Celebrity Caribbean Lineage: Susan L. Taylor

Susan L. Taylor exemplifies the determination and entrepreneurial spirit that can be found in so many people from the Caribbean.  To read the full biographical details and get a list of her written works, go to: http://www.answers.com/topic/susan-l-taylor

 

Born in the Harlem section of New York City to West Indian parents on January 23, 1946, Taylor was raised in a strict yet loving environment. She was taught about the determination of her forebears to make a better life. She heard stories of her maternal grandmother’s bravery–leaving a broken marriage and six children in Trinidad in 1916, settling in Harlem, working and saving and bringing her children and mother to the United States by 1925, and doing battle with anyone and anything that stood in the way of her family’s forward movement, including racist police, school principals, and even the federal government. “Like the women of her time, my grandmother didn’t wait for change; she initiated it,” Taylor noted in her column in Essence.

Taylor’s father, Lawrence, arrived in Harlem from St. Kitts, West Indies, in the early 1920s and opened a clothing store with Taylor’s mother, Violett. But by the early 1960s, the street on which the store was situated had become a “war zone” of drug-related crime and after 30 years, the business closed. Noting the “disturbing sadness” of many black male youths in the 1990s, Taylor remembered seeing a similar “deep, quiet kind of sadness” in her father’s eyes when his clothing store, the family’s main means of support, closed.

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