Father Devine Hotel

by Phyllis Scott Ajisafe


I lived in the Riviera Hotel from 1971-1974.

I thank God for that hotel every day. It housed me and fed me when I had little means of income. I would start a new job as English teacher in the Newark Public Schools...however, I probably would not be paid for a month. I came from Tennessee to New Jersey because of relatives that lived in Newark; however, none had room for me.

I was fresh out of college. I lived at Father Divine's at $5.00 a week and ate my meals in its small cafe at .25 a meal. I shared a room with a middle-aged woman with whom I remained friends until her death.

I went on to live in several different rooms including a private room for only $10 a week. Of course, I don't have to tell you what a bargain that was!

So, I was safe and sheltered until I learned my way around New Jersey. In years time, I moved into my own apartment in Irvington.

I never forgot those I left behind, nor the wisdom imported by the elders that had such interesting stories to tell.


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