Beatrice C. Taylor

Pioneer Black Businesswoman, Education Booster
By Paul Wyche (Saginaw NEWS 12NOV93)

Beatrice C. Taylor stressed the importance of independence to her children, and gave them a shining example by starting one of Saginaw's first black-owned businesses.

She named the Billy Carol Clothing Shop on Saginaw's East Side after two of her children, William and Carol, to show them it was more than a children's clothes boutique.

"She set an example for us and she never expected any of us to do the same thing," said one of Taylor's daughters, Carol Stitt, 47, of Lawrenceville, Georgia.

"There were 11 of us, but we were told to seek success in our own way."

The shop closed in the early 1960s after about nine years of operation.

Stitt said her mother also advocated education.

"We had two typewriters, and we used to have contests to see who could type the fastest: she made sure we could all type," Stitt recalled.

The businesswoman also advised her children what types of classes to take.

Stitt said her mother once suggested she take a course in Latin, then broke into an impromptu recitation of the language.

"My mouth just flung open," Stitt said. I didn't know she could speak it."

Josephine Pettiford said she'll always remember the summer outings with Taylor, who was her friend for 52 years.

"I miss the picnics with the children" said Pettiford, 80, of Saginaw. "She was a very lovely person."

One of Beatrice Taylor's sons, William Taylor, 46, of Saginaw, said he thought his family was rich when he was growing up.

"We never really wanted for anything," he said. "The most important thing we had was sincere love."

Beatrice Taylor was born April 15, 1915, in Coffee Springs, Alabama. She married the Rev. Samuel M. Taylor on March 30, 1933; he died in 1976.

Her community service included participation as a member of the Board of Directors for the Saginaw Landlord Association.

Please note: Bette Hood (Saginaw, Michigan) a daughter of Mrs. Taylor is in possession of the newspaper clipping for the above.