Obituary of Nina Juanita Brathwaite
NINA JUANITA (NÉE MOORE) BRATHWAITE peacefully passed away on December 29, 2021, at her daughter's home in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Nina was born on November 23, 1931, in Waynesville, NC to Ruth Inez (née Gentry) and Fred Garland Moore. She was the middle child of thirteen children born to this union. In 1956, she met and married Charles Evans (Sinclair) Brathwaite, Sr. of Atlantic City, NJ, proudly raised four children and celebrated sixty-one years of marriage until his death in 2018.
Predeceased by her husband; parents; siblings, Catherine Moore Harrison, Paul Moore, Mary Moore Cox, Louis Moore, Joanne Moore, and James Moore, all formerly of Waynesville, NC; and grandson, Jelani-Bem Garrett II of Egg Harbor Township, NJ.
At an early age, Nina was christened at Jones Temple Church in Waynesville, NC. She was a proud "Mountaineer" having grown up on a farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She was a "busy tomboy," who always helped her father on the farm, especially with their beloved horses. She was an avid archer, winning many local and regional awards. Nina attended elementary school at the Pigeon Street School in Waynesville, NC until 9th grade, then Allen's High School, a private girl's school in Asheville, NC.
Committed to her parents' values, "It takes a village to raise a child," she agreed to relocate to Atlantic City in 1949 to assist her brother Paul's wife with raising their children during his tour in World War II. She continued her secondary education at Pleasantville High School (PHS) and was affectionately called "Doll Face" by her classmates. She graduated from PHS as part of the largest class ever in 1950 and participated in the Dramatics and Sewing clubs while there. Her high school ambition of becoming a nurse was never realized; however, the love, care, and time she poured into her family and friends reflected her elevated nature to nurture others.
Her relocation to the North exposed her to music, arts, northern Black culture, and she developed a love and appreciation for jazz music that dominated Black music experiences during that time. She and her friends Helen Shumate Tribble and Lucille Peake were patrons of several famed Black clubs. These included Club Harlem, Daddy Lou's, Fuller's, High Hat, Herman's, Big C's, Clock Bar, and Dreamland Café, a jazz club located in Lawnside, NJ--the first incorporated African-American town north of the Mason-Dixon line. Through her girls' nights out and attending jazz performance circuits, she met Charles "Chuck" Brathwaite, a musical drummer, and married him in 1956.
"Fuzzy," as she was affectionately known by her in-laws due wearing an Afro hairstyle, immediately became involved in religious, educational, and political endeavors in Atlantic City. She was the Chair of Hamilton Memorial Methodist Church's Flower Club, represented New Jersey Avenue School in Atlantic City as a member of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, more familiarly known as the PTA, and after becoming a Boy Scout in 1965, she was inducted and registered as a Den Mother for Pack 12 of the Atlantic City Chapter of Boy Scouts of America.
Nina's southern upbringing and predilection for savory and delectable food led her to a career as a waitress at ¬¬Charlie Zaberer's Restaurant on the Black Horse Pike in the McKee City section of Egg Harbor Township, NJ during the mid-1960s. Beginning in 1973, Nina either chaired or co-chaired a newly initiated annual show and dance by Zaberers' restaurant employees to benefit the Atlantic County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. Under her leadership, employees raised in excess of $250,000. Continually trying to break out of the 190 Pin Club, she reveled in her weekly participation in the Zaberettes Bowling League at Verona Lanes with Stella Ames, Florence Elder, Janie Florence, Carmen Littlejohn, Wanda Owens, Thelma Scott, Sandy Segal, Gloria Struse, Barbara Taliaferro, Sharon Tweedle, and Rosalind Vice. She was a member of the New Jersey State Women's Bowling Association and the Woman's International Bowling Congress. Understanding the importance of growing and supporting Black-owned businesses in Atlantic City, she spearheaded mobilizing Zaberer's employees to fund the seed money for Sam Hunter to purchase and operate the Bellport Inn in Venice Park, Atlantic City, NJ in 1970.
