Scroll through through the biographies to learn more about the Hawkins family.
Cordelia “Dee” Taylor
Cordelia “Dee” Taylor, 70 years old, lives with her family in Baton Rouge, LA where she has resided for the past 30 years. She was born to Emily and George Williams in New Orleans, LA. Her mother ‘s maiden name was Emily Hawkins. Dee has 12 siblings, most of whom still live in the south. They were raised Catholic, and Dee still practices Catholicism when she exercises her faith.
Dee experienced severe emotional hardship after dropping out of high school and becoming a teenage mother at the age of 17. Later she married a mechanic and had 3 more children. She attended college for a short time but was unable to continue her educational pursuits for lack of funds.
Dee was motivated, worked hard and was able to open and operate a small security guard company. In 1987, her 15 year old son was killed in a local high school in Baton Rouge under questionable circumstances. Devastated by her son’s death, Dee was unable to continue the business. She took a job teaching Special Education for two years, but being in a school setting reminded her too much of her son, so she left Louisiana and relocated to California where she worked as an Administrative Assistant for Gruman-Northrop.
After the emotional devastation of her brother’s death, Dee’s daughter turned to drugs. Dee returned to Baton Rouge and eventually took on the responsibility of raising her daughter’s 4 children, all under the age of five. Her daughter was incarcerated for a period and subsequently had to 2 more children, who were placed with Dee. Dee has struggled much of her life for herself and her family. She has 13 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, all of whom reside near her in Baton Rouge. In 2010, her son was incarcerated where he remains today.
Dee’s health has declined significantly. She suffers from several chronic and acute maladies and remains weary from her struggles. After being confined to a wheel chair for 3 months, she now works to improve her physical and mental health. All of her grandchildren are grown with their own children except for her 12 year old grandson, who despite Dee’s efforts to keep him safe, faces daily challenges to survive.
In April 2016, Dee first learned of the sale of her slave ancestors and their contribution to Georgetown University from an article in the New York Times.