Beatrice <I>Lee</I> Bobo

Photo added by Dawn Stewart

Beatrice Lee Bobo

Daily Press (Newport News, VA) - June 27, 2002


Deceased Name: TEACHER BEATRICE BOBO, 101, HELPED CALM RACIAL UNREST

The word spread quickly through Mathews. A white deputy sheriff had killed a black man during an arrest.

Already, angry black citizens were gathering at the courthouse.

Raymond Willis Sr. remembers driving from his home in North to Hampton that Saturday in August 1980 and seeing a lot of police cars going in the opposite direction. No worry about getting a ticket today, he remembers thinking.

When he got home, he heard the news. He heard how the crowd had been on the verge of rioting. He heard how Beatrice Bobo had prevented that from happening.

Mrs. Bobo was a schoolteacher and the president of the Mathews Branch of the NAACP. Brought to the scene by the worried police, she calmed the people, according to Willis. She told them they must let justice prevail.

"The folks that were upset were ones she had taught in school," said Willis, the current president of the Mathews Branch of the NAACP. "When she spoke, folks listened."

The next day, Mrs. Bobo led a peaceful march to First Baptist Church, where she and the president of the state NAACP conference spoke to a mass meeting.

"The people were all in a rage to do something," she told the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal last year. "But I said, 'You can't do it that way. We have to do things slow.'"

Mrs. Bobo died Monday. She was 101 years old.

The fact that she could take the long view on improving the conditions of her race was perhaps attributable to her family history. She was the granddaughter of slaves who worked to become landowners.

She also took the long view on improving other people's lives. Mrs. Bobo was a public schoolteacher for more than 30 years. She is credited with founding the youth department at her church, Emmaus Baptist Church at North.

"She loved to work with youth," said her niece Shirley Lee.

Beatrice L. Bobo was the daughter of Sprigg and Emily Lee. Her paternal grandfather was Philip Lee, a slave at Auburn Plantation, according to the Gazette-Journal. After the Civil War, he married Hannah Johnson and they bought property at North. Her maternal grandparents were Daniel and Agnes Parrish. Agnes was a slave at Green Plains but came to Goochland County as a wedding gift from the mistress of the plantation to her daughter. There, she met Daniel Parrish. After the war, they settled in Mathews.

Mrs. Bobo earned a bachelor of science degree from Hampton Institute. Her first teaching position was grades one through three at Hicks Wharf School at Miles. She retired from Thomas Hunter High School in Mathews.

She served as president of the Mathews Branch of the National Association of University Women; was Past Worthy Matron of Star of Bethlehem No. 113, Order of Eastern Star; and was a member of the Williamsburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

At Emmaus Baptist Church, she was the church clerk for many years and a Sunday school teacher.

She was preceded in death by her siblings, Agnes Sheppard, Elizabeth Lee and Linwood Lee. Her survivors include two nieces, Shirley Lee and her husband, Thomas, of Gloucester, and Emily Walker and her husband, Sonny, of Petersburg.

A funeral service was held Saturday at the Thomas Hunter Middle School, Mathews. Burial will follow in the Emmaus Church cemetery.

Arrangements are by Knight Funeral Home.


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  • Maintained by: A. L. Parrish &#128156;
  • Originally Created by: Dawn Stewart
  • Added: 12 Dec 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32144993
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Beatrice Lee Bobo (1901–24 Jun 2002), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32144993, citing Emmaus Baptist Church Cemetery, Mathews County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by A. L. Parrish &#128156; (contributor 46498466) .