When Adriane Dorsey first met Winston Kidd, they were both employees at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi during the late 1980s.
“I was a social worker in the NICU unit,” Adriane recalled. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Dr. Lula C. Dorsey, known in the community as L.C. Dorsey, Adriane became a social worker and was the first Black social worker that the state’s only level one trauma center hired.
Winston, who is today known as a Hinds County Circuit Judge for District 3, started his professional career in a different manner. “My first career was as a respiratory therapist. I received my bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from the University of Mississippi Medical Center [in 1987].” Winston worked for about a year as a full-time respiratory therapist, primarily in the neonatal intensive care unit, at UMMC.
But he then decided that that wasn’t his true calling. “I’m not sure of the defining moment where I decided I didn’t want to be a respiratory therapist anymore. I enjoyed being a respiratory therapist. It was a great job, and I had the opportunity to help people. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I’d always thought about Thurgood Marshall and growing up to become a lawyer to help individuals. And at some point along the way, after seeing so many individuals die in the hospital and having to deal with those issues, I decided, well, now’s a good time for me to make a move and try to become a lawyer.” During the three years in law school at Mississippi College School of Law, where he graduated in 1991, Winston still worked part-time as a respiratory therapist.
While there, Adriane remembers that Winston would come up to the NICU to take care of the babies. However, they never passed the point of a friendly greeting.
“We met each other, but we didn’t really converse. I’m not even sure if we had a conversation. I think we knew each other, but we were not friends at that point,” stated Winston.
Nonetheless, in the case of this fated couple, a second chance meeting ended up being the charm. Adriane and Winston were both attending a Kwanzaa celebration at Smith Robertson Museum and a mutual friend introduced them.
“When we met, we talked, exchanged numbers and just happened to both end up on the NAACP board. We would talk on the phone all the time about issues and life. And when we would go to the meetings, we would go get something to eat afterwards. We started off just as good friends.”
For Winston, he was assured, through their various interactions with each other, that he wanted Adriane in his life. “Adriane was someone that I would consider my better half even before we exchanged vows. I’d always known that I wanted to keep Adriane in my life for a long time, but I’m not sure initially that it was the spark that would turn into a relationship in terms of marriage. But as the friendship grew, I knew that this is someone that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Not only as a friend, but as a spouse.”
Adriane knew that Winston was growing on her when she would miss him during her travels. “Back then, we didn’t have cell phones. And when I traveled, we couldn’t talk and I really missed him. That’s when I knew it was more than just buddies, that it was romantic. I really missed talking to him. I wanted to see him; I wanted to be around him.”
She knew he was the one when they took a trip together to Atlanta, GA with some of Winston’s law school friends. “It was our first out-of-town trip, and we had a ball! I was like, ‘I’m marrying this guy.’ It was just fun and easy.” Adriane also recalls another time she went out of town. “I had gone out of town one time, and he had purchased Patti Labelle concert tickets for us. I was like, ‘This guy could read my mind.’”
He proposed not long after. “I was really confident that she would say yes. Of course, it’s easier for me to say that now, but I purchased a ring and I thought, ‘How am I gonna do this?’ It was the beginning of the year so I thought around Valentine’s would be a good time to propose. I talked to her mom and got her blessing. I believe it was the night before Valentine’s. I presented Adriane with the ring and proposed.”
“We had gone to an event at Jackson State. I think it was a fundraiser that the Margaret Walker Center put on. We came back to the house afterwards, and he proposed. He was very nervous though, and I was very excited,” reminisced Adriane.
The couple married in October of the same year – October 10, 1999 to be exact. They held a traditional ceremony and were the first wedding that Pastor Arthur Sutton of Progressive M.B. Church officiated. Yet, the church still wasn’t big enough to hold all the guests who attended.
Both Winston and Adriane are native Mississippians who are both one of six children born to their respective families. Adriane was born in the Mississippi Delta region in the town of Marigold, and Winston was born in a little town called Decatur in Newton County, Mississippi. Decatur was made famous by Charles Evers who became the first Black mayor in Mississippi since Reconstruction.
Adriane was the knee baby of her five siblings. “I have a younger brother and four older siblings and grew up in a house with open communication. There was lots of dialogue about what’s going on in the world and lots of awareness about what’s going on in the world. We would sit down at the dinner table and just talk. We were always abreast of what was happening and what our role should be as African Americans.”
That awareness came from her mother L.C. Dorsey, who was a civil rights activist. She worked with Fannie Lou Hamer during the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi to aid Black citizens in the Delta. “I remember being in the Mississippi Delta and my mom would read letters when people would bring over paperwork so she could help them complete it because a lot of them could not write well enough. I remember how much respect that was displayed when she did that with them,” Adriane recalled.
“I also remember that there was a vacant house in the community, and she and some of the other ladies in the community got together, went to whomever owned it, and they allowed them to turn it into a rec center. It gave [the teenagers] somewhere to go in the summertime. They would put on dance hops and things like that with the adults there to supervise, but it was a safe place for them to go. So that was community organizing before community organizing.”
