Nellie Musson (1926-1989)
In acknowledgement of Black History Month, The Royal Gazette continues the publication of stories throughout February on African-American, Black Bermudian and global African people, events and institutions, and their contributions in history
Nellie Musson could put her hand to many things, but she is best remembered as an author. Her self-published works include Mind the Onion Seed, which chronicles the contributions of Black Bermudian women, and a biography of educator Marjorie Bean, PhD.
She operated a Hamilton beauty salon, where she also taught hairdressing. Born to a family of Seventh-day Adventists, and the fourth of ten children, she attended Southampton Glebe School and Sandys Secondary School.
She was known as an enterprising woman, who with her husband, Sylvan, a self-employed electrician, worked hard to ensure their six children received a college education. The family lived in the rambling two-storey Musson family homestead at Salt Kettle, Paget. She also helped three of her teenaged brothers to obtain a college education after their mother died.
She established LaNel Beauty Salon after studying hairdressing in New York in 1957. She also cared for elderly patients.
In the early 1970s, after completing summer courses in Bermuda through the University of Maryland and Queen’s University, she returned to school full time.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from the State University College at Buffalo, New York, and a master’s degree in gerontology from Fisk University in Tennessee. She devoted the last ten years of her life to writing. Her other books included Children of the Enterprise and Missing Mr Read. She died before she could achieve her dream of building a home for the elderly in Warwick.
• Courtesy of Meredith Ebbin and bermudabiographies.bm