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ILLUMINATION 2023-24: Lois Reynolds

Illumination Annual Story and Public History Project

Lois Reynolds

Photo credit: Marcus Holloway

It proved very difficult to find an older Black woman to include in our story collection because there are so few in Springfield from former generations. Lois Reynolds is a part of one of Lane County’s founding Black families. Her’s is also one of the first Black families to live in Springfield. The ability for her children to trace their roots back to direct ancestors, and know who is responsible for their deep familial roots locally, is something the majority of the American Black population cannot do. Lois represents what we often associate with certain generations of Black people, specifically those who paved the way for a more integrated society, kindness in the face of violent adversity, a charitable forgiving heart, and a willingness to persevere.

"One thing I think about my dad, ‘cause he had ten kids. And him and my mom. And he was such a hardworking man. He never... You hear men today that dessert their families, and sometimes women will do that, but mostly men. And he never deserted his family. And we talk about that today. My sisters and brothers and I. And we say, one thing we can say about him, he stayed with us! And, you know, ten kids, that's enough to make you pull your hair out. And he just stuck it on out with my mom, and stayed there until she passed away. And then eventually he passed away. But those are memories that I cherish. And we were at his grave the other day. And I said, well done Barney Stubbs(sp) (laughs). Well done. You did what you should have done. A good example to men. And my mother was... She never deserted us. And I don't know if this would even fit in with... She never brought anyone to the house other than my dad. And I appreciate that as a woman growing up and… And as a young woman. Then you develop the character from what you see happen in your home… 

I appreciate that so much today. I say you left you left a good legacy for your daughters and I… I said, I shall never, ever forget. My husband and I were together for 63 years. And I said, you know, and that's only because, that's all I seen, you know? I see my mom and dad as they stuck it out. And I realize everybody, they're different problems in their family. But you learn how to deal with them. Through the thick, through the thin. You say oh, I'm going to make it. And you leave a... Try to leave a good legacy, you know, for your children, grandchildren. I try to call my grandkids every... As often as I can, my children, and just let them know I love you, I care about you, and I just want to say hello. Their birthdays... Which every time I turn them around, somebody's got a birthday! I have 30 somethin’ grandkids, and every time I turn around somebody has a birthday, somebody has something else. And so, I just thank God for the legacy that I have has as a mother now… Taught me how to live, you know, before my children. So forth, so much for me."