Nashville, TN (TN Tribute)—Anna Pearl Powell Henderson entered into eternal rest on November 10, 2021. She was born November 27, 1927 in Tabor, Texas, to Annie Robinson Powell and Johnny Powell. After losing both her parents at a young age, she was reared in Bryan, Texas, by her mother’s sister, Alberta “Birdie” Woods Nevels.
Upon graduation from high school, she entered Prairie View A&M College, where she met her future husband, Vivian Wilson Henderson, a business professor. They married in Bristol, Virginia, on September 8, 1949. The following year, she accompanied her husband to the University of Iowa, where they would reside for the next three years while he pursued his Ph.D. in economics.
Anna and Vivian eventually arrived at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where Vivian began a 14-year tenure as an esteemed professor and renowned economist, and Anna settled into life as a faculty wife and mother. Three children—Wyonella, Dwight and David—were born in Nashville. A fourth child, Kimberly, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, during Vivian’s research sabbatical at North Carolina State University.
Following a brief return to Fisk, Anna and Vivian moved their family to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1965 when he became the 18th president of Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University). She embraced the role of First Lady, and enjoyed hosting students, faculty, trustees and donors in their home during the 10 years they served Clark together.
Anna and Vivian traveled throughout the U.S. as part of his appointments and responsibilities with various academic, civic and social justice organizations. A memorable highlight for her was being invited to and attending a White House dinner in recognition of Vivian’s role as one of President Lyndon Johnson’s advisors for his War on Poverty policy initiatives. They also traveled abroad on many occasions—Anna loved visiting other countries and experiencing the different sights, sounds and foods of other places and cultures.
After Vivian’s untimely death, she filled her life with more world travel and social and civic opportunities. She was an ardent member of the Circle-Lets, Inc., the T-Bobs and Raggedy Ann bridge clubs, and Mo-So-Lit and Chautauqua Circle literary clubs to name a few. She also was a faithful member of Warren Memorial United Methodist Church for 56 years. In recent years, she enjoyed potluck dinners and trips with her senior group the Keen Agers, and relished squashing the competition on Spades night with her neighbors at Parkland Manor senior residence.
Anna Henderson lived a life of many different roads, unafraid to move in new directions when the opportunity arose. She was a source of strength, inspiration, fun and friendship to her family and communities. Those who knew her well will remember her graciousness, candor and generosity. She will be greatly missed by her children Wyonella Henderson-Greene, Dwight Henderson, Sr., David Henderson (Diane Martin Henderson) and Kimberly Henderson; grandchildren Dwight Henderson, Jr., Silas Greene, Richmond Greene and Candace Henderson; and great-grandchild, Zavion Henderson, as well as a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and admiring friends.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, 1500 Norman Drive, College Park, GA 30349. COVID-19 protocols require all attendees to be masked throughout the service and while on the church premises.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her memory to the Vivian Wilson Henderson Endowed Scholarship at Clark Atlanta University. Checks should be made out to the Vivian Wilson Henderson Endowed Scholarship Fund and sent to the Office of Institutional Advancement, Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P. Brawley Drive, SW, Atlanta, GA 30314.