February 11, 2022

Alice Windom is her name



 Thursday morning this Earthly plain released my Aunt Alice so she could be reunited with family and friends that have gone on before.

She was a unique woman who lived an extraordinary life. She was known on a professional level for being a Social Worker. She received her Bachelors and Masters in Social Work. 


Petitioners Julian Mayfield, Alphaeus Hunton, Alice Windom, W.A. Jeanpierre and Maya Angelou Make, outside the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana Photo Credit: The New York Public Library Digital Collections


She is well known for being a close friend of Maya Angelou and also providing assistance to Malcolm X  (along with Ms. Angelou) when he visited Ghana in 1964. My Aunt did a lecture about Malcolm X back on May 19, 2015. You can see that blog post at: Malcolm X Lecture by Alice Windom 2015


Maya Angelou, Frank Roberson, Alice Windom, Malcolm X, Julian Mayfield, Sylvia Boone 1964


The group picture above has personally bothered me because of the obstruction of my aunt's face. It has always given me the vibe of  'Yes I was there, can't you tell?' I always wondered was it because of Mr. Malcom X's height or if Frank Roberson leaning over caused the shadow. I always felt that in a way that shadow on her face was symbolic that her relationships with those two famous individuals would possibly over shadow whom my aunt was and her own accomplishments.

 In all honesty there are a few websites that have documented her professional work or have interviews pertaining to her relationship with Ms. Angelou or interactions with Mr. Malcolm X. Yet I find that one in particular, The History Makers is by far the most extensive that I have ever seen regarding her personal and professional life. Here is her page on their website: History Makers - Alice Windom

Just last year I received 3 different inquiries from different media companies that wanted to contact my Aunt to interview her regarding her relationships with Ms. Angelou and Mr. Malcolm X due to the blog post that I wrote about her. I forwarded the requests on to her but I'm not sure if she ever returned their phone calls.

 Yet what I want to stress is that having known those two figures doesn't define who she was. My aunt was a proud and unapologetic pro-black woman. You always could identify her by her signature African outfits that were topped off with a beautiful turban during family and other social gatherings. She was so proud of her two siblings, (my father and Uncle Jack) and their accomplishments. To me they were the three Musketeers with my Aunt Alice always in the middle.



My Aunt was also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha - Omicron Theta Omega Chapter 

AKA class of 1984, my aunt is in the 3rd row from the top on the far left side. Photo credit:

My aunt is seated on the far right. Photo credit:


My love of photography came from her. She used to have hundreds of photos via negatives that were stored at her home. Yet unfortunately there was a house fire a while back and from what I heard an extensive part of her collection was destroyed. Her go to camera was a Pentax K1000. I would remember her with a camera during family functions just snapping away.

She had the most amazing jewelry. Her go to favorite set to me was a beautiful huge and chunky Amber necklace that she would wear along with a huge amber bracelet and ring. I would stare at it all the time whenever she would wear it. My love of jewelry definitely came from her as well. My fav type of jewelry is various smooth stones. I am not a fan of cut stones in general. I prefer cabochons.

I remember a few of the Christmas gifts that I received from her. A few that stand out are a Tarot Card set, which I still have and also an Egyptian Hieroglyphics stamp set. She gave me one of my first pieces of gold jewelry which is a necklace that spells my name in hieroglyphics.

When I was a young teen I used to go with her to the St. Louis African Arts Festival back when it was held at the St. Louis Community College - Forest Park campus. She would let me wear the coin changer around my waist and I would give her change when she was making a photography print sale. For me, she was my first experience in regards to entrepreneurship.

In 1993, my sister and I were able to join my Aunt in Atlanta, Georgia for the National Black Arts Festival that was held there annually. We stayed at a black owned hotel that specialized in Chicken Wings and Waffles. They were so good! We also went to a film festival where we saw the movie Sankofa (1993) which just premiered on Netflix last year. We also went to a poetry reading where we heard Sonia Sanchez perform.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Maya Angelou twice here in St. Louis. Once on UMSL's Campus - JCPenny Building (University of MO- St. Louis) and then at the Moolah Theater (which has unfortunately closed permanently due to Covid-19) near Saint Louis University Campus when she was a speaker on both occasions. 

Even though my aunt also had personal hard core beliefs that she did not stray from. I respected that she had them, but I did not agree with all of them. She was a straight shooter and didn't believe in bullshittin you. 

From time to time she would send me various newspaper clippings that she thought I might find interesting. From the latest art shows coming to Saint Louis to health articles.

The last time I saw my aunt out and about was in January 2020 during a bday celebration for my mom. After that Covid hit, everything shut down and people stayed in doors.

Well this past month her health took a downward turn and she had been in and out of Barnes Hospital. My sister and I three-way called her this past weekend to check on her. She didn't sound like her regular robust self. She sounded tired and it seemed it was a bit hard for her to breathe. My mom hopped on the call as well. Yet you could tell that she was happy to speak with someone. 

