By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
Anna Black celebrated a special day on March 12. She along with close to 30 to 40 members of her family and friends joined her at St. John Baptist Church as she celebrated her 103rd birthday.
Not only was it a special day for Black, it was also a special day for her longtime friend with whom she shared the same birthday and year —Cherrie White, who also turned 103 years old. The two ladies share a few other similarities. Their last names are opposite colors—Black and White and they also raised their children in the same neighborhood.
Black is the mother of Tavia Black and the late Aldred Black. Although she only had two children, Bo Watson was like a second son to her. Her working career included cooking in various restaurants and for numerous homes caring for children in Gary. She once enjoyed sewing, but because of her age she is not able to continue that passion anymore.
She moved to Gary from Arkansas at the age of four and graduated from Gary Roosevelt High School in 1932. A devoted member of St. John Baptist Church, she was a member of the choir and would travel with Cherrie when they would visit other churches because she would drive. Her favorite church song is “This Little Light of Mine.”
When she was baptized at St. John it was done in the Calumet River because that was the only way people were baptized back then. Black says she was the only one that would get in the Calumet River water to get baptized. Black says her favorite saying is “Love you with all my heart, and half my liver.”