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George Lee Dudley was the sixth of sixteen children born to Matilda Sanders and Royal Dudley. George Dudley was born February 15, 1890 in Greensboro, Hale County, Alabama. Like many African-Americans of that time, he was born of mixed parentage. His mother, Matilda, was African-American while his father, Royal, was Mulatto. (part African and part Indian).

George Dudley Sr. and Amanda Lee Parker met in Greensboro, Alabama, and after a brief courtship, they married there on Dec. 26, 1908, of that union, twelve children were born, ten of whom survived to adulthood. They are as follows


George Dudley Jr.

Lula Mae Dudley

Robert Dudley

Fannye Mae Dudley

Ethal Lee Dudley

James Lee Dudley

Louise Launcy Dudley

Walter Lee Dudley

Mary Ella Dudley

Willie Moore Dudley

Flora Jean Dudley

Dannye Mae Dudley


George seeking a better way of life then the rural Greensboro offered, he received a offer to relocate to Bessemer Alabama in 1915. Bessemer was a great area near industrialized Birmingham which boasted limestone, coal, ore and other rich natural resources needed to sustain the, then, profitable steel making industry. George was able to secure employment as an ore miner at the old Reeder’s Mining Company near the community of Muscoda, Alabama.

During those days, companies often provided rental housing for their employees at a nominal fee. The companies also operated a company store call a Commissary, whereby workers could purchase food and other supplies on credit. The majority of the African-American miners, at the time, lived in rental houses owned by the company in Reeders and nearby communities.

The White folks in the area were envious of the blacks housing and decided that they wanted these houses for themselves. So, the African-Americans were moved out, leaving many of them homeless with no place to go. George, who with Amanda’s good financial management had already purchased a home at 723 Hyde Ave, Bessemer, Alabama, he immediately opened up his home to their friends who were cough up in this unfortunate housing dilemma. These friends came an often bring their entire families to live with George and Amanda, until adequate homes were found for them.

The Dudley household, in fact, became a revolving door for anyone in need of a meal or place to stay. George Brothers and Sisters came from Greensboro and stayed with them for extended periods of time. Frequently, when George went to pick up his pay check, his stub would be blank because of the money he owed the Commissary for food.

This did not bother him in the least because he loved food as well as seeing other people eat. He would come home after working the late shift an would often cook a entire meals of chicken, rice, gravy, and biscuits, he would wake up the entire house to eat with him. Every day when he came home from the coal mine, he had something for his children, such as cookies, penny candy and fruit which he would divide equally among each of the children.

Amanda was no less generous. Often she would give her last onion, cup of flour, cornmeal or sugar to neighbors who needed it for their family’s dinner. When asked how she could give her last food items away, Amanda’s reply would be "The Lord will make a way for me to get more." and he always did.

George became a lay minister. He, Amanda, and their children joined the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church which was established in 1884 in Muscoda Village, Bessemer, Alabama. On New Year’s eve, 1926, the church burned down and the congregation met at Muscoda School and Magnolia A.M.E. church for worship until they could fine a new church site.

In 1933, Rev Marcus, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church died and Reverend George Dudley, lay minister and members held the church together. In 1940, the church settled upon a plot of land in undeveloped Jonesboro Hights, commonly called Happy Hollow, where the members of the church under the leadership of Deacon John Webb Croom, Chairman of the Board of Deacons and the husband of Fannye Mae Dudley-Croom, the fourth child of George Dudley.

They worked faithfully to raise money to begin work on building the new stone church, which later became a brick structure. Because money was always in short supply, it took several years of stop and starts just to build the foundation. In 1944, ground breaking was held After a prolonged illness, Amanda’s life came to an end on February 7, 1945. At the time of Amanda’s death, the basement of New Salem was near completion. On February 15, 1945, Amanda L. Dudley was finalized at the new church. This was the first service ever held in the new church.

The members wanted to have a funeral that was befitting their beloved Amanda so they raced against all odds to finish the basement in time, and they succeeded. Not only was she the first member to be put to rest at the new structure, but a missionary society in the church still bears her name, The Amanda Dudley Circle. For her funeral, the local school was close and all church members attended. Six months later, on August 30th, George, her husband, died.

