My grandfather, Fred Gibson, was born on March 19, 1893 in Utica, MS. He moved to Maywood, Illinois in 1917, during what is known as 'the first great migration'. Shortly after, he returned to Utica, and wanted to bring his future wife to Maywood to marry and 'set up housekeeping'. However, my great grandmother supposedly said, "We have ministers here", settling any disputes.He was employed by the American Can Company in Maywood from 1943 until his retirement. Grandpa then brought all four of his siblings to Maywood, got them jobs at American Can, and made each of them save half of thier earnings, until they were able to purchase homes. He then brought my grandmother's siblings here and did the same. He then brought four other families here as well. Most, if not al stayed with my grandparents until they were able to move on thier own. Of our family members, we had the first Black grocerey store, barber shop (still in operation), dressmaking shop, upholstering business, and the first chapter of the NAACP. While working at 'the can company', as it was known, grandpa also had a landscaping business, with a fleet of four trucks. He saved his money, and in the early part of the '50's, he was able to redeem his church, the First Baptist Church of Melrose Park from bankruptcy. He was honored at the mortgage burning ceremony. Grandpa had three children, one of whom died in infancy. His descendants include a director of a not-for-profit organization (me), two other ulpholsterers, teachers, ministers, a fireman, a whistling songstress, and numerous other great grands in a myriad of professions. He taught us all to love God, love each other and our neighbors and to save our money. He was my hero.







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