Taylor came from good stock. Her father was a prideful man, determined to take care of his family. But, when Taylor was only 12 years old, two white men killed her father after he bragged that he wouldn’t need to borrow money from a white man’s bank to plant his crops. The killers – the banker and the sheriff –warned her grandfather and mother that if anyone tried to hire an attorney, they would burn the family’s farm and force them to leave Tennessee.
Taylor had to overcome a lot of anger, but at the age of 17, she moved north with her husband in search of jobs. After giving birth to eight children, Taylor returned to school at the age of 37 to study nursing, despite the fact that the administrator of the nursing program told her that she would never be able to complete a degree with eight children, because she could only miss three days of class. Proving the administrator wrong, Taylor finished the program, missing only one hour! And she later went back to complete her Registered Nurses (R.N.) degree.
Taylor took a job at a large nursing home facility because she wanted to help poor people, but she was overwhelmed by the fact that care was often governed by costs and that those who most needed care, were unable to afford it. That’s when, at her husband’s urging, she got the notion to open her own health care facility.
Founded in 1987 and located in Milwaukee’s central city, Family House is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to providing a comfortable home to homeless senior citizens and disabled adults where they are given Christian love, respect, and a sense of dignity. The ministry provides 24-hour long-term care for 58 senior adults.
Taylor has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Nurses Association and the AARP Impact Award. Her office is a testament to her legacy. There’s a picture of her with Oprah Winfrey, who invited Taylor to appear on her show and later donated office equipment to Family House, while another picture shows her with Al Roker when “Today” visited Family House; he later sent kitchen appliances and televisions to Family House. And there’s the picture of her greeting President George W. Bush as he stepped off Air Force One in Milwaukee. Taylor was among 10 people honored in Washington, D.C., in 1999 with America’s Award, created to honor unsung American heroes.
Taylor has come a long way from her painful past in Tennessee and managed to transform her pain into gain for residents of Milwaukee.