By Robert Burgins, Jr.  

The 95th birthday celebration for Mama Epes (Ethel Eason Epes) was stellar this past weekend, as the Homewood Senior Center was decked out in pink and gold.  

What makes this birthday celebration even more fitting is the historical value it represents.  

Mama Epes has been a resident of the same neighborhood for several decades, and now the eldest member of her generation to stay within the vicinity of McClain, Smith, Broad, Jacob, & Tucker streets in Brighton, AL. 

Family and friends flew in from Michigan, Texas, Georgia and Virginia to help Mama E celebrate her living milestone. Throughout the celebration, Mama Epes shouted out her favorite phrase, “Won’t He (God) Do It!” which was followed by handclaps and laughter from the celebrating crowd. 

Mrs. Epes’ daughter Shirley informed us Mama E. had recently suffered a health setback, as she said “The doctors had a sense that Mom wouldn’t be here some months ago, but to everyone’s surprise it was as if she gained a new breath of life and we’re grateful to have our Mother with us and to celebrate her special day today.” 

The family went all out to make sure Mama had the time of her life, as they sung tributes through songs, speeches, spiritual dances and memorable episodes which exemplified how she’s been a great Mother, Grandmother, friend, neighbor and follower of the Faith with sincerity, nourishment and love throughout the years. 

Many of her grand/great grandchildren served tasty dishes that included grilled mixed vegetables, herb crusted round of eye, Yukon gold loaded potatoes, with tea and lemonade to wash it down nicely. 

Mayor of Brighton, Eddie Cooper and city councilman Jerome McMullin presented Mother Epes with a proclamation of recognition as an influential leader and resident within the community of Brighton, AL. Mayor Cooper stated, “Mama Epes always has treated me the same, whether I had a title or didn’t have a title. This piece of paper can only tell so much. Mrs. Epes is far more than what’s on this paper.” 

It was a festive day and a very inspiring moment within Alabama History. We salute Mama Epes, as well as her family and friends for exemplifying how a matriarch should be treated. 

Happy Birthday to all October born and Alabama residents.  

Let’s make the most of the rest of 2023 by following in Mama Epes’ footsteps as genuine friends and family members and learn to appreciate the goodness of God and be able to say as Mama E, “Won’t He Do It!”