March 18, 1934 - Feburary 9, 2012
Wife, Mother, Quilter, Historian, Griot, Researcher
Serena was born to Milton John Strother and Mary Eva (McDaniel)
Strother in Edgefield, South Carolina.
She was one of Milton's fifthteen children.
With Martha Pixley, Milton Stother had 11 of the children,
nine of them were born before 1900.
In 1929, when Martha died, he married Mary Eva McDaniel
and had 4 children, Viola, Serena, Benjamin, William (Lammy) Strother.
Serena spent her formative years in Edgefield, SC, visiting her grandpartents Nora & William McDaniel in McCormick, SC. She went by bus to Philadelphia, PA and lived with Mr. Gavazie & Mrs. Sarah (Greene) Quatlebaum (her sister), shown below.
She graduated from Liberty High School in Williamson, WV.
where Fred & Serena Strother raised her until she left to attend
West Virginia State College in Institute, WV.
In 1953, Serena attended West Virgina State College in Institute, WV
where she pledged AKA sorority as her sisters did before her.
While at West Virginia State College
(from 1952-1955) She met the love of her life,
Howare Lee Wilson of Bramwell, WV.
Below Serena was Ms. ROTC. while at WVSC
Serena was courted by Howard a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and after three years, they were married on May 28th, 1955 in Dunbur, WV.
It was prior to him being commissioned as a new Lieutinant in the US Army and going to Baumholder, West Germany, his first assignment.
She later graduated from Bluefield State College
in Bluefield, WV in June of 1968 with a BS Degree in Elementary Education.
She returned to Germany with her husband and 3 children,
Maria Denese, Teresa Renee and Howard Anthony.
Her aunt Ozella McDaniel Williams made several trips to Germany
to make sure that Serena knew and was teaching the family
legacy and traditions to her three children.
She toured museums, cathedrals and historical sites
interpreting them from her unique point of view.
Sarah also visited the family in Germany and sent gifts she had sewn while working for the Singer Sewing Machine
Company in Philadelphia, PA.
She pointed out slave built structures not just
African Slaves but all nationalities of people including
Jews brought to Rome, Italy from Isreal. She pointed out relavent
artifacts, documents, resources exploited and
building techniques, stolen from Africa.
Serena completed a Master's Degree from Wayne State University
in Detroit, MI in 1973 in Psychology and Guidance
(distant learning program).
With a passion and love for education, she taught, in
European/American schools more than 40 years.
Completing more than 60 hours of graduate work in
the School of Administration and Special Education at
the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.
Serena continued taking courses to better
document her family's UGRR legacy.
Serena and Howard sponsored and became God
Parents to three students from Obika family of the
Igbo Group in Nigeria, Africa and countless other
youth that are now great world citizens.
Serena teaching the teachers in Ghana, West Africa
below on research trip.
After retiring from the Columbus Board of Education in 2000,
she continued being a faithful member of many organizations
and her passion for history research and quilting.
Serena was co-owner and CEO of the Plantation Quilts & Gifts.
As a family, they have conducted programs and workshops
telling how the Farrow-McDaniel Quilt Code, handed down
through her family, helped enslaved people
escape from Southern plantations.
Since starting the lectures in 1970's, they have conducted over
4,000 programs in colleges, universities, libraries, historical societies,
quilting groups, NPS sites and private and governmental
organizations throughout the United States.
Serena's paternal grandfather David Richardson Strother's
had Rockhill Plantation the highest grossing in SC 1850-1960.
When the family had a reunion in Edgefield, SC the
family heard stories about David and his granddaughter
Sallie Strother (DAR Historian) married a Hollingsworth.
Her granddaughter Lynn Booram (Edgefield Historian)
did a great presentation at the Family Reunion and when
asked how she knew so much about our family...
She replied "I;m your cousin Lynn!" Everyone laughed and hugged.
In 2005, she opened the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum Exhibit in Atlanta, GA with Howard and her daughter, Teresa Kemp.
She continues doing the UGRR Secret Quilt Code
Museum Traveling Exhibits and lectures.
Serena wrote several articles that were published
about her ancesters in America, as Glynn County,
GA slaves, Peter and Eliza Farrow, formerly Igbo and Eliza from Dahomey, were called the Gullah-Geechee people.
They purchased their freedom following the death of their second owner and worked as abolitionist via the Underground Railroad.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Golden Soror,
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Bluefield State College, Columbus Kappa Alpha Psi Silhouettes,
Drayton Hall Historic Society, Friends of Freedom,
Edgefield Historic Society, Liberty High School, OSU Alumni Association, Martin Luther King Center, Morgan State University, National UGRR Freedom Center Life Member, National NAACP, Quilter’s For Christ, Perish House Quilters, OSU Penn Women,
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Wayne State University Alumni Association, WVSU Alumni Association,
Inductee West Virginia High School Hall of Fame
Serena's name is on the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, AL.
Dont forget the
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."
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