They were survived by ten children of which four, Dannye, Willie, Flora and Mary, were minors. The youngest, Dannye Mae, was only ten at the time of their death. With the aid and assistance of older siblings, the family unit managed to remain intact for 27 years.

In April 1972, their eldest child Lula Mae Dudley-Williams met her demise in Columbus, Ohio. Three months later in July, James Dudley, Sr., their eldest son, followed her in Bessemer, Alabama. Within a twenty year span, five others died. These include Louise Launcy Dudley-Bolden, March, 1974, Columbus, Ohio, Fannye Mae Dudley-Croom, May 1980, Bessemer, Alabama, Mary Ella Dudley-Moore, March, 1981, Columbus, Ohio. Ethel Lee Dudley-O’Neal, November, 1984, Columbus, Ohio and Walter Lee Dudley Sr., May, 1989, Bessemer, Alabama.

Of the original ten children, three are still living. They are Willie Moore Dudley, Sr., Bessemer Alabama, Flora Jean Dudley-Scales and Dannye Mae Dudley-Butcher, Columbus, Ohio. Out of the five son-in-laws, four have passed.

They are John Webb Croom, Bessemer, Alabama, Leonard Scales, Clynt Butcher, and Glenn O’Neal, Columbus, Ohio. Booker T. Williams, the eldest son-in-law is still living in Hattie, Mississippi. The three daughters-in-law: Bernice Wilson-Dudley, Olivia Freeman- Dudley, And Ethel Collins-Dudley, all from Bessemer Alabama, are still alive.

Education was an important value for Amanda Dudley and she stressed it with her children. Several of them completed high school during a time when it was not fashionable for African-Americans in the south to even learn to read and write. The eldest son, James became a teacher. Flora, a longtime postal worker, and Walter, who was active in local politics can attested to the influence that Amanda’s values had on their lives. From the afore mentioned marriage, ten children, forty-one grandchildren were produced, six of whom are no longer living.

Those deceased are Louise Dudley, Bessemer, Alabama., Daniel Williams, Indianapolis Indian, George Dudley-O’Neal, Columbus, Ohio, James Dudley, Jr., Bessemer, Alabama, Carolyn Jean Dudley-Smith, Washington DC, Joyce Eline Dudley-Desmond, Bessemer, Alabama, and Willie Moore Dudley Jr., Bessemer, Alabama.

George Dudley-O’Neal, a child prodigy and the first of that generation to attend college, he completed high school at age 16 and entered Talledega College during the late 1950’s on full academic scholarship.

Carolyn Jean Dudley-Smith, was the first female family member to finish college, she attended Stillman College she died after completing Graduate Studies at Howard University. Louise Dudley completed college and on the first year of her teaching career, she suffered a fatal asthma attack and died, she was in her early 20’s.

Of those grandchildren who are still living, Godfrey Dudley, Washington DC, the first lawyer in the clan, attended Tuskegee Institute and later received his Jurist Doctorate Degree at Howard University. George Dudley-Williams, has acquired an upper management position with the Housing and Urban Development Agency in Denver, Colorado.

Willie Moore Dudley, Jr., who finished Tennessee State University became the first Howard Law School Graduate to receive a scholarship to study for a Master Degree in International Law in Copenhagen, Denmark. Edward Dudley, Sr., who attended Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio, became the first Certified Public Accountant in the family. Robert E. Dudley and Glenn C. Dudley enter the US Air Force and after 26 years of service they retired and is now working for the US Government in upper management.Robert work at Tinker AFB OK as a Traffic Manager and Glenn work at Hurlbert Field FL as a Recreation Specialist.

Since their early entry into the higher educational arena, the off springs of Amanda and George Dudley have made significant in-road onto the professional ranks. In addition to those previously mentioned, they now boast one school administrator, two accountants, several corporate managers, several teachers, entreneurs, supervisors, high- level military and postal personnel, a published author, carpenters, tailors, a social worker, cooks, and the list goes on and on. Robert E. Dudley Sr, San Antonio Texas, has completed research and tracing the African and Indain origin of the Dudley clan. You can contact him at or



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This page was last updated: September 25, 1999