Billie Ward Frierson was selected as the National Association of University Women’s – Woman of the Year at the Capitol Hyatt in Washington D.C.
Frierson stated: “It’s an honor to receive the National Woman of the Year Award in the 100th year of our organization’s history and additionally hold this honored position through 2012.” NAUW was organized in 1910 by Mrs. Mary Church Terrell, Dr. Sara Brown, Dr. Fairfax Brown and Ms. Mary Cromwell in Washington D.C. Twenty university graduates joined together, elected officers, and planned and presented programs. The new club desired to stimulate young women to attain professional excellence, to exert influence in various movements for the civic good, and to promote a close personal and intellectual fellowship among professional women.
The NAUW leaders and members of today embody that same spirit of excellence and the desire to serve. For more information on the National Association of University Womenvisit www.nauw1910.org/.
Frierson on stage presenting stories at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Frierson was born in Del Rio, Texas. She has documented her family history of African and Seminole Indian ancestry. Frierson’s greatgrandfather Scout Isaac Wilson, great-grandfather Sergeant Bill Williams, great-great-grandfather Isaac Payne and great-great-grandfather Sergeant John Ward all served as scouts in the military in the 1800s and early 1900s on both sides of the Rio Grande River. Sergeant John Ward served in the U.S. Military from 1870 through 1894; he received America’s highest military decoration: the Medal of Honor for bravery and unselfish actions on the battlefield in 1875. Scout Isaac Wilson served from 1907 – 1914 and ended his military career with the termination of the scouts by the U.S. Government. Sergeant Bill Williams served from 1882 – 1907 and retired after 25 years of service at the age of 25 Visit: www.buffalosoldier.net/SeminoleNegroIndianScouts.htm
Frierson attended California Polytechnic State University. After receiving a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, she began her career as a librarian at the Anaheim Public Library where she served as lead reference librarian and as Euclid Branch Library Manager. Frierson joined the staff of the County of Los Angeles Public Library where she served as a Montebello Regional Library Government Documents Librarian, View Park Library Manager, West County Regional Youth Services Coordinator, Carson Regional Library Manager; and East County Region Area Manager where she supervised nine libraries. Before her retirement, she served as the Assistant Library Administrator and South Region Library Administrator where she supervised seventeen libraries. Frierson is married and is the mother of three grown children who are graduates of California State University, Northridge; University of California, Santa Barbara; and Howard University, Washington D.C.
Last year Frierson attended the Buffalo Soldiers Greater Washington D.C. Chapter’s program held by the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association honoring the contributions of the Seminole Scouts and their legacy at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital Chapel in Washington, D.C. A new headstone was given to Scout William Shields and a wreath was placed in his honor to salute the gallant men in the U.S. Military Seminole Indian Scouts. The initial headstone omitted the Seminole Indian Scout reference for Scout Shields, the only scout whose gravesite location was unknown. After several years of research Trooper William Zadora and Chief William “Dub” succeeded in having the headstone changed with the help of the U.S. Military. Although Seminole Scout William Shields was the only scout on the site, the entire cemetery was enhanced and beautified to honor the Scout laid to rest. It was a glorious and honorable occasion. Every branch of the military was present at the memorial. I was humbled when asked to speak at the ceremony and honored to be present with hundreds in attendance,” Frierson stated at the time. Some of the attendees: Trooper William Zadora, National Cemetery Administrator, Ms. Jean Davis, David K. Schettler, Director, Communications Management Service, Veterans Affairs U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute Program — Descendants present were: Chief of the John Horse Band William “Dub” Warrior, Billie Ward Frierson, Izola Raspberry, Lovenia Raspberry. The Wreath presentation was made by Colonel David M. Griffith, Chief William “Dub” Warrior, Trooper Michael Theard, Command Sergeant Major Jefferson Varner, Sergeant Major Strock, Trooper Reuben Hamilton-photographer Maryland Chapter President, Felipe Fields, 60-75 members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, and Trooper Crawford who played taps.
Because Frierson has completed extensive research including numerous trips to Texas and interviews of Seminole descendants, she delivered the keynote address at the annual Seminole Day Celebration. In it Frierson honored six Seminole African American Octogenarian Women: Rodessa Williams Shaw Jones, Ethyl Hall-July Warrior, Dora Lee Phillips Goodloe, Loraine Payne Williams, Izola Warrior Raspberry, and Alice Faye Lornzano. These strong, gentle, powerful and loving women are culture keepers who were honored with gifts and flowers. At the Sunday program a gravesite tribute to Miss Charles Emily Wilson, the last survivor born on camp near Fort Clark, was also presented by Frierson. Frierson is an active member in the following organizations: California Library Association, California Librarians Black Caucus, American Library Association, REFORMA: National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, and the Seminole Indian Scout [Memorial] Association. She supports and mentors students in the UCLA and San Jose State University Graduate School of Education, Library and Information Science Programs. She supports NAACP, Order of Eastern Star-Symphony Chapter, and the American Legion Post. Frierson tutors elementary and high school students. She also presents workshops in the NAUW South Bay Branch Rites of Passage Program on the Black Experience in Children’s Books.
Frierson visits classes sharing books, stories and poetry. Her favorite presentation includes How to Document Your Family Tree and Guidelines on How to Write Your Biography.
Frierson, Cynthia Exum, and the late Joyce Sumbi created the very successful Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Through her affiliates, professional associations and civic groups where she has served as an officer and chaired numerous activities, Frierson continues to promote the joy of reading and service to the community. Frierson reports that her research for her children’s books on Effie Lee Morris, Miriam Matthews and her family history, is complete.
For more information brief biographies of Frierson are included in African American Librarians in the Far West: Pioneers and Trailblazers by Binnie Tate Wilkin, Scarecrow Press, 2006 and The Red-Black Connection: Contemporary Urban African-Native Americans and /their Stories of Dual Identity by Valena Broussard Dismukes, Grace Enterprises, Los Angeles, (c)2007. For Seminole histories check out: Our Land Before We Die: The Proud Story of the Seminole Negro, Jeff Guinn, Putnam, New York, (c)2002, 2005 and Freedom on the Border: the Seminole Maroons in Florida, the Indian Territory, Coahuila, and Texas, Kevin Mulroy, Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas, (c)1993. A recommended book for California history buffs is Seeking El Dorado: African Americans in California, Lawrence B. De Graaf, Kevin Mulroy, & Quintard Taylor.
For more good reads check these books out at your local public library and if you wish to own a copy visit ESO WON Bookstore, 4331 Degnan Blvd. LA., 90008, (323) 290-1048 for more good reads.
For more information, call (323) 533-7403.