University of Mississippi Special Collections-African American exhibit-penamon family

"We Cannot Walk Alone:" Images and History of the African-American Community.
Lafayette County, Mississippi. An "Open Doors Exhibition." April through August 2003.






Arts & Crafts



Penamon Family
Author Unknown.

Mrs. Mary Penamon's father left his family when she was 3 years old. Her mother Emma Bradley Sweeney married a man named Jones. Said she remembered carrying brush to burn for light to study by. Coal oil was 10c a gallon you couldn't afford it. About the 15 July when hoeing was finished they would have two months of school. Then there were two more months of school in winter. She attended Salem and Burt schools and a little bit at Spring Hill. She said they walked two miles to school. She was the oldest of 14. There was a creek to cross, and my grandmama's oldest boy Johnny Slate carried her across. There were no grades in her day, and the children stopped school around the sixth grade. She said when they had lunch they ate tea cake made with sorghum, and when they came from school they didn't go into the house until they had done their chores. They always had cows and chickens. They had milk, butter and molasses for breakfast.

Mary Penamon married Andrew Penamon who died in 1926 age 56 and left her to raise 9 children, sever were under age.

Penamon Family, page two
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Photograph of Mary Penamon from unidentified and undated newspaper article.

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