WWll Air Force Veteran. Reverend. Loving Husband, Father and Grandfather. Civil Rights Era Survivor. Local Icon. 104 years young.
In researching Alphonso Washington, a common thread emerges. Love.
Love is patient & kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things.. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Alphonso’s loving wife, Carol proudly and rightfully nominated him as a Real Great American.
In her words,
“My husband Rev. Alphonso Washington NMN…is a 104 yo WW2 Air Force Veteran.. What I feel makes him a real great American is the grace with which he has lived his life in the face of many adversities.
In 2009 he self-published his memoirs called, “All in God’s Time, Memoirs of My Life’s Journey.” The very thing that would have caused him to be lynched when he was growing up on the streets of Hume VA. In the book he tells about a lynching.
He lived through and endured so many dangers that could have escalated to seriousness or death, due to segregation.
When he, along with 1600 black soldiers traveled to TX from Ft. Meade MD to transition from the US Army Air Corps to the US Air Force, they remained on the train for 3 days because they could not occupy the white barracks. Nor did they have a place to eat other than the train due to segregation which was worse in the state of TX than the rest of the country (to him).
The home folks always ask him, “Why did you go to Texas? His response-“Your uncle sent me” creates a puzzlement to them and he smiles and says, “Uncle Sam. He sent me a letter that says, “YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!” It usually gets the response he hopes for-a laugh. He’s a bit of a jokester but then, all preachers have a good sense of humor. LOL”
Unconditional love for his country.
Many people today believe that because of our nation’s past sins against the Native American Community during our country’s inception we should trash Thanksgiving and hate our country. Many point to our nation’s sins against the Black Community during slavery and the Civil Rights era as a reason to hate America today. Those who embrace hatred of our country seek the destruction of our history rather than view our history as a measuring stick for our progress and a reminder that we must not repeat the past.
Angry “Progressives” fight for open borders and allegiance to a One World Government. They believe that America is a horrible country whose Constitution should be set on fire, and its ashes swept up into the dustbin of history.
Alphonso Washington is the Grandson and Great Grandson of slaves. He personally experienced the atrocities of Jim Crow and domestic terrorism at the hands of the Democrat’s KKK.
Yet Reverend Alphonso Washington chose love.
He chose to serve his country with love, in spite of its imperfections. He chose to lovingly devote his life to God and helping others. He chose to see the souls of others, not their skin color. He chose to find someone to love. Together he and his wife Carol lovingly share their life’s journey.
Alphonso’s love for God is boundless.
Where many people would have been overwhelmed by such adversity or caved to bitterness, Alphonso had the calling to be a Preacher. He devoted himself to helping others. His profile on the Mount Morris Baptist Church website states,
“He has served as an American Legion Chaplain for 75 years, and has been preaching the Word for over 80 years..About 7 years ago he was appointed by the Moderator of 2nd National Ketoctan Baptist Association, to the position of Senior Statesman, where he continues to serve through preaching, committee appointments, the Sunday School Conference, the Women’s Auxiliary and Ministers and Deacons Conference.”
Alphonso’s wife Carol further explains,
“We both volunteered at The Workplace. He performed weddings, funerals and preached locally and traveled to preach as well. He introduced new material for Sunday school at our church, which was founded 151 years ago this September by his Great Grandfather, a former slave and our first pastor. His Grandfather who raised him was also a former slave and 3rd pastor of our church.”
Alphonso found the love of his life.
Carol and Alphonso have been truly blessed. Carol describes their love story.
When I met him at the young age of 87 it was through church. I was the secretary of my church, an historic black Baptist church in Hume VA. I was 59. I called him in Texas to give him his itinerary to travel from Texas to Virginia to preach a week-long revival leading up to our Homecoming. It was 3 hours before I left on a 2 week vacation in Illinois. He told me he had an email. Would I send it and we could just talk a minute? We talked for an hour. I got back from my trip on Sept 9, 2001. Ring any bells? Two days later was 9/11. He called me when he got back home in Texas and asked if he could court me.
We married on July 4th 2002. I was 60, he was 88. It was impossible for me to think of him chronologically. No one… can guess his age.
…We spent three years driving to Florida to visit my family there. Over the course of about the same time we drove to South Carolina to visit an uncle and aunt of mine. He always called my Dad, Dad and he always called my Aunt and Uncle the same. On his birthday they would send cards to him appropriately addressed to Son or Nephew. To know him is to LOVE him, LOL
When we bought this home in 2013 he purchased it using his GI loan for the first time ever. He/we signed the paperwork 2 weeks after his 100th birthday!
Love for his Grandfathers
His Grandfather, Elder Phillip Washington, was a former slave. He helped to build the Mount Morris Baptist Church and was Third Pastor there. Alphonso loves his Grandfather and fondly remembers him as a strict man who provided a wonderful role model.
But family ties to the church began even earlier than that. Alphonso’s Great-Grandfather, Elder Cornelius Gaddis was a former slave who became the very first Pastor at MMBC.
It’s remarkable that although Alphonso’s Grandfathers were slaves, they emerged with such devotion to God and love for humanity.
