Sunday Dinner, stories on the front porch and church on Sunday. Many of the core memories most Black people share. Most of those memories have one central character, a Black grandmother. Whether she’s Grandma, Granny, Nanna, they are all representations of the strength and resilience of the matriarch of Black families. It’s important to highlight what pivotal roles Black grandmothers play in the lives of Black youth and Black families. Black students at the University of Alabama share what pivotal role their grandmothers have played in their lives and the impact they have had on their families.

Breniya Shrieves, Sophomore Political Science on the Pre-Law Track

“My grandma is extremely beneficial, she’s who I turn to whenever I’m in a rut or I feel as though I need someone to talk to. She has shaped my patience and determination into who I am today. When I think of Grandma’s hands I think of a gentle, kind loving hand, and cooking.”

Tori Samples, Sophomore Hospitality Management 

“Growing up I’ve always had two grandmothers and both of them mean the world to me. They have taught me what it is to be a woman and how to be a woman in a relationship. They’ve taught me about modesty, self-respect and self-love and that’s something that I can never say thank you enough for. They have taught me about confidence, beauty and self-love.”

Deja Evan, Sophomore Public Relations 

“My grandmother has grown into one of my closest friends because the older I get the more I seek her wisdom. As a child, I loved her house because she was always cooking and giving me whatever I wanted. My granny always told me to believe who someone is the first time they show me and to not make up in my own mind who I want people to be. Grandma’s hands remind me of laying in my grandmother’s lap in church as she sang along with the choir.”

Keia Ervin Sophomore Creative Media 

“When I hear Grandma’s hands, my first initial thought is my grandmother’s actual hands. Her hands show her life and I respect her for that. Also, I imagine a grandmother sitting on her porch, staring at children playing, she’s looking at her legacy.”

Zariah Orr Sophomore, Aerospace Engineering/Physics

“My grandmother has a huge part in shaping me into the person I am today. She helped raise me, placed meals on the table (even now she’ll make me a juicy steak), and spoiled me. She tries to push me to be a better person, and I know that if I ever need anything she will do all she can to help. When she’s not making Greek dogs and burgers for the family, she’s helping me do my laundry on the weekends. I know if I ever need advice she is always going to be honest. And I know that whenever I’m not doing it myself, she’s praying for me. My grandmother shaped me into an independent, hardworking, faithful, disciplined, and supportive young lady. She is part of the reason I’ve made it to where I am today, and why I choose to keep pushing. Without her, I honestly don’t know who I would be today.”

Eddie Coats, Freshman Theatre Arts 

“My grandmother Clara M. Purse was a wonderful lady. Sadly she is no longer with us, she transitioned August of 2021. Me and her were very close, I used to take her shopping and paying bills and we enjoyed being in each other’s company. Out of everyone in my family I was compared to her the most. We both shared interests such as fashion and singing. She was the glue that brought everyone together at her home and helped so many people in times of need that it encouraged me to do the same. She taught me to remain forever young. Even though she was older in age she still had spunk and was fabulous. I will always love her and cherish our memories together and one day we will meet again.”