Uncle Mose has been one the role models in my life. As a kid, I always looked forward to his visits. I loved to listen to his stories and he loved to tell them. He earned a Purple Heart as a Marine serving in Vietnam and has visited several countries around the world. He was also a police officer which I thought was so cool.
But his greatest achievement has been raising his four children as a single father. According to the U.S. Census Bureau figures, approximately 239,000 Black families with children under the age of 18 are headed by single-parent fathers. The number of single-dads remains small when compared to those single-parent families headed by Black women, which the census puts at over 3 million.
I could write on and on about Uncle Mose’s fathering skills and the challenges that he has faced as a single father, but I don’t have to because it’s already been done.
On Mother’s Day in 1993, church elders asked Uncle Mose’s daughter, Hazel to bless the congregation with a tribute to mothers. Since there was no mother in the house, Uncle Mose was unsure about what she would say. Eleven-year-old Cousin Hazel was not. Here is the tribute that she delivered that day:
My Mom Dad
Even though you may not be a mom, you are like a mom dad to me. You do everything a mom would like. You cook for us. You even know how to do hair. You are very special in many ways – one is that you are raising Jimmy and me up in the church. That’s very important. You even take time out to do stuff with us like help me with my softball. Many fathers wouldn’t even be a mom dad like you that also makes you very special. I might not say it all the time but I really appreciate what you do for me and Jimmy. That’s why I love you very much.
This tribute prompted Ebony Magazine to write a profile on him and other single fathers who were raising their kids alone. The Governor of Florida also asked him to serve on the state’s Council on Fatherhood.
Uncle Mose is currently campaigning to be the next sheriff of Brevard Country Florida because he wants to make a difference in his community. If he does half the job as sheriff as he has done raising his kids, Brevard County will be a much better place.