By Sandy Arpen
“Miss Aggie” Day is celebrated every spring to honor Agnes Jones, Mandarin’s postmistress from 1928 – 1963, and to honor a resident who has contributed to the Mandarin community in the areas of business, civic, educational or charitable accomplishment.
On April 23, Alberta Yvonne Anderson Monroe became the 2022 recipient of the Miss Aggie Award. She is the daughter of Walter and Estelle Anderson and wife of David Monroe and has served the community her entire life. Following in her grandmother Lena Anderson’s footsteps, she has been very involved with the nonprofit Harriet Beecher Stowe Community Center, serving for many years in various roles, currently as chairperson. The property of this center on the corner of San Jose Boulevard and Orange Picker Road was given to Mandarin’s Black community by philanthropist Eartha White in 1938. The center hosted BBQs, parties, dances, contests, special events, a well baby clinic and music lessons over the years — and it continues to serve as a gathering place for a variety of community happenings and as rental space for special occasions and classes.
Monroe also serves on the Lofton Cemetery Association, assisting families during their time of grieving, and is recently retired from the position of comptroller of one of Mandarin’s historic African-American churches, Hopewell Church, formerly First Baptist Church of Mandarin, founded in the late 1800s.
Many recall Monroe and her family members’ efforts to change the name of the ballpark on Orange Picker Road to honor her father, Walter Anderson. Mr. Anderson, a highly respected Mandarin resident, donated the park’s land to the county so the Black citizens of Mandarin would have a place to play baseball during the time of segregation. In 2019, the park was renamed Walter Anderson Memorial Park. This park is the first public place in Mandarin to be named for one of our Black residents.
Monroe, also a keeper of Mandarin’s Black history, has also been a tremendous help to the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society during the development of the “Untold Stories of Black Mandarin” exhibit, which will be open to the public in the future.
Congratulations to Yvonne Monroe! Past recipients, since 2003, include: Kate Monson, Karen Roumillat, Rhonda Reese, Mary Ann Southwell, Mary Kaminski, Bonnie McNulty, Jane Cooksey, Susan Earnhart, Alice Stanley, Betty Wolfe, Virginia Barker, Emily Lisska, Linda Levin, Sandy Arpen, Sarah Bailey, Susie Scott, Donald Bowden, Lynn Cuda, Sam Folds, Wanda Bosworth, and Orren “Bo” Phillips.
Sandy Arpen is a volunteer with the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society. The Mandarin Museum is located at 11964 Mandarin Road in Walter Jones Historical Park. Visit www.mandarinmusem.net for more information about Mandarin’s history and Mandarin Museum & Historical Society information.
Photo courtesy Sandy Arpen
Yvonne Monroe, the 2022 Miss Aggie Award recipient.