Single mom personifies persistence

By Angela Peacock

Though Juanita Black’s later years of life were filled with pain and suffering due to a rare immune deficiency disease, family members said her faith in God never once failed.
No matter what the circumstances Juanita’s oldest daughter Juena Hickman said her mother would tell her children to place their faith in God because he would always pull them through.
“At times we would question why things had to be they were, especially with mom being sick and she would always say, ‘God had a plan for each of us and that’s why things happen the way they did,’ ” Hickman said.
When Juanita wasn’t busy working or raising her children, she would attempt to take on the hobby of quilting or sewing. And though none of her projects were ever complete, Hickman said they make for a wonderful memory.
“My sister and I were laughing just the other day about how mom would start a quilt or blanket and lack three or four stitches from finishing it. So now I’m finishing them up for her and hope have enough quilts to give each of my daughters one,” Hickman said.
Juanita’s youngest son D.A. Black said he has a special admiration for the fact that his mother raised four children by herself during the 1970s. When Juanita found out she was pregnant with a fourth child there was an opportunity for her to give D.A. up for adoption, however, he said his mother wouldn’t even consider not raising a child she have given birth to.
“Not many people would pass up an opportunity to have someone adopt their unborn child under the circumstances my mother was in at the time,” D.A. said. “There aren’t many people with the courage and ability to do what my mother did but I’m sure glad I was raised by her and nobody else.”
One of Juanita’s favorite pastimes is also another reason D.A. said he has so much admiration for his mother. Juanita was an avid cook who especially enjoyed making homemade bread, and even after he lost her sight nearly six years ago D.A. said she still managed to continue cooking.
“Mother lost her eye sight at about age 67 so it was quite an ordeal to go from seeing all your life to one day being blind but it was a transition she made very well,” D.A. said. “Since mom had made bread for so long she knew just how many handfuls of flour she needed and measured everything by had. It was so fascinating to watch her kneed the bread plus not a lot of blind people are able to operate their own oven.”
Both D.A. and Hickman agree that their mother was a kind and generous woman who would do anything in her power to please her family. Hickman said she really enjoyed taking her granddaughter shopping though it was usually quit the ordeal since Juanita had a habit of misplacing her keys.
“My daughters can’t remember a time when they went to town with mother and she didn’t lock her keys in the car. My grandmother would always tell her she was going to safety-pin a spare set of keys to her bra so she would never be locked out again,” Hickman said.