During the summer of 1919, African American veterans returned home from World War I, eager to continue the fight for freedom at home. Before world War I, the NAACP had just 9000 members nationwide and only 300 in the South, but by the early 1920’s, national membership had risen to 100,000 with southern chapters constituting the majority. The era also marked the July 26, 1919 birth of centenarian Sylvester Gwendolyn Bossard.
Five generations celebrated the 100th birthday of Bossard this past weekend at Piccadilly restaurant on the Southside. Bossard was surprised by the attendance of special guest, Bishop Charles Eichelberger, Sr., Pastor of Cathedral of Deliverance, a former 4th grade student. “Ms. Bossard was such an amazing and impressive teacher. I remember how she impacted my commitment to many life values. She instilled in me high standards and was always supportive,” said Bishop Eichelberger.
Bossard happily attributes her long life to faith and God’s blessings, along with good humor, a balanced diet and the love of her family. Her daughter, Richie Fluker beams with pride in her mother’s life works. The centenarian is a retired teacher of the Duval County School System, the second oldest member of Zeta Phi beta Sorority’s local chapter, Beta Alpha Zeta and a member of the Iris Garden Circle and Gem’s Bridge Club.
Daily, she enjoys her hobbies of crochet, knitting, puzzles and all time favorite cards. Theses days, the Old Stanton graduate enjoys spending time with her daughter and visitors. Her one birthday wish is that everyone has a long life as rich with happiness and blessings as hers.