My Tribute: Aunt Jean... R.I.P
This is a tribute that I wrote for my Op-Ed class last semester about my Great Aunt Jean who was killed tragically. She was a beautiful woman and although I never met her I look up to her so much. My grandmother speaks of her with the highest praise and admiration. My grandmother tells me I remind her of my aunt Jean. We are both geminis. We are both into fashion. We both love to travel. We are both stylish. It makes me feel like I'm kind of a part of her. A living breathing version of her for my grandmother, for my family. Please take the time out to read the whole piece. Enjoy =)
Aunt Jean... R.I.P
By: Krishana Davis
A life taken too soon, a devastating event that created a ripple in the pond of two families. Dagama Jean Mason nee’ Dagama Jean Scales passed on December 1, 1969 when she was shot and killed by an estranged companion while on the job at Howard Park Recreation Center in Baltimore, MD. Mason was supervising a basketball game at the recreation center when a man she seemed to recognize entered the gym. At 8:25 pm she was pronounced dead. Mason walked outside into the hallway to speak with him and was murdered in cold blood. The former boyfriend was later arrested and convicted for her murder.
Dagama Jean Mason was born on June 1, 1936 in Martinsville, Va. Her parents moved her to Baltimore, MD shortly thereafter in search of better job opportunities. Mason was the oldest of seven children and was always very outgoing. As a child she loved being around people. She was very social a loved to talk. Mason’s father was a reverend and she became very active in church. She attended P.S. #159 in Cherry Hill in Baltimore. While there she became very interested in fashion. After graduating with her high school diploma Mason had dreams of traveling around the country.
Mason made her dreams a reality and she started with the Big Apple. She moved to New York City with a friend and began her career as a hair model for a reputable modeling agency. After spending some time in the industry, she decided that the constant changing and wear and tear on her hair was becoming too much. She packed up everything and moved to Chicago where she dibbled and dabble in different things.
A few years later Mason packed up and moved to California where she met jazz musician Earl Mason. Earl Mason was a pianist in legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong’s band. While there she fell in love and the two were married. While living in California, Mason and her husband worked together to start a small restaurant that catered soul food entrees. Mason’s love for travel was fed as her and her husband traveled around the country with the band as they performed at different gigs. They attended upscale parties and they even visited London for a short period of time. The relationship between Mason and her husband did not last however and she returned to Baltimore, Md.
While in Baltimore Mason found her love and passion for working with children. She started a job at the Howard Park Recreation Center and was almost finished her one year training program with would have ensured her full employment in a career in the recreation department. She would have also qualified to enter a Community College in Baltimore with her tuition fully paid.
Natalia Willis, coordinator for the Baltimore Community College’s CEP program that Mason worked for, stated in the Afro American Newspaper that, “[Mason] was one of our recreation aides, one of our excellent students doing a fine job.”
Younger sister Dorene Garris recalls her sister as a fashionable woman who, “walked with the elegance and class of a model on runway.”
Garris explained that her sister Mason was young and lively. She stated that Mason was always looking to try something new and would call her from California telling her about a new delicacy that she tried, such as chocolate covered ants. Garris said that fashion was in her sister’s blood. Mason wore the finest cape suits with dainty hats and gloves.
Mason’s death is an example of the one of the worst crimes against women, domestic violence. Even forty years later women in America still battle with abuse husbands and boyfriends. Awareness of the signs of overly aggressive and abusive men is needed give young woman in potentially abusive relationships a fighting chance at living and pursuing their dreams. Mason’s life was cut short at the young age of 33 before she even had a chance to make a huge impact on the greater society.
According to the National Organization for Women 1,181 women were killed in 2005 by an intimate partner.
The organizations explained that, “domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control stated that “women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.”
Organizations like NOW should help to bring young women awareness about the signs and symptoms of abusive men. Organizations like the House of Ruth, an underground shelter for battered women and their children, should be broadcasted and supported through state and federal grants to ensure that women attempting to escape abusive relationships have some place to escape.