Alberta Henderson (j. 3/1957; d. 2019) was a proud member of the Silver Souls who remained fiercely committed to All Souls despite her bitter disappointment with the way Rev. Dan Aldridge was treated. She gave unselfishly of her time until her health prevented her from taking on a more active role. Her most rewarding accomplishment was bringing congregants together around food: she was a co-planner of both the annual All Souls Crab Fest and the Silver Souls Spring Picnic in Rock Creek Park, and a co-host of elegant garden luncheons with Dorothy Bledsoe, Bonnie Seabron, and Betty Swanson (known as the four “Divas”) that were held every September with white linen table cloths and chairs wrapped in fabric.
Besides organizing picnics, crabfests, and lunches, Alberta was always involved in the music program. She sang in the All Souls Choir and with other local choirs, and even performed at the Vatican for Pope Paul II with the Senior Choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in 1988.
Some of us remember that she gave the church its chalice after learning the church didn’t have one. Several years later, at the death of her close friend Anne Bryant, Alberta led the entrance procession at Bryant’s memorial service holding the chalice she gave the church while the choir sang “Bright Morning Star Arising.”
Henderson had a first career as a pharmacist before joining the Department of Health, Welfare, and Education (now HHS), followed by an assignment for the White House, where she worked with a special assistant to then President Nixon on the formation of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention. She later moved to the Department of State to work on international drug prevention issues, and from there to a lobbying position with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. Henderson attended Ohio State University for two years before moving to DC and completed her bachelor’s degree in pharmacology from Howard University in 1947.