When Martha Tucker got married in 1952, it was without the traditional white wedding gown she really wanted. A Black woman living under Jim Crow laws in Birmingham, Ala., Tucker wasn’t allowed to try on clothes in white-owned stores—and there were no Black-owned bridal stores in the city, per the Washington Post. At age 94, Tucker was still bothered by that fact. “I’ve always wanted to wear a wedding dress,” she whispered while watching a wedding scene in her favorite movie, Coming to America, earlier this month, per AL.com. The comment was overheard by granddaughter Angela Strozier, who knew about the racism her grandparents faced but was still shocked by the reason behind her grandmother’s denied dream. “I wanted her to understand that a dream deferred didn’t have to be a dream denied,” she tells the Post.
Two days later, Strozier and family members whisked the great-great-grandmother to David’s Bridal in Hoover, where she picked out her dream dress—an embroidered gown with long sleeves decorated in lace. “When she walked out of the room and saw herself in the mirror, she said, ‘Oh, look at me,'” Strozier tells AL.com. “One of the other brides that was in there started crying.” “I felt like I was getting married,” Tucker tells the outlet. “I didn’t want to take [the dress] off, but I knew I had to.” Tucker—who wed the love of her life in her pastor’s home, wearing a navy blue dress borrowed from a family she was working for—has no plans to marry again, though her husband, Lehman Tucker Sr., died in 1975. But “I can’t even express how special it was,” she tells AL.com. “I’ve been wanting to do that a long time.” And “I looked good.” (Read more uplifting news stories.)