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{{Infobox person

| name = Viola Rowe Gross

| image =

| image_size =

| caption =

| birth_date = August 25, 1921

| birth_place = [[Danville, Kentucky]]

| death_date = February 20, 2012

| death_place = [[Versailles, Kentucky]]

| occupation = teacher, clubwoman and businesswoman, author

| spouse = Dr. Rodney T. Gross, Jr.

| parents = Robert Rowe, Sr. and Hortense Moore Rowe

| children = Rodney T. Gross III and Dr. Gregory Allen Gross

}}

'''Viola Denisa Rowe Gross''' (August 25, 1921 – February 20, 2012) from [[Danville, Kentucky]],
was a teacher, businesswoman, [[Woman's club movement|clubwoman]] and author. She
served on many local, state and national organizations and associations in support of African
American civil rights and human rights in general. She and her husband Dr. Rodney Gross, Jr.
were partners at Gross Veterinary Clinic, which opened in [[Grayson, Kentucky]] in 1962. They
were the first African-Americans to hold professional degrees in [[Carter County, Kentucky]].

==Family, community and early life==

Viola Rowe Gross was born to Robert Rowe Sr. and Hortense Moore Rowe in [[Danville,
Kentucky]]. She attended the segregated [http://www.danvilleschools.net/domain/186 Bate
High School] and then the historically black liberal arts college, [[Knoxville College]]. She later
transferred to [[Kentucky State University]] where she graduated with degrees in both English
and social studies. She married Rodney T. Gross Jr. and they had two children, Rodney T. Gross III
and Dr. Gregory Allen Gross.<ref name=obit>{{cite web | title = Viola Denisa Rowe Gross 1921-
2012 | publisher = Daily Independent (Ashland, KY) | date = 22 February 2012 | url =
http://dailyindependent.com/obituaries/x1058960548/Viola-Denisa-Rowe-Gross-1921-2012 |
accessdate = 16 March 2013}}</ref>

Gross was involved many organizations including the [[NAACP]], the State Veterinary Medical
Association and the United Methodist Women of the [[United Methodist Church]].<ref
name=Genealogy>{{cite book | last = Gross | first = Viola | title = Two Hundred Years of
Freedom: A Genealogy and History of the Doram, Rowe, Barbee and Allied Families | publisher
= Kinnersley Press | place = Georgetown, KY | year = 2003 | oclc = 53922040 }}</ref> She was an
active member of a local church in each town where she lived, including the St. John African
Methodist Episcopal Church in Frankfort.

==Career==

After graduating from [[Kentucky State University]], Gross moved to Missouri where she taught
for a year, then moved to Columbus, Ohio to live with her aunt. While in Ohio she met and
married Rodney T. Gross Jr. After he graduated from [[Ohio State University]] the two moved to
[[Tuskegee, Alabama]] where Dr. Gross would graduate from the [[Tuskegee Institute]] with a
doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1954. While living in Tuskegee, Viola worked at the
[[Veterans Health Administration|Veterans Administration Hospital]] as an assistant agent
cashier.<ref name=Genealogy /> The Veteran's Hospital was the fifth largest in the nation and
operated by only Blacks.<ref>{{cite web | title = Tuskegee 90th Anniversary | publisher = U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs | location = Washington D.C. | date = 14 February 2013 }}</ref>
Living in Tuskegee raised her awareness about the violent effects of segregation, and she learned
of the uprisings in the Deep South to promote equal rights such as [[Montgomery Bus Boycott|
boycotts of buses]], department stores, and groceries, which resulted in financial problems for
whites.

