A Heritage Beyond St. Louis Essay

1389 Words Nov 20th, 2015 6 Pages
“A heritage beyond St. Louis”, a line from the sentimental recollection of memories of Colleen McElroy’s poem “For My Children”. Fascinatingly, McElroy was born just right across the river/40 minute drive from our very own house, on October 30, 1935 (Reid). Although born in St. Louis, Missouri she took up the studies and writing with a distinct African tone in her work. Colleen McElroy’s poem “For My Children” incorporates her African American heritage as well as African language and dialect, as that is a pretty common way of writing for her.
1. Personal Life Born to Ruth Celeste and Purcia Purcell Rawls, Colleen McElroy grew up with her two parents, but in 1938 her parents divorced (Reid). Following the divorce, she and her mom moved in with her grandparents who also lived in St. Louis, McElroy says that the move triggered her “romance with language” (Reid). She continued to live with her grandparents on and off until she was 14 years old because of the fact that her mom had remarried to an army sergeant, Jesse Dalton Johnson in 1943 (Reid). Being in the army meant always moving around, deciding to stay with her grandparents time to time and also an only child meant a lot of alone time. With that being said, she recalls when she used to go up to her grandmothers chest in the attic and put on her feather boas in front of the full length mirror and imagine conversations while dancing to ’78 rpm records (Reid). Her mother having many sisters would mean a lot of stories…

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