George Theophilus Walker - Violin Sonata #1 (1958). "To my Mother"
George Walker, 1922-2018, studied at Oberlin College, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Eastman School of Music, and was a pupil of Serkin, Scalero, Menotti and Boulanger. He was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1996.
From "George Walker: Reminiscences of an American Composer and Pianist", Scarecrow Press, 2008:
Epigram: “I cannot always stand upon the peak and touch the stars.
Sometimes the wind is thick with snow and bleak.
And there are scars of sorrows that are long since past.”
- from Stars by Susan Keeney
“My mother, Rosa King, obtained a job in the Government Printing office in Washington, DC, after graduating from M Street High School (later Dunbar High School) when she was sixteen. She was able to support my grandmother, a single parent whose second husband died when my mother was a young child. My grandmother's first husband was sold at a slave auction and was never seen again. She fled north with friends in the middle of the night from a plantation in Virginia. When they approached Washington, DC, they encountered the Union Army and freedom. They had successfully escaped the despicable tyranny and inhumanity of the Confederacy. When I ventured to ask my grandmother what it was like to be a slave, she replied, "They did everything except eat us."
My mother's gifts were apparent to all who knew her. Her mind was remarkably agile. Her speech, flawless (without any regional accent) and quick to respond, dominated every conversation. Slang, even the ubiquitous "okay," was never used by either parent. She had a very special talent for arithmetic, and she was a superb bridge player. The unassuming bond between her and my grandmother was remarkable.
There was an unusual, innate directness about my mother that was evident in her gaze and her ability to convey an opinion that was not coated with malice or envy. She enjoyed laughing about the foibles of others while understanding the fragility of their situation. She was a magnet to which persons with problems gravitated because they sensed her empathy. She also had psychic powers. Forseeing in a dream the closing of banks by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his first days in office in 1933, she withdrew our savings the next day.”