2013-07-03 / People

Burke native praised for new biography

By Elizabeth Billips

A Burke County native is being lauded for her new book.

Dr. Delores A. Parker, a 1964 graduate of Waynesboro High & Industrial School, recently published Reflections on a Phenomenal Mama: Rebecca – a biography of the life and times of her grandmother, Rebecca Kirkland Maddrick.

The college professor and world traveler spent two decades digging up shards of her ancestor’s past and made numerous trips to Burke County where she dug through everything from land deeds and death certificates to the memories of those who remembered her.

Then she set to writing the story of a farmer’s wife who reared nine children and several sets of grandchildren, Dr. Parker among them, while teaching them the value of love and hard work.

Among her living lessons was Rebecca’s takeover of the family farm when she was widowed in 1943. With two sons off fighting in World War II, she carved her place in a man’s world during a time when it was not open to women ... particularly black ones.


Dr. Parker will discuss her work at the Burke County Genealogical Society monthly meeting, 6:30 p.m., Monday, July 8, at the Burke County Public Library. Parker’s vision for writing the book came during a visit to West Africa. She believes every family has a story which needs to be written. During her presentation, she will talk to participants about how to get started on their family histories. Dr. Parker will discuss her work at the Burke County Genealogical Society monthly meeting, 6:30 p.m., Monday, July 8, at the Burke County Public Library. Parker’s vision for writing the book came during a visit to West Africa. She believes every family has a story which needs to be written. During her presentation, she will talk to participants about how to get started on their family histories. Known for her power of song and prayer, Rebecca not only became an astute business woman and church leader, she fed needy neighbors out of her large gardens.

“I wanted my grandmother’s grandchildren, great grandchildren and future generations to know they came from a strong family lineage of spiritual, hardworking and loving ancestors who wanted a better life for them,” Dr. Parker said, noting her grandmother’s old sayings are still passed among family and friends.

Dr. Parker now lives in Raleigh, N.C. but returns to Waynesboro several times a year to visit her brother, David Maddrick, and a host of cousins including the Duke, Kirkland, Sapp and Shubert families.

To buy it

Signed hardback books will be available at the July 8 presentation for $20. Reference copies will be donated to the library’s Georgia Room and to the Burke County Archives. The book is available online at www.bookwire.com.

What they’re saying

Critics are optimistic about Dr. Parker’s book. Among her fans is former N.C. Senator Katie G. Dorsett who penned her praise for the book jacket. Career and professional development coach C.T. Woods wrote, “Reading this book made me hungry. Hungry for my grandmother’s lap, a hug and a good meal of hot flaky biscuits, eggs and grits. And hungry for the warm Georgia sun. Delores Parker really captures the southern Georgia experience with sharp precision.”

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