Broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien is mourning the loss of her mother, Estela, just 40 days after her father Edward’s death.
O’Brien, 52, tweeted heartfelt throwback photos of her late mom while reflecting on her life and legacy. “She was a pretty remarkable lady. An immigrant from Cuba, she lived with the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore during college,” she captioned a picture on Monday, March 18, of her mother staying at the Catholic institute for women of color.
The Matter of Fact host noted that Estela “was sad about leaving Cuba,” but “hated” how former leader Fidel Castro had “destroyed her country.” She ultimately moved to America to receive an education, falling in love with scientist Edward O’Brien.
“She’d go on to marry my dad (mixed race marriages were illegal in Maryland in 1959). The year their sixth child (my little brother) was born the US Supreme Court would overturn the ban on interracial marriage,” the former CNN anchor captioned a sweet picture of herself as a baby with her parents. “She learned two more languages fluently — English and French, and became an educator. She had a reputation for being super-strict, which made me very popular (not!) since she taught at my high school.”
O’Brien praised her mother and father for valuing education and sending all six of their children to college and many to graduate school. “[My mom] was pretty awesome. But mostly I wish lots of young, working women had access to her wisdom,” the Today reporter added before sharing some of her mom’s most inspiring life lessons: “‘Everyone gets the same 24 hours. Decide how you spend yours.’ ‘Take 24 hours to sit in bed and cry.. then stop complaining and make a list and plan your comeback.’”
The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities author also posted a heartwarming story about her mother’s advocacy work. “She put this ad in our local paper when I was a kid — to protest disciplinary housing in our town,” O’Brien wrote alongside a news clipping fighting for civil rights. “We were the only black family in our neighborhood, so it didn’t win her a lot of friends.”
O’Brien then shared one final throwback photo of her mother, writing, “She was pretty great. Miss you, Mami.”
The TV host’s father died in February at the age of 85. “He was a generous and kind human being — and a quiet force fighting for civil rights,” she tweeted after his passing. “Mostly I feel sorry for people who didn’t get to know my dad. He was the greatest human being. Love you, Dad. Rest In Power.”
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