t exclude these groups from the decision-making process.


I am very hopeful that we will continue to have a great community. I didn’t say a “perfect” community, but a great community.


Angela Moore and Regina Dunkin, Beloit City Council President - United Way Gamechangers

What’s Next


My next goal is to get better! Through this illness and its process, I have learned to be patient. For now, I try to do as much as I can from home, but I’m on a mission to improve.


I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life. I’m still eager to travel, to visit family and to continue trying to make a difference.


There is a verse in the Bible from Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, much is required.” This is the rent that we pay on this earth – giving back. That’s why I get involved.





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