In 1957 the Grosses moved to [[Grayson, Kentucky]] where their children were born. They
opened Gross Veterinary Clinic in 1962. They were the first African-Americans in Carter County
to hold professional degrees. At the time, African-Americans were not allowed to teach in white
schools where the pay was more lucrative, so Viola ended her teaching career to become a
partner in her husband's practice. However, she remained active in school issues, serving as vice-
president of the Prichard Elementary PTA in the 1970s.<ref>{{cite web | title = Memorials book |
publisher = | url = http://obituaries29.articdesigns.com/index.php?a=memorials&id=175 |
date= 22 February 2012 | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}</ref> She was also active in the Bagby
Memorial Methodist Church in Grayson. She worked as an office manager in the Gross
Veterinary Clinic until 1992 when her husband died. In June 1995 the clinic was sold to Dr.
Donald Gibson who moved to Grayson from Maysville.<ref>{{cite web | title = Meet Our Team |
publisher = All Creatures Veterinary Care | location = Grayson, KY | url =
http://acvcgrayson.com/custom_content/c_187570_meet_our_team.html | accessdate = 16
March 2013 }}</ref>
==African American family genealogy==

After her husband's death, Gross moved to Frankfort and in 2003 Kinnersley Press published her
genealogical work in a book entitled, [http://www.worldcat.org/title/two-hundred-years-of-
freedom-a-genealogy-and-history-of-the-doram-rowe-barbee-and-allied-
families/oclc/053922040 Two Hundred Years of Freedom: A Genealogy and History of the
Doram, Rowe, Barbee and Allied Families]. The book includes a detailed history and lineage of
the Doram, Rowe and Barbee families. The book includes information such as careers, marriages,
owned property, and ledgers dating back over 200 years. An index of names and primary sources
such as photos, marriage certificates, and emancipation documents are included in the book.
There is also information regarding the restoration of the portraits of Dennis and Didamia
Dorham. [3] The portraits are very rare and are possibly the only pair of 19th century portraits
of an African-American couple in the U.S. still left intact. [5]

Since the height of the Jim Crow era, white women traced their lineage to prove their standing in
prestigious organizations such as the [[Daughters of the American Revolution]]. Black women's
organizations also emphasized genealogical research as a way to establish a respectable standing
in society. The [[Moynihan Report]] of 1965 blamed single-parent families in black communities
for their own poverty and violence-laden lives, voicing a common belief at the time of a race-
based pathology inherent to black families. The powerful impact of [[Alex Haley]]'s book and
subsequent television series, [[Roots: The Saga of an American Family|Roots]], in the 1970s and
the reentry of the story of [[Thomas Jefferson]]'s private life with the [[Jefferson-Hemings
controversy|Hemings family]] (now clinched with DNA evidence)<ref>{{cite web | title = Thomas
Jefferson and Sally Hemings: A Brief Account | publisher = The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.
| location = Charlottesville, VA | url = http://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-
slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-sally-hemings-brief-account | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}</ref>
fueled more work in black families' genealogies than ever before. Today there are many black
genealogical or historical societies to support this long neglected work.<ref>{{cite web | title =
International Black Genealogy Summit: Understanding Out Past to Grow Into the Future |
publisher = International Black Genealogy Summit | location = Salt Lake City, UT | date = 18–20
October 2012 | url = http://www.blackgenealogysummit.com/blacksocieties.html | accessdate =
16 March 2013}}</ref> Viola Rowe Gross stated that the purpose of her book was to provide
information about her family's history to future generations.

In 2005 she donated sixty-five original documents pertaining to the Doram-Rowe family to the
[[Kentucky Historical Society|Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History]] (KHS) in Frankfort,
Kentucky. The documents supported the historical significance to two extremely rare portraits of
a free African American couple from Kentucky,
[http://www.ket.org/artstoolkit/statedivided/gallery/resources/doram/doram_more.pdf Dennis
and Diademia Doram], painted by Patrick Henry Davenport before the Civil War. One of the
documents donated to the KHS were freedom papers dated 1836 that confirmed the
emancipation in 1814 of Diademia, her siblings and her mother, Cloe. Dennis Doram was a
respected landowner and businessman in Danville, with a rope factory and a hemp business as
well as running the Caldwell School for Women.<ref>{{cite web | title = Kentucky Historical
Society Provides Insight into Black History | publisher = Kentucky Historical Society | location =
Frankfort, KY | url =
http://migration.kentucky.gov/Newsroom/history/Black+History+Month.htm | date = 11 January
2006 | accessdate = 16 March 2013 }}</ref>

==Honors and awards==

She received the Frankfort/Franklin County Branch of the [[NAACP]] "Woman of the Year" award
the same year. After her death, the Kentucky General Assembly passed resolutions in the House
of Representatives (HB 12 RS BR 1988) <ref>{{cite web | title = A Resolution adjourning the
Senate in loving memory of Viola Denisa Rowe Gross | publisher = Kentucky Legislative Research
Commission | location = Frankfort, KY | url = http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/12rs/HR181/bill.doc
| date = 28 February 2012 | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}</ref> and in the Senate (12 RS BR
2019) <ref>{{cite web | title = A Resolution adjourning the Kentucky House of Representatives in
loving memory and honor of Viola Denisa Rowe Gross | publisher = Kentucky Legislative
Research Commission | location = Frankfort, KY | url =
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/12RS/SR189/bill.doc | date = 28 February 2012 | accessdate = 16
March 2013}}</ref> on February 28, 2012, in her honor.

==Death==

Toward the end of her life, she lived in Frankfort near her son Rodney T. Gross III and enjoyed her
three grandchildren, a great-grandson, and a great many others in her extended
family.<ref>{{cite web | title = Obituary: Viola Gross | publisher = Central Kentucky News | date
= 22 February 2012 | url = http://articles.centralkynews.com/2012-02-
22/amnews/31089225_1_office-manager-visitation-guestbook | accessdate = 16 March
2013}}</ref> She died at the age of 90 in the Taylor Manor Nursing Home on February 20, 2012,
in Versailles.<ref>{{cite web | title = Gross | publisher= The Woodford Sun | location = Versailles,
KY | url = http://www.woodfordsun.com/obits/February%2023%202012.htm | date = 23
February 2012 | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}</ref>

==References==

{{reflist}}
;Additional resources

*{{cite web | title = African American Farmers Oral History Project | series = Family Farms of
Kentucky Oral History Collection | publisher = Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of
Kentucky Libraries | location = Lexington, KY | url =
http://www.kentuckyoralhistory.org/series/18819/african-american-farmers-oral-history-project
| accessdate = 19 March 2013}}

* Hewlett, Jennifer. "Grayson Veterinarian Rodney Gross, Known for Making House Calls, Dies."
Lexington Herald-Leader. 23 December 1992.

*"Veterinarian Looks Back on His 34-year Career, Grayson Man One of Few Blacks in Field."
Lexington Herald-Leader. 20 August 1991.

*Ward, Karla. "Women's clubs in Kentucky played key role in lives of black women." Lexington
Herald-Leader. 27 February 2013.

*{{cite web | title = African American Family History Association (AAFHA) | publisher = Robert W.
Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center | location = Atlanta, GA | url =
http://www.auctr.edu/findingaway/AAFHA.asp | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}

* {{cite web | title = African American Heritage | publisher = The U.S. National Archives and
Records Administration | location = Washington D.C. | url =
https://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/index.html | accessdate = 16 March
2013}}

*{{cite web | title = African American Research | publisher = Center for Family History and
Genealogy, Brigham Young University | location = Provo, UT | url =
https://familyhistory.byu.edu/Pages/africa.aspx | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}

*{{cite web | last = Hasson | first = Judi | title = Discover Your African American Roots | publisher
= AARP | date = 3 June 2011 | url = http://www.aarp.org/relationships/genealogy/info-06-
2011/research-african-american-ancestry.html | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}

==External links==

*{{cite web | last = Talbott | first = Tim | title = Personality Spotlight: Dennis and Diademia
Doram | publisher = Kentucky Historical Society | location = Frankfort | date = 19 May 2009 |
url = http://randomthoughtsonhistory.blogspot.com/2009/05/personality-spotlight-dennis-
and.html | accessdate = 16 March 2013}}

{{DEFAULTSORT:Gross, Viola Rowe}}


[[Category:1921 births]]

[[Category:African-American genealogy]]

[[Category:2012 deaths]]

[[Category:American schoolteachers]]

[[Category:Writers from Danville, Kentucky]]

[[Category:People from Grayson, Kentucky]]

[[Category:Kentucky women writers]]

[[Category:Kentucky women in education]]

[[Category:Kentucky women activists]]