A Proud Start in the South

Born at midnight on August 23, 1912, Thomas Arthur Malloy, Jr. arrived only forty-nine years after the emancipation of American slaves.1 Tom was the firstborn son of a family of black sharecroppers, and he lived a demanding life that many white southerners and
urbanites took for granted.2 He was born at home, like most children in the countryside, to Tom Arthur Malloy, Sr. and Frankie (Mary) Ford Malloy.

According to “the custom during that time, women about to give birth would often call upon someone in the family who was knowledgeable,” Tom explains. “A midwife, as we called them, would other- wise be called upon,” he adds. Tom’s mother was assisted at his birth by a woman called Miss Hannah. Miss Hannah also delivered many of Tom’s siblings and playmates. Within six years after Tom’s birth, three younger brothers would follow. John, Frank, and James completed the Malloy family portrait. John was born in 1914, James in 1916, and Frank in 1918.3 . . .