Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Education

Southern Revival: Gail Rayford-Ambeau

Gail-Rayford-Ambeau-2-5

Gail Rayford-Ambeau stands outside of Rosebank Missionary Baptist Church in Tchula, Miss. This is the church at which her mother worshipped before she moved to Toledo.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Buy This Image

Alcorn-A-M-2-5

After their wedding at Alcorn A&M, the Rayfords went to visit a relative of Bennie Rayford's in Toledo.

Hilda-Rayford-2-5

Bennie, left, and Hilda Rayford at home in Toledo in a picture taken shortly before 1964. The children are, from left: LaVonne, Bennie, Jr., "Blaine," and Yvonne.

Rose-Bank-2-5

The Rose Bank Learning Center, which was fixed up by Hilda Rayford so that it could be used.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Buy This Image

Missionary-2-5

Gail Rayford-Ambeau sits outside of Rosebank Missionary Baptist Church in Tchula, Miss. This is the church at which her mother worshipped before she moved to Toledo.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Buy This Image

Bennie-Rayford-2-5

Gail Rayford and Bennie Rayford on June 11, 1985.

THE BLADE/LEE MERKLE
Buy This Image

Hilad-Rayford-2-5

Bennie and Hilda Rayford on Aug. 21, 1989.

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
Buy This Image

Hilda-Rayford-2-5

Hilda Rayford

Scott-High-2-5

A photograph of Scott High School teacher Bennie Rayford, father of Gail Rayford-Ambeau, in the 1961 Scott High yearbook, the Scottonian.

Tchula-limits-2-5

Tchula, Miss., city limits on Jan. 21. Gail Rayford Ambeau was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1964, the last of four children born to Hilda and Bennie Rayford.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Buy This Image

memorial-fountain-2-5

The memorial fountain to area residents who served in World War II in Tchula, Miss. The town is 97% Black. Neither Hilda Rayford nor her daughter Gail Rayford-Ambeau think there is a memorial to the Conferderacy in the town.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Buy This Image

Elmore-James-2-5

Several notable blues musicians were born in Tchula, including Elmore James, putting the town of 2,000 on the Blues Markers tour in the state.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Buy This Image

Yvonne-Rayford-2-5

Bennie Rayford, left, Myrlie Evers, Hilda Rayford, and the Rayford's daughter, Yvonne Rayford Brown. The photograph was taken between 2001 and 2009, while Yvonne R. Brown served as mayor of Tchula.

Hilda-Debro-2-5

Alcorn A&M majorette Hilda Debro.

Alcorn-State-2-5

Hilda Debro, left, and Bennie Rayford as students at the then-Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Alcorn State University, perhaps in 1948. Alcorn State is the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States.

Bob-Hope-2-5

Hilda Rayford with Bob Hope at a benefit for Delta Sigma Theta in Toledo.

Sherman-School-2-5

Hilda Rayford was a teacher at Sherman School. This is her photo from the 1967-68 school year.

Toledo-Public-2-5

After retiring from Toledo Public Schools, Hilda Rayford returned to Tchula, Ms. She began to help one, then two, then more to improve their reading skills, and created the Rose Bank Learning Center. This is the program from their second GED graduation ceremony.

Hilda-and-2-5

Hilda and Bennie Rayford.

Click to comment

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet.

Copyright © 2015 Toledo Blade

To Top

Fetching stories…