AAERO Awards

. . . allow us to share our resources in meaningful ways!

  • Memorial Awards remind others of the life of someone who must be remembered.
  • Living Legacy Awards affirm your generosity and values.
  • All AAERO Awards contribute financially to the life of another person whose journey you want to encourage, and support the work of AAERO to help learners and activists thrive.

For more information about creating an AAERO Award, contact pquickhall@AAERO-MQMH.org. Donations to existing AAERO Memorial Awards are sincerely appreciated!

We live and die—values and intentions matter!

War dominates the news today.  Personally, I am grieving the end of my mother’s life and the loss of a relationship with one of my dearest relatives.  My material circumstances are unstable.  Even with these uncomfortable conditions in my personal life, the most powerful impact on my state of being comes from the horrific attacks on groups of people due to no particular action of their own.  Guilt by association, and collateral damage, as it is sometimes called, are inadequate explanations for the circumstances that prevail.  As I was feeling the indirect painful effect of earthquakes, floods, fires, and tornadoes, I was jarred by the inhumanity of un-”civil wars,” mass murders, intentional demolition of homes occupied by families, and cruel attacks on people identified as enemies.

What can we do to stop the madness, to promote justice, to cultivate peace?  Our answers vary depending upon our positions, status and resources.  So, I write from my own position as one 74-year-old African American woman with a Ph.D., related to people in a well-educated extended family, participating in several communities, and in the world of diverse populations.  I believe that every person has basic needs that each of us should respect.  Unfortunately, in our highly individualistic, capitalist society, people are often expected to show some evidence of “deserving” to receive even the basic necessities.  No person should have to spend the limited time we have on this earth without shelter, food or clothing sufficient for material comfort in the various environmental conditions.  Critical intangible necessities include relationships and a sense of meaning or purpose.  In this moment, I know that everyone deserves the means to thrive, without being judged by others.  So, what can I do?

In the tiny space that I occupy on this planet, I can and must do my best to show respect, compassion, and empathy for the people whom I encounter.  While I have feelings about the historic and persisting harm done to people of African ancestry, in particular, I must not assume anything about individuals simply based upon their inclusion in a population group—especially people of European ancestry—who enslaved my ancestors.  That’s what I must not do.  But what proactive steps must I take?  How shall I spend the time that remains of my life?  What can I do that potentially has the greatest positive impact?

As I consider the possibilities, my decision rules derive from the following questions:

  1. Is this something nobody else can do? 
  2. Will this be of value to future generations of our communities and members of my family, including generations not yet born?
  3. Can I imagine a way to preserve and make things that I leave available? 
  4. What gives me joy?  (I like to write, organize material things, and create visually appealing items.  And yes, I know that visual appeal and aesthetic preferences vary.  I can only reflect my own taste.
  5. Does this fulfill my spiritual needs, as an individual and member of communities?  As one who identifies as agnostic and humanist, I am motivated to participate with others, especially African Americans, in examining and sharing our spiritual journeys, and building community with people to take action that helps create a better world. 

Life is challenging.  Fortunately, I find inspiration and hope in the writing, music and stories of many people of various faiths and beliefs. In December, I’ll share examples of my sources of inspiration in the Founder’s Corner of our website—www.AAERO-MQMH.org.

1921 – 2023

Beulah Melchor Quick died Monday the 25th of September in Fayetteville, North Carolina at age 102.

This is a story of her life, as recalled by her daughter, Paula.

July 23, 1921 – Beulah Mae Melchor was born to Beulah V. and Warren Melchor on her father’s birthday!  The Melchor family, which included sister, Grace, who was born in 1920, lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina near grandparents, and several relatives.    Warren Melchor was a medical doctor, as was his father, Paul N. Melchor.  Beulah V. Melchor taught school and was a passionate gardener.

Beulah Mae Melchor and her sister, Grace Lillian Melchor, attended public schools for the first few years before enrolling in Palmer Memorial Institute—a boarding school in Sedalia, North Carolina.  Palmer, which was founded in 1902 by educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown who served as the school’s president for 50 years, was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools at a time when few Black high schools enjoyed this recognition. Palmer graduates gained not only a diploma but also a firm idea of their own individual worth. Dr. Brown had taught her students to become “educationally efficient, religiously sincere, and culturally secure.”  Palmer was the only finishing school of its kind in America. The curriculum reflected the founder’s view of The Correct Thing to Do, To Say, To Wear, title ofthe book authored by Charlotte Hawkins Brown.  Beulah Melchor enjoyed the social life at Palmer and formed the ”MarConsBeu Sorority” with her friends—Margaret Lanier and Constance Merrick.  The girls remained lifelong friends, as they married and had children, who extended the friendship.

During the summers, Beulah Melchor and some of her friends worked at Squirrel Inn in the Catskill Mountains of New York, waiting tables.  When they were not working, they socialized and took lots of photos. After graduation from Palmer at age sixteen, Beulah Melchor attended Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina where she majored in education.  One year she was Queen of the annual May Day festival.  After graduation Beulah Melchor moved to Taylortown, North Carolina to begin her first teaching job at Academy Heights.  She rented a room with the Taylor family, and a few years later, met and married Mrs. Taylor’s son, who had been away attending Howard University.  Taylortown was a Black community founded by Demus Taylor, adjacent to the racially segregated Pinehurst, North Carolina.  The founder’s son, Robert, was married to Edna B. Covington Quick, who was a widow and teacher at Academy Heights.

