Woman, 94, wears the wedding dress she was denied buying 70 years ago
[August 12, 2021: Bob D'Angelo]
Thanks to her granddaughter, a 94-year-old Alabama woman finally realized her dream of wearing a wedding dress.
Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker, of Birmingham, never got the chance to walk down the aisle in a wedding dress. She eloped with her husband, Lehman P. Tucker Sr., in 1952, AL.com reported. Lehman Tucker told Martha he was taking her to the movies, but they got married instead..
It was a movie that led to Martha Tucker realizing her dream.
She was watching her favorite film, “Coming to America,” with her granddaughter, Angela Strozier and said something that startled the younger woman.
“I’ve always wanted to try on a wedding dress,” Tucker said.
Strozier asked her grandmother to repeat herself and Tucker said the same thing, AL.com reported.
“She said she never wore a wedding dress when she got married,” Strozier told the website. “I said, ‘That’s no problem.’ She kinda brushed me off. She didn’t think I would do it.”
Two days later, on July 3, Strozier and other family members took Tucker to a bridal shop in Hoover, according to AL.com.
The first dress Martha tried on was her favorite.
“I felt like I was getting married,” Tucker said. “I looked at myself and said, ‘Who is that?’ Yeah, I enjoyed that dress.”
Martha Tucker was born March 5, 1927, in Alexander City, Alabama, according to online public records. Her father, McKinley Moon, was a laborer in a pipe shop, according to the 1930 census. She moved to Birmingham when she was 15 and graduated from Parker High School in 1948.
The year the Tuckers were married, Black women were not allowed in bridal shops, Strozier told AL.com. The family she worked for gave her a navy blue “mermaid dress,” known then as a “Carmen Jones dress.”
The couple had four children, 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, the website reported.
Lehman Tucker died in 1975, but Martha remained busy. In 1963 she became a registered voter and poll worker.
Martha Tucker completed her last election as a poll worker in November 2020 and was the chief inspector at her precinct.
Nov. 2, 2020, was declared “Martha Mae Ophelia Tucker Day” by Birmingham city council members.
She is proud of her service to the community, but Martha Tucker was even more pleased after trying on the wedding dress of her dreams.
“I felt like I was getting married,” she told AL.com. “I didn’t want to take it off, but I knew I had to. I looked good in it, though.”
“She’s our grandmother, and to have a grandmother so full of life at 94 is a blessing,” Strozier told the website.
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