Just like her mother, Amanda Aldridge was born to be a great singer. However, when she was only 2 years old, Amanda contracted polio and could no longer help with her parents’ concerts. Amanda’s father searched for a substitute in London, but the government deemed no African or West Indian singers in London. So he moved his family overseas to Sierra Leone, where they became part of the country’s prominent upper class. This piece discusses how Amanda was treated as early as a child due to her mixed-race background and delves into her family history by evaluating what hardships she endured because of prejudice.
Who was Amanda Aldridge?
Amanda Aldridge was born in 1977 and raised in Dallas, Texas. At age 10, she began suffering from debilitating seizures, and doctors were unsure what was causing them. After multiple tests and scans, Aldridge’s physicians found that she had a tumor on her brain stem. The tumor was so large it was pressing on her optic nerve and affecting her vision.
Doctors told Aldridge’s family there was nothing they could do to save her life. However, they removed the tumor, and she has since fully recovered. Aldridge is now a successful artist who has exhibited her work worldwide. In an interview with USA Today, she said that finding out she had a tumor changed her life: “I suddenly became very aware of everything around me,” she said. “It opened up my eyes.”
African and West Indian Background
Amanda Aldridge was born in New York City to a Haitian father and an African American mother. She has spent much of her life living in countries throughout Africa and the Caribbean, which has given her an incredibly unique perspective on life.
Aldridge was raised in a poor community in Haiti, where she learned how to survive by scavenging for food and wielding a gun to defend herself from robbers. She also lived in Sierra Leone, where she experienced the civil war firsthand. Aldridge’s travels taught her the importance of community and family, and she credits them with helping shape who she is today.
Aldridge resides in Queens, New York, with her husband and two children. She is working on a memoir about her life entitled “Souls Grown Deep.”
William Aldridge and Elizabeth Richards
William Aldridge and Elizabeth Richards were married on October 7, 1858, in Hartwell, Georgia. They had six children together before Elizabeth died in 1896 at 49. William remarried on December 26, 1897, to Bertha Hammond. Through Elizabeth and Bertha, William and his six children learned many things about life that would be unique for their time.
Thomas Nicholls was born in America on July 1, 1977. The son of British parents, Nicholls was raised in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Nicholls attended a boarding school in England before moving to the U.S. to attend Brown University. After graduating from Brown with a degree in history, Nicholls worked as an editorial assistant for a publishing company before starting his own business, Thomas Nicholls Publishing.
Nicholls has written several books about history and natural sciences, including Monkeys Never Lie (2009), The Journey: A Natural History of Our Species (2012), and Sloths: Chasing Shadows (2015). He also writes for magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times and The Guardian. In 2013 and 2014, respectively, Nicholls hosted two PBS documentaries about historical figures: Thomas Jefferson: A New Image (2013) and Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Great Artist (2014).
Nicholls is a TED Talks speaker on topics such as creativity, peacebuilding, and climate change. He lives with his wife in London.
Amanda’s Unique Childhood in London
When Amanda Aldridge was asked what her childhood in London was like, she quickly replied with a smile, “it was unique!” And that is an understatement. Growing up, Aldridge never knew a life without royal visits or celebrity premieres. She even lived right across the street from Buckingham Palace! Aside from living behind the famous gates of Windsor Castle, her family also spent time living in Kensington Palace and on the Isle of Wight. What made Aldridge’s childhood even more special, however, was that she always had plenty of friends and family nearby to share it with.
Being a Slave, Motherhood, Singing Contests
As a young girl, Amanda Aldridge had a unique childhood. She was born into slavery and raised in the field with her mother and sisters. Her early years were filled with hard work and few opportunities for education or entertainment. However, one of her favorite pastimes was singing competitions.
Amanda began singing when she was very young and soon became a local champion. She eventually entered state-level competitions and even made it to the national stage, where she competed against singers from around the country.
Despite her success, Amanda’s childhood wasn’t always easy. Her family was often homeless and unable to provide her with the education or opportunities she desired. Nevertheless, she never ceased to enjoy singing and continued to pursue her passion throughout her life.
Nowadays, Amanda works as a vocalist and performance artist. She has released several albums and tours regularly across the United States. Her unique childhood has helped fuel her career successes!
Later Years as a Former Slave Owner and Businesswoman
Amanda Aldridge was born into a life of slavery and oppression. She was born in 1839, on a plantation in Georgia, to a mother who was a slave and her owner. Her father was also a slave, but Amanda and her siblings were free and able to move around the plantation. The plantation had over 400 slaves, all working hard day and night to provide for their masters.
As an 1862 review of the state of Georgia noted: “The great mass of slaves are contented and happy…. They have good homes. they are well clothed, fed, and lodged properly….” However, despite these descriptions of life on the plantations, there were many instances where slaves were abused or tortured. Amanda herself remembered one occasion when she saw her mother being whipped by her owner.
In 1865, during the American Civil War, Amanda’s master decided it would be better for her to leave the plantation and go north with him. However, as things turned out, this didn’t happen – instead, she was sold along with several other slaves to another man in Savannah. Unfortunately for Amanda, this new master was just as abusive as her previous one. He constantly whipped his slaves and treated them very poorly.
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Eventually, Amanda escaped from this man and began living on the streets of Savannah. It was here that she started working as a seamstress, which would later become her main occupation. She also started campaigning against slavery – speaking out at
In 1978, Amanda Aldridge was born to a family of five in Birmingham, Alabama. At just three years old, she and her siblings were uprooted and moved to Oregon, where their father had been hired as a computer scientist for the government. Unlike most children who grow up close to their parents, Amanda spent most of her childhood living hundreds of miles away from them – something that would have a huge impact on her development.
Aldridge describes her childhood as “different” in an interview with The Huffington Post:
I grew up far from home. I lived in Oregon until I was about ten years old, and then my dad got transferred to Utah, so I spent all my teen years there until I finished high school. So it was different having such a big age difference between my mom and me when we were together. It did foster some independence in me because when I didn’t have my mom around to Coleman [a camping gear company] or get groceries for us, Coleman became my surrogate mom. And when we would go back to Alabama at Christmastime or Thanksgiving holidays, I missed those surrogate adventures too.
Despite growing apart during her formative years, Aldridge developed a very strong bond with her mother during adulthood:
My relationship with my mom has always been really special. We’re pretty close now after all these years having been apart… When I talk to her on the phone