Dr. Beverly Guillory Andry is a member of the Zawadi Fund in New Orleans with deep roots in Louisiana. She is a professor of Entrepreneurship at Xavier University, and serves as a board member of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation.
Who are and what do you know about your ancestors?
The Guillory family of Louisiana can trace their ancestry to a couple whose marriage is recorded in Mobile Alabama Church Archives on August 20, 1739. Gregoire Guillory, a resident of Dauphine Island at that time, was a son of Francois Guillory of Montreal and Jeanne Monfort of Belle Isle en Mer, Diocese of Vannes, France. His bride, Marie Jeanne Lacase, Daughter of Jean Lacase and Marie Ann Fourche, had been born in Mobile on March 20, 1726. To this union, eight children were born and Gregoire moved with his family to the Opelousas, Louisiana area. Gregoire Guillory also had another family with one of his slaves named Margarita. In 1770, Gregoire had the school master without any legal title, draw up a simple note granting freedom to Margarita, and her four children. However, Gregoire did not have the wherewithal to discharge the maternal portion of the ownership rights. After Gregoire’s death, Margarita filed suit (Margarita, a free Negress vs. the Guillory heirs), to compel them to declare her children free. The suit was brought to New Orleans before the Court of the Alcaide. It was a direct action by Marguerite, an ex slave of Gregoire Guillory, against the heirs of both, all residents of Opelousas, to recover the children of the ex slave, on the ground that the plaintiff had lawfully been emancipated by Guillory and that her children were being illegally held in slavery by Guillory’s heirs. The gist of the final act is that Margarita Guillory, a free negress, and her four mulatto children, had to pay the Guillory heirs 600 pesos, in conformity to and under the following conditions: 150 pesos which had to be counted as diminished by the personal labors of her son, Juan Bautista, during two years and two months he had to remain in the service of Juan Guillory (Gregorie Guillory’s son), and 150 pesos that had to be paid in cash, 50 pesos that had be paid within three months, and the remaining 250 pesos within two years. As soon as the amount was paid, Margarita Guillory heirs (Joseph, Maria, Juan Bautista, and Catalina) were given their freedom. Joseph is my descendent. This act was dated New Orleans, April 5, 1783.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. My father was the godfather of the community. During that time, I watched as he helped people who could not read or write, fill out paper work or income taxes. Our house was always busy with people that needed help and I watched him provide that service to so many free of charge.
During your childhood, how were you exposed to cultures of giving back?
I have always worked in the community, giving time and energy trying to make a difference. The giving circle helps to better connect with the community and causes I care about and also have the pleasure of participating with a network of people who share interests and values.
How has your giving changed by being in a giving circle?
Our giving circle is more inclined to support women, ethnic and minority groups, and organizations that support or promote arts, culture, or ethnic awareness. This is where we see the greatest need in the New Orleans community and believe that our contribution can make a difference addressing that particular need.
How do race and culture influence giving, in your opinion?
Being able to learn more about philanthropy – to be able to determine where and how money in the giving circle can be distributed to address specific community needs.
What surprised you about being a philanthropist?
Philanthropy has become more central focus in my life and has made me more thoughtful about the role of philanthropy.
Do you have a will?
Yes, I have a will.
What issues most concern you? Why?
Data shows that the majority of Black males in New Orleans, attend failing and unsafe schools, live in neighborhoods where witnessing violence and crime has become a regular occurrence and a “normalized” part of growing up and surviving in their neighborhoods. Often void of positive male role models or nurturing individuals in a boy’s life are accompanied by a lack of investment, care and opportunities by the specific public, community and governmental service agencies whose primary role and responsibility – is to serve this population. And the culmination of this factual history is that:
- Literally 50% of all Black males have been, are, or will be incarcerated over the course of their life;
- Another 50% will grow up with many of their male relatives cycling in and out of prison and before they reach their 20th birthday — each will lose at least one immediate male family member to homicide.
What is 1 request and 1 offering that you have for your community?
One request for my community would be for our giving circle to be able to assist programs designed help young black males in New Orleans.
What is your greatest hope for humanity?
My greatest hope for humanity would be that people, that have the resources or power, recognize when they can make a difference in someone’s life, and that they do so without a second thought!