Considering the love of his Grandfathers, their love of God, and their unshakable faith in spite of adversity it is no surprise that Alphonso had the calling to become a Preacher as well.
Love for his children
Alphonso was widowed twice before meeting Carol. His first wife Rosa Mae was the mother of his three children, Mabeleen, Samuel Lee and Willie.
Mabeleen was also part of Civil Rights history. She was one of the first five black students to integrate Southwest Texas University. Sadly, Mabeleen passed on last year after a bout with cancer.
His second wife, Annie Lee, expanded his family with stepchildren who Alphonso notes were always kind to him, even after her passing.
Aphonso and Rosa Mae raised their grandson Sean since he was an infant. He is also blessed with two other grandsons from daughter Mabeleen-Eric Melton and Brian Melton.
Carol brought four more children into his life: Howard Solomon, Joe Solomon, Christine Solomon, and Debra Whitmore.
Christine posted a video of one of Alphonso’s sermons. She writes, “All i can say is HE is AMAZING because HE brought him into my life, it was ALWAYS the plan, All in God’s Time. And I am Amazed. I can’t get enough, he is simply the best. I ♡ you Pop!” To view the video click here….
Warrenton Lifestyle celebrated his 100th birthday with a cover story. They acknowledged that Alphonso is “a dynamic man who has led a life of leadership and activism across the country.” Many of Alphonso’s accomplishments were mentioned in the article:
- Served on the School Board and City Planning and Zoning Commission for 12 years.
- Served Community of Hayes, Caldwell and Blanco for 25 years.
- Served as Pastor in three churches for 35 years.
- President of NAACP for 10 years.
- Owned and operated Washington Plumbing for 34 years.
- Community Action Board named their head start school after him-The A. Washington Child Development Center.
- State of Texas and City of San Marcos declared June 13th as Rev. Alphonso Washington Day.
- Served as American Legion Chaplain for 75 years.
- Charter member of the first black American Legion post in SM Post 144-A which later merged with the white chapter after integration
Regarding the Warrenton Lifestyle article, his wife Carol states,
“The article…was published in the local newspaper and he became a mini celebrity in our community. That article went on to set a few things in motion. He was asked to speak at the Hume Ruritan and out of an expected 20 or so people, 60 showed up for his keynote speech and book signing.
A man was present who was a director of short films. He wanted to film him for a documentary. So he’s in one. It was shown for the first time at a private school in Warrenton VA where we had lived. Why all this interest in him, the book and the movie? He tells about a lynching in the book he wrote… “
All in God’s Time.
Another huge accomplishment-at the age of 95 Alphonso authored the book “All in God’s time: Memoirs from My Life’s Journey.”
A glimpse into the chapters offers an idea of what he discusses.
- Ch. 5-The Klu Klux Klan Made Themselves known.
- Ch. 8-I Found Out the Identity of Several Local Klan Members
- Ch. 9 Saved, Bapized, Plumbing, Preaching and Dancing, Uh-oh!
- Ch. 13-The Whites Began to Help Me
- Ch. 20-Out of Calamity Comes Contentment
- Ch. 21-The Courtship is in Full Swing!
More love from “The Commander.”
“The Commander” of American Legion Post 144 has been a close friend of Alphonso’s for about 40 years. They traveled together frequently to tend to funerals and other activities for the American Legion. He wrote a wonderful forward about Alphonso in his book. What really stands out are the following statements:
“He encouraged others to be involved in ways not only in matters of faith, but also through his example of life and living. As a WWll veteran, a military-trained Chaplain, Rev. Washington practiced diversity many years before it was the “politically correct” thing to do…”
“A number of years ago his eyesight was failing and it was difficult for him to preside over services when a friend had died due to the small print in the Holy Scriptures he was reading. I saw this and KNEW that all this was in his mind and heart, so I suggested that he skip the actual reading of scripture and simply share from his own store of wisdom. It turned out that Reverend Washington could spout scripture more eloquently than if he were reading it, probably because he has lived it.”
You never know who you’re standing next to.
If you happened to rub shoulders with Alphonso, you were in the company of a true patriot and man of God. A WWll hero that fought for this country, even though it was far from perfect. We are all blessed because Reverend Alphonso Washington makes our country and this world so much greater and richer.
Show Alphonso some love!
Give him a well deserved shout out!
But don’t just comment on Facebook where he’ll never see it! Show him some love and take a couple of seconds to use the SpotIM comments section below! If you register with SpotIM your comment will be more personalized.
Do you know Alphonso? This is his own public page now. Build on it with your sentiments, memories, photos and videos in the comments section below!
Mark the date-October 18th-to wish Alphonso a Happy 105th Birthday!
Carol mentioned that “Alphonso’s VA benefits officer and local workers for the Vets are planning his 105th birthday party. It is planned to be a party of all parties!”
Again-don’t just wish him a Happy Birthday on Facebook where outside of your Facebook group he’ll never see it! Use the SpotIM comments section below!
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The University Star-Mabeleen Washington
Facebook-video of Alphonso
Facebook-video of Aphonso sermon
Alphonosos’ book,“All in God’s Time, Memoirs of My Life’s Journey”