By Ernest Lowery
New Journal and Guide
Black History Month; what we can learn sometime is just short of fabulous. There are times when one does not have to look far to see the fruit of our heritage, as they say, in our own backyard.
Take Mrs. Josephine McBride; “Mother McBride,” as she is affectionately called by her church family and friends at First Baptist Church Bute Street.
Mrs. McBride’s life ambition was to be a nurse and she did just that, graduating in 1936 in North Carolina. Migrating to Norfolk she found roots at the old Norfolk Community Hospital where worked for 38 years.
Always being a student of Christ, Mrs. McBride put her heart into the ministry of the church. There were many a day in the early years when she had to catch the bus to get to church for daytime midweek church programs. Do the math. Mrs. McBride has been a member since 1937 … wow!
As a pillar in the church, she has seen it all and done it all. On Sunday, February 28, her church family and friends gathered at her church to celebrate her 106 years of fruitful living.
One of the church members whom I overheard said it all, “We are so blessed to have such a gifted and talented role model for our kids, for us in this church. We truly love her.”
During her 105th birthday celebration as she was being interviewed by a local news reporter, the question was asked, “We know how long you’ve lived, but how do you live it?”
Mrs. McBride humbly replied, “Be kind to your fellow man. That’s the important thing, to be kind and to be humble. Don’t think you know everything.”
So during Black History Month, Mrs. Josephine McBride – a living example of Black History – was celebrated by her church family on February 28, 2016 under the theme, “An Architect of Education, Building the Foundation for Success & Building Generations.”
The program booklet read, “Today we pause to Celebrate and Thank God for First Baptist Church’s Oldest Educator by establishing the First Baptist Church READY Academy Christian School Josephine McBride Scholarship Fund; so that we may continue Her Legacy of Educating Generations of Children, and to God be the Glory.”
When you look at this beautiful woman, it just goes to show you that God makes no mistakes. If I could be so bold … I coined a phrase some thirty years ago, “If I ever fall in love again … it will be with you.”
Love you, Mrs. Josephine McBride, and Happy Birthday to you and many more.