By: Donna R Harris (Photo credit: Katrina Watson)
HOUSTON — On November 10, 1920, 100 years ago, baby girl Maloney Coates was born in the great state of Texas.
She grew up eating Texas “bar-b-que,” of course. At the time of Maloney’s birth, the first-ever commercial radio broadcast connected the north, south, east, and west United States. Maloney was born in the year women legally gained the right to vote in the U.S.
From a child, she was rooted in academic excellence making all A’s in grade six, as shown on her Bellville, Texas report card. Maloney walked over five miles to get to and from school back in the 1932. There were no yellow school buses during Maloney’s Bellville Elementary school days. Before U.S. integration, Maloney graduated with honors from Yates Colored High School in Houston, Texas. Destined to maintain a higher education, in 1943 she earned her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, from Prairie View State Normal Industrial College of Texas, now Prairie View A&M University. In 1949, she obtained a Masters’ degree in Education from the Texas State University for Negroes, now Texas Southern University.
Maloney retired from the Houston Independent School District, serving as a long-term substitute teacher for 27 years.
Maloney’s family life, cooking skills, community service, and travels have been exemplary. The 1943 Harris County marriage records confirm she married Herman Johnson, and the couple had four children: Herman Jr, Elwaine, Deidre, and Denise. If you want to taste some good down-home southern cooking, stand in line for Maloney’s gumbo; yep, it is “that” good! Like many Texans, Maloney is an avid football and basketball fan. Feeding Houston’s hungry by volunteering at a local pantry for many years and splashing water aerobics through age 90 are two of her regular recreations.
She is regularly known for sporting a brim lady’s hat at the South Union Church of Christ. In her 100 years, Maloney traveled to the Caribbean (i.e., Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Nassau, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands).
In recognition and celebration of Maloney’s 100th birthday anniversary, her family will gather remotely for her special day via Zoom teleconference to commemorate her Coats roots. The family will also honor the 2020 Yates High School valedictorian with a $100.00 scholarship in commemoration of Maloney Coates Johnson’s 100th birthday.