Beulah Melchor and Clifton Quick were married in 1943 at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.  The newlyweds moved to Washington, DC where Clifton Quick drove a taxi and worked at the post office until he was able to enter Howard University Medical School.  Beulah Melchor Quick worked in the federal civil service and at Howard University Dental School during those years.

In February 1949 Beulah Quick gave birth to a daughter, Paula.  In June of that year, the family moved back to North Carolina, where Dr. Clifton Quick began an internship at Kate Bitting Hospital in Winston-Salem. The family lived with Mrs. Quick’s parents in Fayetteville, as Dr. Quick traveled back and forth between Winston-Salem and Fayetteville.  After Dr. Quick completed his internship, he opened an office for the practice of medicine and the family rented a house in Fayetteville.  Beulah Quick established a nursery school on Moore Street, a few blocks from the Melchor family home and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church.

For most of her adult life, Fayetteville was home.  The family spent summers at Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, where they developed friendships with other Black families who shared this residential community near the racially segregated Myrtle Beach.  Beulah Quick worked at Ft. Bragg in a civil service job, and at her husband’s office for several years.  In the 1960s she returned to education and taught children of military personnel in primary school grades at Fort Bragg.  Mrs. Quick enjoyed the children and the friendship of faculty members.

St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church was a major part of Mrs. Quick’s life.  She held many roles over the years, including historian and volunteer coordinator for the breakfast program, serving homeless people.  She also served Meal-On-Wheels.  Beulah Quick’s letters to the editor of the Fayetteville Observer were frequent and sometimes provocative, as she shared her views on matters of civic concern.

The Quicks traveled and enjoyed socializing with friends, especially members of Dr. Quick’s social clubs in Washington, DC and other places on the east coast.  Playing cards—pinochle, bridge, tonk and poker—and Pokeno kept Mrs. Quick busy.  Whenever she could visit a casino, playing the slot machine was her favorite activity. 

Beulah Quick’s roles as mother and grandmother to William and Kia have been especially important.  She has spent the last few years living near or with her daughter and her granddaughter.  True to her cheerful personality, she maintained a sense of humor.  She was always ready for a car ride, and happy to eat (hungry or not), especially meat, ice cream and cookies.

Mrs. Quick has been an enthusiastic supporter of the nonprofit organizations—African American Education & Research Organization (AAERO) and Melchor-Quick Meeting House—founded in 1999 and 2018, respectively, by her daughter—Dr. Paula Quick Hall.  In 2019, Mrs. Quick and her family,  established The Beulah Melchor Quick Living Legacy Award as a way to share and support other women in their efforts to be well educated, productive and independent.  This award, which has been given to thirteen women, will become the Beulah Melchor Quick Memorial Award.

Friendship & Community

You may know that I was the only child of African American parents—Dr. & Mrs. C. Mason Quick.  As a child, I envied peers who had siblings.  As I grew older, I came to see this as a mixed blessing.  There are advantages and disadvantages in any circumstance.  And the size of the household is only one of many factors that affect the quality of life.  Health of household members, wealth, material resources, and family values are major contributors to quality of life.  Lifestyles vary in many ways, shaped by religious affiliation, occupations of adults, and household composition.  For example, two otherwise identical households that vary with respect to the number of generations represented, may be markedly different.  So, as I matured, I put more effort into development of intentional relationships, and thought less about the brother and sister that I imagined would have made my life complete.

Chance encounters with people who express kindness and generosity have added positive energy to my life.  Examples abound!  Friendships and connections with family members, especially cousins, sustain me.  My one-to-one friendships are the most surprising and exhilarating aspect my community.  While my father had several deep friendships, I was not aware of any such relationships in my mother’s life.  My mother—my principle role model—had many casual relationships with church members, card-playing associates, civic organizations, and wives of my father’s friends. But I was not aware of deep friendships in her life, comparable to the ones my father and I experienced.  (I may share several examples from our lives.)

Community for me is not geographically defined.  It’s defined by shared values and commitments.  Most of my friends do not know one another; they live in different places.  I met them at different stages of my life, in various places and circumstances, including college, worksites, neighborhoods, churches, and schools attended by my children.

Building community has been more challenging than I expected.  The obvious models involve proximity and more social interaction than I seek. The models with which I am familiar typically apply criteria for inclusion that do not appeal to me.  (I was socialized to value exclusivity, based largely on classist attributes.)  So, building and sustaining community, at this stage of my life, requires creativity and assertiveness.  There is no “auto pilot” model for me to follow.  I must create my path, mindful that I do not want to make others uncomfortable or imply that I am judging their choices, which may be different from my own.

Let’s talk about your community and the relationships that are most important in your life.  How do you define your communities?  How do they help you thrive?  Do they contribute to your sense of purpose?  Do these relationships help make your life meaningful?  What do you do to sustain and strengthen your community?  What organizations, institutions or traditions are important in your community life? 

Join us online at 2:30 p.m. (EST) Saturday the 16th of September to talk about these questions and other aspects of friendship and community.

Paula Mason Quick Hall