This article was originally published in Prison Fellowship’s Inside Journal.
Pauline Rogers’ first experience in a court room was testifying about her father’s murder. Then just 9 years old, Pauline had watched her mother shoot him.
“I helped her put him in the car,” she admits. “He died en route to the hospital.”
The court ruled it a case of self-defense, and Pauline’ mother wasn’t convicted.
After that, “my mother became a workaholic … she was never around,” Pauline explains. And as a young girl growing up on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, Pauline began taking responsibility for her 10 younger siblings.
They were so poor, she explains, that she would look in the newspaper to find out which churches were having funerals. She would dress up her siblings and take them to the church, where they would always find a meal.
It wasn’t long before she began stealing simple things to help provide for her family, like a bag of rice, meat, or hair bands.