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Dawson, Osceola A.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1963
Osceola Aleese Dawson was a woman of many talents. She was born in Roaring Springs, KY, and after her father died, she and her mother moved in with her grandfather, Peter Dawson, who lived in Christian County, KY. Osceola Dawson started school in the third grade at Little Lafayette in Christian County; she graduated valedictorian of her grade school. After passing the county examination that allowed her to enter high school in Pembroke, KY, Dawson graduated valedictorian of her high school at the age of 16 and became a teacher at the age of 17. In 1929, she was a student and an employee at West Kentucky Vocational School [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College] in Paducah. After graduating from college, Dawson remained employed at the school for more than 20 years. She had also completed work at the School of Brief English in New York and studied music to become a noted lyric soprano. Dawson was also the author of Of Human Miseries, a collection of short stories published in 1941, and a number of other works, including the 1959 documentary about Clarence Timberlake, The Timberlake Story. Dawson was also a long-standing, active member of the NAACP, serving as the secretary of both the Kentucky NAACP Conference and the Paducah NAACP Branch. Dawson was recognized for her outstanding service, including her speaking tours in northern states. She was a sister of former Illinois Assistant Attorney General James Cotter. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Papers of the NAACP, Part 21, roll 20, frame 234; and Bill Powell's Notebook, "Osceola Dawson's title has not changed but her role has," Paducah Sun-Democrat, 02/08/1958, p. 6.
Listen online to the tribute feature, Osceola Dawson, Renaissance Woman by Jacque E. Day at WKMS-FM, Murray State University.
Listen online to the Osceola Dawson interview by Edward R. Murrow on the program This I believe, at thisibelieve.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Roaring Springs, Trigg County, Kentucky / Hopkinsville and Pembroke, Christian County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky