She chose the baby and converted to Catholicism, relying on her faith to rise to the challenges of single parenthood.
Her son Phil is now married and the father of 6, but he still remembers vividly the racism he experienced on his very first day at parish school where he was the only Black male in attendance.
Both he and his mother earned Ivy League degrees. Phil and his wife Kirra are both successful entrepreneurs but still, they say being Black in America is tiring.
They describe a persistent pressure for perfection and a sense that, as Black Americans, they're not allowed to make mistakes.