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"Planning a Family Reunion with a Granddaughter Who Now is Gone on," by Robin R. Foster


Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/175726516/lutherine-smith: accessed 11 February 2023), memorial page for Lutherine Vance Smith (17 Jul 1923–20 Jan 2017), Find a Grave Memorial ID 175726516, citing Palmetto Cemetery, Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina, USA; Maintained by Mary Lesesne (contributor 47874668).

Aunt Lou is what I called her. She even had a daughter call her, Aunt Lou. She was my mom's cousin. They had the same grandfather, Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance (1861-1952) with different grandmothers, Nunia and Lula Johnson Vance.

Her name was Lutherine Vance Smith. She lived in the house that her father had bought on Barhamville Rd. in Columbia, Sout Carolina. I had interview her before we moved to Columbia from Joliet, Illinois:

Lutherine Vance Smith to Robin R. Foster, oral history, 23 March 2005, page 1, Joliet, Illinois

Lutherine Vance Smith to Robin R. Foster, oral history, 23 March 2005, page 2, Joliet, Illinois

Lutherine Vance Smith to Robin R. Foster, oral history, 23 March 2005, page 3, Joliet, Illinois

Lutherine Vance Smith to Robin R. Foster, oral history, 23 March 2005, page 4, Joliet, Illinois

Lutherine Vance Smith to Robin R. Foster, oral history, 23 March 2005, page 5, Joliet, Illinois


Robin R. Foster, Lutherine Vance Smith, Edna L. Foster, Adrianne McClure Benjamin in 2005 at Lutherine Vance Smith’s in the Waverly District in Columbia, SC. Photo taken by Ellis McClure.


The above photo was taken in 2005 when we moved to Columbia. I got to learn a lot about Columbia and Gadsen through Aunt Lou's eyes. I learned about what life was like for them back then. I went with her to clean a put flowers out at the grave of my great grandfather, Rev. Lafayette. I got to know cousins who lived in Columbia and Gadsden.


I was able to help Aunt Lou trace her mother's people - the Burton's from Ridgeway. It seemed fitting that I would do one of the Johnson-Vance reunion's here. Aunt Lou would help. Here is the cover to the booklet that I designed:


I photographed Bethel AME downtown Columbia. The windows were covered with murals named: History, Tradition, Heritage, and Legacy. I used them on the cover of the booklet.

We spent one day a week visiting with Aunt Lou in the beginning. My daughter had a chance to see how it felt to be invited over and spend time with family. We moved to Greenwood, South Carolina in 2014. I had my stroke in 2016, and Aunt Lou passed away in 2017. I hope she knows how much I really loved getting to know her and spending time with her.

I found The Comet II on March 31, 2017, from Booker T. Washington Foundation. It had Aunt Lou. She graduated in 1940. The URL to the whole issue is: The Comet II on March 31, 2017

The Comet II, March 31, 2017, Book T. Washington Foundation, Volume 24 No. 1 & 2, (https://bookertwashingtonfoundationsc.org/2021/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/0317Comet.pdf)

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