Effie Ashe grew up in Henderson, North Carolina and experienced both segregated neighborhoods and schools. She moved with her family to Washington, D.C. during World War II and then to Newport News, Virginia, with her husband, Wilbert.
Ashe related several stories of her children’s experiences with racism and integration as well as her own memories of segregated public facilities. Ashe worked in civil service for thirty-two years before being elected to the Newport News School Board. In 2000, she became the first African-American woman to chair the board.
Ashe passed away July 7. 2014 and, although she did not believe that racism was dead, she was hopeful for the future of diversity. Her work in the community reflected that hope she posessed throughout her life.