Under the covering of Jimmie

Jimmie Lee Elliott

Uncovered. That’s how my grandmother, the late Jimmie Lee Elliott had to navigate life in the Jim Crow South as a young widow and mother of seven children. Everyday, she alone had to rise with the sun to work multiple jobs, stretch pennies into dollars, sit in night classes in pursuit of her education, and then tend to the seven little mouths she had to clothe, feed, and protect. She was uncovered, but unbowed and unstoppable.

On Sunday mornings, however, she would wipe her tears, slip into her favorite church dress and place a grand chapeau upon their head -- a crown. Despite racism, poverty, and loss, under a steeple and the cross, she could be queen for a day. With eyes towards heaven, she would let the healing, restorative balm of Jesus Christ wash over her and infuse her with strength to face the coming days.

Though the years, she gained her education and was able to ascend to one of the highest positions in the post office. Those underneath her covering expanded.

Recently, my mother, sisters, daughter and I went through my grandmother’s old hats. She had lots of them -- with feather and bobbles and mesh and rhinestones. We decided to have a makeshift photoshoot. We wore her hats in her honor, our queen mother, who was uncovered but who covered us.

Despite the thorny path life had for her, our grandmother and mother covered us with her kindness, her wisdom, and her strength and we are honored to continue to walk under the shadow of her covering. 

We honor her legacy by wearing her hats perhaps to soak in some of her wisdom, her courage, and her indomitable spirit. 

Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven Grandma Jimmie!

Theresa Jones, Brenda Jones, Simone Sutton, Angela Jones and Marie Sutton


  1. Beautiful, heartfelt story and lovely, kind, strong women.


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