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  • Writer's pictureLocal History Collection

The Peters-Pearsall Partnership

As readers of our blog well know, The Pearsall Family collection has been a major source of research into the lives of Roslyn's Black community. One of the greatest resources in the collection is THIS IS MY LIFE, a comprehensive autobiography written by E. Arrell Pearsall, son of Eugene and Marcellena Pearsall. The following excerpt recalls Pearsall's experience working for William Peters, the father of Marion Peters who would become Mrs. Arrell Pearsall in 1941.

"In 1933, I started working for William Peters, the only all-around builder in Roslyn. He would hire a horse and scoop, dig the cellar, build the forms, mix and pour the cement, build the house, do the brick work, plaster the walls, do the tiling, painting, papering, make the stairs and cabinets. He did everything except the electric and plumbing. That is why the Roslyn Savings Bank called him in for advice concerning all the homes they had to foreclose. He advised them to repair and paint them, then try to rent or sell them. A closed house will deteriorate faster than an occupied one. They took his advice, hired him and that's when he hired me to help him. I worked for him from 1933 to 1941."

Documents from the Local History Collection reveal that a legal partnership was established between Arrell and William, as seen in the following certificate:

As we continue to celebrate Black History beyond the month of February, we invite you to explore new additions to The Pearsall Family digital exhibit and learn about our interactions with Arrell Pearsall's eldest son, Bryan Pearsall, who provided a wealth of family photos for our digital collection.


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