Winifred Maude Brown was born at home at 1080 Tremont St. in Boston, MA on January 1st, 1926 to the late Winfield Price, a Cherokee Indian from Alabama and Ida Gobern-Price of Port Maria, Jamaica. Winifred became affectionately known as “Wini.”
Wini was the youngest of five children. Wini was preceded in death by her four siblings, sisters; Lucy Cordice, Thelma Holmes, Eleanor Price, and brother, George Price.
Wini married her first love the late Walter Nicholas Brown at the age of 16. She gave birth to her first child Adrienne V. Brown (Shepherd).
In 1944, at the young age of 18, Wini and Walter were one of the first black families to buy a home in the all Jewish community in Roxbury referred to as “Up on the hill.” Wini resided there for more than seventy years and used her home to celebrate her creativity. Wini had a God-given talent for painting even though she never took a class. Wini took pride in decorating both the inside and outside of her homes. She completed a beautiful three-dimensional paper–mache nature scene on her kitchen wall and went on to create over 20 paper-mache paintings of various landscapes.
Wini and Walter shared 10 years of marriage until their divorce.
Wini was known to be a generous and caring person, so when told that our black soldiers from WWII were in need of a lift, she formed a dance group “The Arabic Five.” Wini choreographed and designed their costumes and the group went on to perform for troops at Ft. Devens and Grenier Airforce. While performing at The Little Dixie, a tap dancer named Willie Spencer saw Wini and asked her to replace his injured partner. Together they formed an act called “Wini and Willie: The Aristocrats of Rhythm.” They took their act on the road and traveled up and down the East Coast’s “Chitlin’ Circuit” and Canada, even gracing the stage of the famed Apollo Theatre.
Wini appeared with and knew all the great headliners of that time; Sammy Davis Jr., Diahann Carroll, Lena Horne, Redd Foxx, Duke Ellington, Charlie “Bird” Parker, Dorothy Dandridge and frequently worked with “Hines, Hines & Dad” a dance trio of the young Hines Brothers appearing with their father. She often entertained company in her home “after hours” when the vibrant Boston nightlife of the time was over and many people, including a young “Detroit Red,” who would later become Malcolm X, were guests.
In 1961, Wini gave birth to her second daughter, Beverly Nickerson, during her twenty-year relationship with William Nickerson. Wini spent her summers at her second home on Martha’s Vineyard and that’s where she picked up another passion, designing jewelry out of seashells.
Wini was always fashionably dressed for every occasion. She often wore original designs by her sister Lucy Cordice and Gus Bowen (the fashion team of “Gus & Lucy”) to many plays, musicals and jazz concerts.
When Wini’s health started deteriorating and she could no longer care for herself, her grandson Jamarhl took care of her for several years, cooking her meals and giving her medication, until she went into a nursing home.
Winifred was a devoted daughter, and took care of her mother “Mumma.” Wini was a wonderful mother. She leaves behind her two daughters Adrienne Shepherd, Beverly L. Nickerson, grandchildren Jamarhl Crawford, Dante Baker, Noa Carter, great-granddaughters Jemma Crawford and Lila Carter, her niece Dolores DaLomba and sons Mark, Don, Aaron and son-in-law Turhan Shepherd. As well as other friends and family.
2 Replies to “Wini’s Story”
I’ve been in Ms. Brown’s presence often due to my relationship with her daughter Adrienne. I had no idea of her extraordinary life until reading about and hearing about her from others who knew her well. May she rest in peace and those who miss her be comforted by her legacy. God Bless.
I knew Wini for many, many years, and enjoyed always enjoyed being in her sweet lovely presence. I’ll always miss her.