This past Monday she was in need of something so I decided to drive down to bring it to her. I went to her hospital room and walked in. My aunt looked so different. Gone was the robust woman who used to give strong hugs and say, 'Hey baby!'. She looked tired but her eyes and smile lit up the room when I walked in. She said, 'Hi baby' yet it wasn't as strong as it used to be. I gave her a gentle hug and gave her the item she had requested. I had planned on staying for a little while but I didn't want to tire her out. She asked if I could stay a while and I'm so glad that I did. From 6:45pm through 8:30pm we just talked. We talked about her life and also mine. 

She talked about how she knew in her 20's that being married and having kids just wasn't for her. She said she wanted to travel the world and help our people but that didn't stop the slew of suitors that came her way. She raved about my mom's cooking. She said in their family household a fancy feast was a bologna sandwich. She told me how she had been watching cooking shows on tv lately and she was determined to learn how to cook! I asked her what she thought her first dish would be and she said she didn't have a clue but it would be simple.

She was worried about the state of her hands and finger nails. I held her right hand in mine. Sometimes I would smooth my left hand over hers. I kept thinking her hand is still so smooth. I told her that the next time I would visit her I would bring her a batch of whipped shea butter. She was excited to hear that. I remember that her favorite color is red and how she used to wear it on her fingernails.

She told me stories about my grandfather. How he fell ill and what my grandmother had to go through to take care of him until he passed. She said they loved each other deeply. After her story I understood why she was afraid to go to hospitals for any type of treatment. It took a lot for me not to cry in front of her. She talked about how thankful she was to her siblings for taking care of her and so proud of the men they became. She couldn't speak their praises enough.

She asked me about my dreams and goals. I told her about how I would love to travel the world taking pictures. She said life is too short to have regrets. She talked about how at her age she knew that she was on the downhill of her life. Yet she said she had a hell of an uphill climb and felt she lived her life to the fullest. She said she wasn't ready to go yet but if it was time, she was ready. I told her that I wanted to ask her questions about the family lineage and record her. She was so excited and I told her once she was settled back in her permanent location I would come to visit her so we could have those talks. A doctor came in around 8:30pm to give her a breathing treatment. 

I remember just looking at her from her soft hair to her feet then to our hands that were still holding. I wanted to create a visual imprint that I would remember. I didn't want to let her hand go. I felt time just slipping away. I looked at my phone and mentally kicked myself for not recording our conversation. I got up from my chair. Gave her another soft hug, this one longer than the first. I kissed her left cheek and I told her, 'I love you'. She repeated the same thing back to me. I told her I would see her soon and then I walked out the room. I held my tears in until I reached the elevator. The first few slipped down my face. I kept going until I reached the parking garage and got in my car. By then a stream had started down my face. 

I unfortunately felt that would be the last time I would see my Aunt Alice and I'm so damn thankful that I went. Yet I still had hope that she wasn't ready yet. Yet Tuesday night I woke up and for some weird reason I started looking up Sororities and Fraternities on YouTube. It was just strange as hell. I'm not affiliated with any Sororities nor have I ever desired to join one. Yet I was obsessed for just a few hours about their Omega procedures. So I went online and found something pertaining to the AKA's recent procedures for how they are handling a member that has passed during CoVid-19 times. I read the information and then closed out of it and didn't give it a second thought.

Wednesday night I woke up. Something was on my spirit and I couldn't shake it. I kept thinking of my Aunt Alice and as I was trying to settle back down to go to sleep. The phone rings at 1:26am and I knew that she had crossed over. I never went back to sleep that evening.

Now when I look back I wish the following:

    - That I had taken her portrait

    - That I had recorded her story on our family history

    - That I had more time

I hope my Grandmother and Grandfather welcomed her with open arms. I hope Maya and Malcolm were there to be her guide for her next destination. I hope my Uncle Fred was there to greet her as well. I hope all those that she loves and have gone on before her are there to welcome her into The Circle. I hope her spirit comes back and visits from time to time. Rest in Power Aunt Alice.

photo credit: Maurice Meredith

Alice Mary Windom

Daughter of John & Frances

Sister of Jackson & John II

Friend to many

Family to those blessed

  Social Activist to the under represented minority

A recent article about her passing has been posted on The St. Louis American 


My apologies for any typos, I just started typing what I was feeling until I was finished.


UPDATE: Will update with other links that I find of my aunt from the internet:

 Funeral Arrangements

Leonard Missionary Baptist Church

1100 North Compton, St. Louis, MO 63106

Services are scheduled for February 21, Monday. 

Visitation is from 9:30 am - 10:30 am

AKA ceremony at 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Services begin at 11:00 am - 12:20 pm

Burial at St. Peters Cemetery at 1:00 pm

No repast!

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