33407 “Black” History Memoirs
Mary Ann Hubbard (Spann)
Hello, I am Mary Ann. My parents were Major Spann, Sr., and Effie Ree Spann. My siblings were Joseph Spann, Ruby Spann Booth, Major Spann, Jr., and Linda Spann Bryant. I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida and I have lived in the Palm Beach County area all of my 68 years. I enjoy living in the city, in the Grant Park, and Coleman Park areas.
I am married to Melvin Hubbard. I have one son named Carlton Derek Spann. I have nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren so the legacy will live on.
I was born on the property that I now reside on off Tamarind Ave. My siblings and parents are gone, so I chose to renovate the property from its original existence, upgrade the property value and keep the family legacy alive. It was so expensive in other areas of town renting until it was just more practical to come back home and renovate the family property.
I love the community that I am in because it is the same community that I grew up in. A lot of the original neighborhood people are deceased but their children are still there carrying their names and legacies as well. Some of the original homes were old and had to be torn down so new homes are there in place and new neighbors are there too. Overall the neighborhood is still good and we have neighborhood watch where we watch out for each other's property.
When I was six years old we started elementary school in second grade at Roosevelt Elementary School. Our family attended a private school that was licensed by Mrs. Long in Pleasant City, Fl. She was approved by the Palm Beach County School District in her home and if you went to her school and passed her test you were eligible to proceed to second grade at six years old. When I got to 12th grade I was 16 years old. My siblings and other students who went to Mrs. Long were advanced as well.
My significant achievements include going back to school at night at the age of 40. I worked at the School District of Palm Beach County during the day and attended college at night. I earned my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification at the College of the Palm Beaches in 1989. I was recognized as the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Victim Assistance Program Victim Advocate for volunteering in 2002. I also received my Associate's Degree in Human Services in 2003, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management in 2006 (Cum Laude). My other recognitions include: Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (2006), The National Dean's List (2006), and President Barack Obama Education Award (2010).
I have Florida Teaching Certification (ESE K-12 grade), ESOL Certification, and a Florida Certificate (K - 6 grade). After earning my degrees, the School District of Palm Beach County gave me the opportunity to teach Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students in Palm Beach County for the last six years before retirement. I retired from the School District of Palm Beach County with 31 years of service. My beginning education began at Roosevelt Elementary School and my ending career was at Roosevelt Elementary School. The school was in the same spot just rebuilt. This is a very significant event in my life.
I also retired from the State of Florida with 10 years of service.
Since I retired, I have given back to the community. I volunteered in the schools as a tutorial staff worker and office worker, and I even worked as a crossing guard worker. My health began to fail and I had to have many surgeries since.
Having been in the community all of my 68 years, I have seen a lot of growth. I have heard a lot of stories from my dad and other elders over the years. The one that stands out to me is The 1928 Storm. My dad told us this story of how he was sitting on his porch on 13th St. by the old hospital on 13th and Division. He said there were wooden houses in that area across the street back then and he was on the porch with his legs stretched out, when the storm came through and the wooden porch fell on his legs. He lay for a few days with the porch on his legs before the Salvation Army came through to check on the black neighborhood. He was a survivor of the 28 storms, however, both of his legs were broken and the bones had begun to heal back so his legs were healed crooked because the hospital/ doctors did not break and straighten my daddy's legs. He always had trouble with his legs after that, poor circulation, he always walked a little way, stopped, and then start back.
Too much growth is never enough. We always had a grocery store in the Northwood area. What happened? We as seniors need a grocery store in the Northwood area. When you are disabled and handicapped it is inconvenient to have to go long distances to shop. I give thanks to Walmart.com and its delivery service. But it's not fair for senior citizens who are not familiar with computers. It will be so nice to see a grocery store in the Northwood area again. We do acknowledge Publix City Place in our area because we would be lost without them. The service workers are courteous, kind, and helpful. The store is easily accessible with easy parking and there is never hardly a wait when you are there. The ATM is also convenient and accessible to the community.
This story is part of the 33407 “Black” History Memoirs, a 2023 Project in celebration of Black History Month. View other stories here.