Belva Holder, a Gentle Soul Behind the Scenes

Belva Holder, a Gentle Soul Behind the Scenes

Hardy L. Brown

Belva Holder

Belva Holder

My wife Cheryl first introduced me to Belva and Dr. Henry Holder because the Holders and Minters were next-door neighbors on Flores Street and very close friends. Cheryl babysat the Holders’ children from time to time. Dr. Holder and Cheryl’s father were also close friends and he was the family doctor as well.

The Holders were also part of the political process of helping to integrate the City of San Bernardino as friends of Mayor Ballard and Publisher of the Tribune Newspaper ran by Charles Seymour. That group helped elect Norris Gregory as the first African American to the city council. Belva was a quiet person but very involved behind the scenes.

She spoke up for me with the San Bernardino Teachers Association according to the late Royce Bell who was the political advisor to the association. That is one of the reasons I won my election to the school board, because Black teachers like Belva spoke-up for me when the association endorsed a different candidate.

When we were married almost 53 years ago, the Holders volunteered the use of Mother Goose Nursery, a facility they owned, for our wedding reception. We served on the Steward Board together at St. Paul AME Church and she was one of my faithful students in my Sunday School Class. She would also joke with me from time to time about us being run out of North Carolina as the reason we are in California. After I became ill Belva would come over and regularly bring plants for our patio.

Belva will be missed, but the history made by her will be a lasting history for all of us to enjoy as we try to make the City of San Bernardino the place she wanted it to be.

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