A dream deferred doesn’t necessarily mean a dream denied, even if it takes seven decades to come true.
In 1952, Martha and Lehman Tucker became man and wife. Although the marriage was a true romance, the wedding was missing one element the bride would have dearly loved to have—a traditional white lace wedding gown.
But in those days, Martha was unable to make the purchase in the racially segregated bridal shops of Birmingham, Alabama.
For years, Martha kept those memories to herself, but recently the 94-year-old revealed her long-held hopes to her granddaughter, Angela Strozier.
Knowing the sacrifices the Black women of Martha’s generation faced day-to-day—being denied many of life’s customs, courtesies, and basic rights that others simply took for granted—Strozier decided it was time to make her grandmother’s wedding dress wish come true.
This past July, after a fortifying brunch and a preparatory makeup session, the bridal party made their way to David’s Bridal in Hoover, Alabama, where the wedding gown Martha had always dreamed of—complete with full-length lace sleeves, matching veil, and even a cheeky, charming thigh-high lace garter—awaited her.
“When I first put on that dress, I was just so very excited,” Martha told CNN. “It was like I was getting married all over again. When I saw myself in the mirror, I was shocked. I said to myself, ‘Who is that?’ I can’t even explain the feeling I got seeing myself in the wedding dress.”
“Happy doesn’t really paint the picture of how this made me feel,” Strozier added. “My grandma has always been a giver, so to be able to finally give her an experience so dear to her was priceless. Happy is an understatement.”
Sadly, Lehman Tucker passed away in 1975. On the day she married him, Martha promised herself that one day, she’d wear the dress worthy of those vows.
Although it took her 70 years, it’s a promise she kept—and if there is an afterlife, we’re sure her beloved groom was smiling down on his beautiful bride when she finally did.