Carrie M. Best/A Digital Archive

It was clear almost from the start that Carrie Best's mother Georgina Prevoe, a tall and heroic woman, was to be one of Best's major influences. Mrs. Prevoe's stand against the angry mob during a race riot at the end of the First World War became a defining moment in the young Best's life. Carrie told the story of that day over and over, and preserved it in print in her autobiography That Lonesome Road.


By Carrie Best
From That Lonesome Road

An incident that occurred at the close of the First World War tells its own story. A race riot erupted in the town of New Glasgow as the result of an altercation between a black and a white youth. Bands of roving white men armed with clubs had stationed themselves at different intersections allowing no Blacks to go beyond that point. We had learned of the riot from our father when he came home from work. My oldest brother was at work at the Norfolk House and my mother who had been driven home by the chauffeur of the family for whom she had been working knew nothing of the situation.

Finding my younger brother, my father and myself at home and my older brother missing my mother inquired as to why he was not home. It was dusk.

In all the years she lived and until she passed away at the age of eighty-one mother was never known to utter an unkind blasphemous or obscene word, nor did I ever see her get angry. This evening was no exception. She told us to get our meal, stating that she was going into town to get my brother. It was a fifteen minute walk.

At the corner of East River Road and Marsh Street the crowd was waiting and as my mother drew near they hurled insults at her and threateningly ordered her to turn back.

She continued to walk toward the hotel about a block away when one of the young men recognized her and asked her where she was going. "I am going to the Norfolk House for my son," she answered calmly. (My mother was six feet tall and straight as a ramrod.) The young man ordered the crowd back and my mother continued on her way to the hotel. At that time there was a livery stable at the rear entrance to the hotel and it was there my mother found my frightened older brother and brought him safely home.

© 1977 Clarion Publishing