Celebrating the life of Rosalie Norris Edwards
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Rosalie grew up in Harlem on 127th Street and attended PS 68 in and received her High School Diploma from Central Commercial High School in Manhattan.
Rosalie was raised a Baptist and her Mother enjoyed listening to Father Devine. Rosalie didn’t like the way the Church was being run, so she reached out to one of her mentors, Mr. Courtney Brown, who told her about St. Philip’s Church Harlem, an Episcopal Church. He assisted her in getting enrolled and he stood up as her, and later one of her daughters, God Father. Rosalie raised her children at St. Philip’s Church and they were all baptized and confirmed as Episcopalians.
In her youth, Rosalie dreamed of dancing and being on stage. Because of this, she spent her youth at the YWCA on 137th Street and Lenox Avenue where she trained as a dancer. One of her teachers was Katherine Dunham where she learned to be a Ballet Dancer on Pointe.
After she graduated High School, all she wanted to do was Dance. In those days, it wasn’t easy for Women of Color to dance on Broadway, so she chose to be a backup dancer at: The Apollo, Cotton Club, Savoy, Roxy, The Chitlin’ Circuit (dancing at The Royal in Baltimore and the Howard Theater in Washington DC). Some of the names she danced for were Cab Calloway and James Brown.
Dance was such a big part of her life until her children were born; however, she didn’t stop. She was the choreographer for the African Dancers at the World’s Fair in NY in the 60’s, Ballet and African Dance Teacher at the Carr Dance Studio on 125th Street in Harlem where there were always Spring Performances at Town Hall in NY and she continued to teach dance to the children that lived in her building in the Community Room in the Bronx.
Rosalie was married 5 times. Her first Marriage was to McHouston “Mikey” Baker. During her time with Mickey, she spent a lot of time in the studio with him and Sylvia singing and writing music. She received credit for writing the song “Love Me Baby” on one of his first albums: “Mickey Baker in the ‘50s: Hit, Git & Split.” During this union, she gave birth to her first son “McHouston “Mickey” Baker, Jr.”
Her second marriage was to Samuel McKnight in 1958 who predeceased her.
In 1959, she married Frank Webster. In this marriage, she gave birth to 2 girls: Linda and Suzanne.
Shortly after the birth of Suzanne, Rosalie joined her family with her last husband who she married twice in 1963 and 1998: Wilbur “Steve” Edwards. Steve’s daughter Stephennie joined him in this union and they would be together until Steve’s death in March 2014.
When Rosalie left dancing, she was employed by Westinghouse which helped her to stay in the entertainment field. Through her employment there, she was able to get her children on Television on shows such as: Wonderama with Bob McAlister and Sonny Fox, Birthday House and entering her kids into drawing contests in which her daughter Linda won a National contest for drawing a Partridge in a Pear Tree where she beat out thousands of kids nationwide.
Rosalie then wanted something different for her life and left everything to join the Corporate World. She went back to school and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She also completed a few credits towards her Doctorate Degree.
Rosalie spent many years at Random House and was very fortunate to meet many powerful people who have written books. She met Angela Davis and Maya Angelou to name a few.
Rosalie, left Random House and went to work for GTE in Stamford, Connecticut. She then relocated to Norwalk, Connecticut.
When GTE was purchased by Verizon, she moved to Texas where she finally retired in 2002.
Throughout her years, she enjoyed traveling, spending time with her family and friends and most importantly sharing her life with her Husband.
Rosalie was predeceased by her Mother Ethel Norris (1991), daughter Linda Wiley, her Husband Wilbur Edwards (2014) and her brother James Norris (2019).
She leaves behind: her children Mickey Baker, Jr., Stephennie Edwards and Suzanne Page and husband Darryl, her grand children, Stephen and Tiphennie Jenkins and Michael Evans, and her great grand children, Justin, Jason and Janiece Farmer and Micah Jenkins.
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