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35 years later: The children who raised themselves

Charlotte waitress Mary Mingo often confided in friends that she feared dying during childbirth, as her mother had nearly four decades earlier.

And that’s exactly what happened to her on Feb. 7, 1980, in a Charlotte hospital.

Mingo, 39, was estranged from her husband and it was clear Curtis Mingo would not be raising the newborn boy, Kemuel, nor would he take in their other eight children.

So there stood Kayle, Karen, Kathy, Kelda, Kaiser, Kasper, Karla, Kertis and Kemuel, with no parents, no money and no guarantee of a home by their landlord, the Charlotte Housing Authority.

The only realistic option appeared to be to divide up and move in with relatives or foster parents.

It was 19-year-old Kayle Mingo who decided not to allow that.

“Our mother would have wanted us to stay together, and the best way to honor her memory was to try everything in our power to do just that,” says Kayle, who was then a senior at Independence High.

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