THIS DAY IN VIRGINIA HISTORY
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March 19, 1937
Susie Byrd Interviewed Mrs. Patience M. Avery
In 1937 Susie Rosa Catherine Byrd (1899–1960) interviewed Patience M. Avery (b. 1863). Born a slave, Avery lived with an abusive foster mother as a girl. She ran away, was taken in by a Colonel Avery, and married one of his former slaves. Susie Byrd worked for the Virginia Writer's Project, the state-sponsored division of the Federal Writers' Project, which in turn was a branch of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal relief program of the federal government. Byrd taught in public schools, ran a nursery school, and taught a WPA adult night school class, while working toward a college degree.