This chapter details the histories of Gloria Richardson’s maternal and paternal families—the St. Clairs of Cambridge, Maryland, and the Hayeses of Mecklenburg County, Virginia—and reveals how they built financial wealth and used it to improve their lives and those of their fellow black people. These families stressed the importance of higher education and self-help organizations as means of improving their communities. The story of how Richardson’s parents met, and the black social network that made their connection possible, is a focus of this chapter. Richardson’s maternal grandfather, Herbert Maynadier St. Clair, receives special attention because of his important role in improving black people’s lives through his work as a Republican member of Cambridge’s City Council and his mentoring of Richardson.
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