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THE TIGER AND THE TORCH ebook

“DON’T EVER THINK I

“DON’T EVER THINK I FELL FOR YOU, OR FELL OVER YOU. I DIDN’T FALL IN LOVE, I ROSE IN IT.” 56 TONI MORRISON Rosa very much enjoyed being close to family. She built her house next to her inlaws and across the yard from her sister, Verna, and brother-in-law, Nathan Holmes. She also possessed a strong desire and skill to keep track of what was happening within the Black community of Christiansburg, VA. She made it a point to stay connected to her extended family and friends with cards, letters, phone calls, amazing sour cream pound cakes and constantly going places throughout the United States. Ironically though, she never learned how to drive a car. She graduated from Virginia State College with a Bachelor of Science degree on May 28, 1956. She completed some coursework for her Master of Science degree, but was so homesick she did not finish her degree. She immediately returned to Cambria, VA 57 which later became part of Christiansburg, VA, and began teaching the Colored Harris Hart Elementary School in Floyd County, VA. 58 Rosa’s career also spanned decades. She was a devoted sister, aunt, wife, sisterin-law, teacher, church member, embroiderer, quilter, award-winning African violet grower and community volunteer. Throughout her life, she spent much of the day reading and preparing for her next Bible study or community event. As she would come across interesting things in the newspaper, she would cut out the articles, date them and put them in a scrapbook. She was very mindful of what she chose. Much of the Holmes’ family history is from her scrapbooks. Some of her other pictures are part of various books such as Images of America: Christiansburg 59 and part of local exhibits and digital archives at Virginia Tech. 60 Her multiple volumes contain every card and letter written while Zimri was in the US Army. She kept just about every program from a special event she attended. The collection also contained obituaries, photos of the family and places where she taught and visited. Each day we have the opportunity to pursue additional knowledge. We choose the people and situations from which we learn. Experience can be a teacher as well; however, sometimes it is only in hindsight that we master the lessons. It is through our daily choices that we set the tone for our lives. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 51

MUSIC: THE CHOICE OF A LIFETIME Image Credits: “Let There Be Music: A Biographic Sketch of Zedekiah “Eli” Holmes As Told To Dr. J. Farley Ragland Like Zimri Holmes, his brother, Zedekiah, graduated from Christiansburg Industrial Institute (CII) and later returned to the school to teach. He taught music and led CII’s band and choir. Let There Be Music: A Biographic Sketch of Zedekiah “Eli” Holmes As Told To Dr. J. Farley Ragland 61 speaks to his professional life and educational philosophy. The book captures the essence of what it was like for him growing up in Christiansburg, VA. He discusses the ongoing emphasis placed on education by his family and his choice of music for his life-work. ROAR! “EDUCATION IS THE PASSPORT TO THE FUTURE, FOR TOMORROW BELONGS TO THOSE WHO PREPARE FOR IT TODAY.” MALCOLM X 62 Zedekiah said, “During my childhood days of growing up there were no integrated schools in my hometown, but there was an elementary school and a high school in our community for the Blacks. All six of the children had an opportunity to attend these schools. My parents were very anxious for all of us to get an education, and they worked very hard to accomplish this for their children.” THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 52