As a mother, L.C. Dorsey made time for all six of her children. “There was always time independently for each one of us. I remember going to Alabama with her; she had some meeting or some speaking engagement. We were at a Holiday Inn, and the Klansmen were walking through the eating area, fully clothed in their Klan outfits. They were protesting because one of the Klansmen was running for an office, and the hotel wouldn’t allow him to have his planning office there. She wasn’t scared. And because she wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t afraid.”
Winston is the youngest of his five siblings born to Bonnie and Katherine Kidd. “We grew up in the country. There were dirt roads where you just go outside, go in the woods, and play.” His parents had a middle school education. He had one sibling to attend junior college, but Winston was the first in his family to receive a bachelor’s degree.
Both Winston and Adriane experienced their parents’ separation and divorce. “My parents divorced when I was about six years old. So I didn’t get the opportunity to see that kind of relationship in the home. I knew my father. He was in the community, but he was not in the home. So we didn’t have that type of model to look at in terms of a married couple,” said Winston. He did get a chance to witness how one of his older siblings treated their spouse and vice versa.
“My mom and dad – Hildery Dorsey – divorced when I was 12, and we moved from the Delta. He still came for holidays and important things, but basically our mama reared us from that day on,” noted Adriane.
What Adriane learned about love and what she was taught about love through her parents and her family was to have acceptance of people and loyalty to the people that you love. “That was just passed down, if not through practice through information.” She also says that she was taught the principle of “family first.”
Adriane’s mom, L.C. Dorsey also made an impression on Winston. “Getting to talk to her mom, knowing her background of social work, there was this idea of helping people and being there to try to get people on the right track. I was so impressed with that and to this day, Adriane has the personality to want to help individuals. If someone calls, Adriane’s always willing to help them. That was just something I loved about Adriane and her family, knowing that we have careers where we’re embedded in helping people along the way. So that was very impressive to me.”
Adriane works as the Director of Human and Cultural Services for the City of Jackson and Winston has been the Hinds County Circuit Judge for District 3 for over 20 years. He was originally appointed by Governor Ronnie Musgrove in 2002 and has run unopposed in each consecutive election since then.
Works Like a Charm
There usually comes a time or two when every couple learns just how much love is an action word. The Kidds have gone through the loss of parents and siblings together, knowing that love is the foundation and that trust, communication, and commitment are some of the values and principles that have held them together like glue.
“I’ve never questioned the commitment from either of us, no matter what we were going through. I’ve never had to ask myself am I really committed or do I need to recommit in the 20-plus years that we’ve been married. I’ve never had to second guess. Love can be tested, obviously, but we just figure out how to resolve the issues, knowing that we both love each other,” expressed Winston.
“We are totally two different people in how we go about doing our day to day,” added Adriane. “There are sometimes that we are not as in sync as you would think we should be after 20-something years. But not once have I thought this is not where I want to be, and this is not the person that I want to live the rest of my life with.”
Winston continued, “We both have each other’s best interests at heart. Adriane wouldn’t do anything that would disrespect or hurt me. And, likewise, I wouldn’t do that as well. So with both of us knowing that, it’s just a smooth journey down the road.”
“I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has my back, even when he doesn’t agree with the stuff that I do. The support is always there. I think to me, that’s love. You know that person has you and nothing but the best interest for you, even if they would’ve taken a different path. That’s your go-to when you need somebody. In the profession that he’s in, there’s a lot of things he can’t talk openly about so I’m there. You become each other’s confidant – the person that you lean on,” said Adriane.
Winston and Adriane have two boys together – Jacob Jabari, their 13-year-old eighth-grader, and Winston Jamal, their 20-year-old college sophomore.
“They brought in just a whole other element,” said Adriane. “Whereas before, we were committed. But when we had a baby together, we became a full-fledged family. Everything is about looking out and making sure you have preparation, resources, availability for this family, for this child. You work more as a team. The family comes first and that baby made the family my world. Every decision I make is about making sure the kids are taken care of. They bring a lot of different kinds of fun – ball games, beaches, stuff that we might not have done without them. They complete the circle.”
Both Adriane and Winston hope that their sons learn principles of love from their relationship. “I hope they know that you’re committed; you open your mouth and you communicate. You talk about things and not just jump into things. You are loyal to that person that you love. I hope that we have modeled that for them. And that family comes first after God,” stated Adriane.
“I would agree with that,” Winston mused. “We set examples for our children. There was not a lot of love in the household [I grew up in] where I could look at a couple loving each other. When you grow up to have children, you want to set an example for them so they’ll know this is something that I can use as a guide for when I grow up. So hopefully we’ve done that.”
“And laughter as well,” added Adriane. “There’s a lot of laughter in the house. They bring a lot of laughter. They make us smile. They make us happy. They add a lot of joy.”
The Jackson Advocate wishes The Kidd family more love and laughter in the future.