This past week I was at Kaiser Medical Center for a doctor’s appointment and ran into long time friend, Lois Carson. We had a few minutes to chat and find out how each other is doing. I noticed that she was in a wheelchair with her caretaker son, Harry Jr. and I was in my power wheelchair with my caretaker brother, Vincent. This will illustrate to those who do not us that we are moving up in age, but if you could have heard our conversation you would have thought we were in our twenties getting ready to do battle on some social or community issue.
I was encouraging her to pick up the pen and share her thoughts and ideas on the many problems and issues facing our people and community. Lois responded back that her physical body may not be what it used to be but her mind is as sharp as ever.
Lois used to write weekly columns in the American News and Black Voice News and has a lot of experience in our community that would be of value and benefit to all of us.
I first met Lois at a University of California, Riverside Sociology Extension Class at the Operation Second Chance Building on Baseline. I did not know it at the time but many community people from all backgrounds and races were engaged in these types of classes all over the Inland Empire.
Lois was vocal then and I learned later she was raised that way and had a degree from Wilberforce University in Ohio. Our life would forever be linked together as she encouraged my wife Cheryl to get involved with the National Council of Negro Women.
Lois went on to become a National Board Member and brought Dr. Dorothy Height to San Bernardino several times and took many local Black women to Washington exposing them to a life bigger than the one in the Inland Empire. I cannot begin to name the people I know today because of that one contact through Lois Carson.
I did not know very much about the Catholic Church until Lois as a member of St. Anthony’s Church in San Bernardino had them form a gospel choir. Lois invited the entire community to come to their Black History Program and they showed out. Lois had some help from other members such as Wilma Cochran, Harry and Jeanette Rheubottom, Warren Watson just to name a few. It was not just a choir but also one of the best in San Bernardino.
My daughter Lynn Renee joined the conversation and told Mrs. Carson that she still had the letter from working in her campaign to be elected as the first African American on the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees. Because of women like Lois coming in and out of our home on a regular basis it is no wonder our girls are active in so many community organizations and have opinions on issues that others might remain silent.
I told Lois that I had a few pictures of her and even Harry, she responded I would like to see them because Harry was always taking pictures and she has very seldom in any of the ones she had.
It was a very meaningful short visit with Lois but one I will not forget because she has brought so much to my family and life and I hope to start reading her thoughts of experience and wisdom. It was a good day at the doctor’s office.
Lois Carson through the years: