Molly Motts was born in Delta, Louisiana, a tiny hamlet at the Louisiana-Mississippi border, just across the river from Vicksburg. Because of a difficult home life, she often dreamed of getting out of Delta. Vicksburg just across the river looked like a dream garden to her and she thought she’d do anything to get there. She did: marrying Vernon Raney, nearly twice her age, but a good husband to her.
They had three children, Lonnie, Ronnie and Ginny. Molly was an ambitious girl and decided early on to piggy-back a drug distribution business onto Vernon’s already prospering bootlegging enterprise. After all, bootleg whiskey was going out of style since by the mid-‘60s, liquor by the drink was legal and there was little demand for bootleg whiskey except out of nostalgia.
Molly got her oldest son, Lonnie elected sheriff as a way to offer protection for her and her second son, Ronnie, to operate the drug business with little interference from law enforcement. This they did and quickly established a distribution network of dealers from Natchez to Memphis.
Molly lived to see both of her sons die violent deaths: Ronnie was murdered by his wife, Louanne Borden, and Lonnie was killed in a violent stand-off with DEA agents. As the drug network wound down, Molly grew into her role as grandmother to Ginny’s children, living a quiet life in Vicksburg.
Mildred liked to cook and crochet and was happy as a homemaker. One of her favorite dishes to prepare was baked cheese grits which she would serve with breaded pork chops and homemade rolls.
She and Leon were married in 1963 shortly before Leon was shipped off to Vietnam. When Leon returned from his tour of service they settled down in Jackson, Mississippi where Leon worked as a welder and they raised their only son, Levi, who was born in 1973.
However, Leon only lived another two years, dying in 1975, and Levi had no memories of his father. To help make ends meet Mildred began to sell items from her home, establishing a thrift store at her residence.
Mildred passed away in 2014 after suffering a stroke.
Delta is a village in Madison Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 239 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Tallulah Micropolitan Statistical Area.
As the birthplace of Madam C.J. Walker, the first African-American woman to become a millionaire by her own business achievements, it has been included as one of 26 featured sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.