As a downturn in dining at local establishments spread in the late 1970s, Nina became a Field Trainer for ACN (All Communications Network), Inc. providing telecommunications, energy, and merchant services to businesses. Then she turned her sights to being an entrepreneur and was a wholesale/retail distributor of specialty giftware merchandise through her business, Impress.
The introduction of the casino industry in Atlantic City offered new and exciting opportunities and Nina became a dealer in 1979 at Bally's Park Place, after entering dealer school to secure licensing to deal blackjack. Within a few short years, she was licensed to deal every table or card game offered by any Atlantic City casino. She then worked for every property in the Marina District of Atlantic City, which lastly included Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, from where she retired. She mentored a multitude of new dealers and cultivated close relationships with innumerable management and employees as both a dealer and floor person. Nina affectionately called many of them "her babies" and would often travel, attend events, and meet up with them for lunch or dinner. She has known many since her Castle and Marina beginning in 1985 and was regularly in the company of Wanda Ashley, Debbie Block, Janet Briggs, Donnie Browne, Sarah Browne, Elaine and Tony Catalfano, Karen Lew, Karen Meadows, Liz Previti, and Alonzo Tennant.
Nina was very active in local politics and the Democratic Party. She often volunteered to work the polls and on the campaigns of several former Atlantic City and Atlantic County politicians. She was a member of the NAACP and a former member of 101 Women Plus.
She was an avid supporter and volunteer for the Schultz-Hill Foundation's many programs, including Outreach to Others, the Senior Musical Theater Program Concert Series, and the fundraising efforts of the Atlantic City Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association, which provides scholarships and grants to benefit Atlantic City teachers. She enjoyed participating in the foundation's cultural, art, and musical events and excitedly recruited other seniors to do the same.
She began traveling internationally in 1968 while pregnant with her daughter Brenda. Her travels spanned all US states except five, nearly sixty countries, and all continents, except for Antarctica and Australia. She delighted in immersing herself in other cultures and different ways of living while discovering both with family and her traveling companions Wendy Freeman, Doreen Lucas, Gail Sanders, LaKeta Timberlake, and Donna Townsend.
Nina made "broken" look beautiful and "strong" look invincible. She was her family's "Biggest Cheerleader." Her beautiful memories will forever saturate her family members' hearts: children, Charles Brathwaite, Jr., Fredrick Brathwaite, Sr., Brenda Brathwaite, and Nina Garrett (Jelani); stepsons, Khalil Karim and Mark Cheatham (Ann Marie); grandchildren, Lalita Brathwaite, Aisha Brathwaite, Michael Roseboro, Jillian Brathwaite, Charles Brathwaite III, Fredrick Brathwaite, Jr., Shakuwra Garrett, Brea Brathwaite, Nabiya Garrett, Ayanna Garrett, and Abena Garrett; step grandchildren, Antoinette Pitts, Jameelah Beasley, and Jacob Roseboro; great grandchildren, Eniyah Sandoz, Najé Sandoz, Enyjé Sandoz, Durwood Pinkett III, Yasir Brathwaite, Ajani Pinkett, Samara Roseboro, Meccah Mollineaux, Amari Pinkett, Inara Pinkett, Alexavier Roseboro, Ajala Pinkett, Jamal Gwaltney, Aubrey Brathwaite, and Nzuri Collier; step great grandchildren, Amia Hathaway, Nysir Hathway, Maiya Green, Da'Karion Buggs, Asai Green; great-great-grandchildren, Titan Brathwaite and Askai Sandoz; siblings, Thelma Gibbs (Hilliard, Sr.), Ruth Virginia Oats, Brenda Wallace, Carolyn Moore, and Charles Moore (Alice); special niece, Catherine Cox; Ms. Linda Henry, an accomplice always ensuring that Nina was spoiled every day and in every way; and an infinite number of other loving family and friends.
A visitation will be 9AM-11AM, Friday, January 21, 2022, Faith Baptist Church, 829 Tilton Road, Pleasantville, NJ. Funeral services are private. Arrangements entrusted to Greenidge Funeral Homes, Inc., where condolences may be left at www.greenidgefuneralhomes.com
The family invite all who loved her to attend a public celebration of life at a later date to be announced. Please send all expressions of sympathy to:
The Brathwaite Family
503 North Connecticut Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401