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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION: 



REMARKABLE IN WORKS AND INVINCIBLE 
IN CHARACTER. 



BY 

j L. A. SCRUGGS, A. M., Nl. D., 

I Former Resident Physician at I^eonard Medical Hospital, former Professor of 
I PhysiologN' and Resident Physician at Shaw University, present Visiting 

/ Phj^sician and Lecturer on Ph3-siolog-y and Hygiene at 

St. Augu.stine Normal and Collegiate Institute. 



Introduction by Mrs. Josephine Turpin Washington. 



SPECIAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY 

T. Thomas Fortuxe, Willia^u Still, J. Hr(io Johnston, E. E. Smitfi, 

IMiss Ida B. Wells, Miss Mary Y. Cook, Mrs. Rosetta E. 

La:\vson, Miss L. C. Fleming, Mrs. Sarah J. AV. Early, 

Mrs. J. Silone-Yates, Miss Lena Jackson. 

Mrs. E. C. Pegues, G. W. Hayes, 

W. B. Holland. 



" God that made the world, and all things therein, * * * * hath 
made of one blood all nations of men for to diuell on all the face of 
ilie earth.'' — Acts xvii; (part of) 24-26. 



ILLUSTRATED. 



Cop3-righted July 23, 1S92, by L. A. Scruggs. 



m^lW CAROklNIANA 



RALEIGH, X. C: 
L. A. ScRUGCis, Pcblisher, 21 East Worth Street. 

1893. 



325.2^ 

DEDICATION 



To Tin: Akuo-Amkuran Motiikks and I)Ar(iirri:us who, in tiiosi-: 

DARK DAYS OF Ol'R HiSTORY, KN'DEAVORKI) TO T.E 1 AITIIFl I, TO 
WHAT TIIKY INDHRSTOOI) TO HE TIIK PRINCIPLES OF TrITH 

AND X'irtie; and also to the Xorle Women of 
THE Race ^vHo, ix these nRKJiiTEU days, 

HAVE ASSlDForSLY LAHORED, AS BEST 
THEY COFLD, TO ESTABLISH AN UN- 
IMPEACHABLE Character in 
THE Womanhood of 
THE Race ; 
And TO THE Philanthropic Men and Women of the Cointry, 

\VHO HAVE DONE AND ARE DOINO MUCH TO ElEVATE THIS 
l*EOPLE BY PROVII)IN(t FOR THEM A CHRISTIAN EDUCA- 
tion, and have not in consec^uence thereof 
demanded any sacrifice of their 
Manhood and Womanhood; 
To Charles J. Pickford, the Author's Early Friend ani> 

Benefactor ; 
And to the Sacred Memory of a Lovino and Sainted W-ife, 
Lucie J. ScRucuis, a most valuable helper, who ren- 
dered MUCH ASSISTANCE, EVEN IN THE 

['reparation of these paces; 
This Volume is Sincerely Dedicated 

BY THE AT^THOR. 



PK ESSES OF E. M. UZZELL 
RALEIGH. N. C. 



PREFACE. 



In launching this little barque, bearing the outlines 
of a book, the builder (author) is not altogether thought- 
less of the stormy sea over which it may be driven, nor 
of that far-away destiny (success) which it may never 
reach. And yet with hope as an anchor both "sure and 
steadfast" it has been launched, and out upon life's sea 
must go. 

Who could expect otherwise than as it sails off from 
the shore that the severe scrutiny of the wise and learned, 
as well as the keen and rigid criticism of friend and 
foe, of the interested and the disinterested, the preju- 
diced and the non-prejudiced, will fall upon it with such 
activity as may be simply alarming. 

But, after all, if by chance it is allowed to humbly 
pursue the journey of its mission, educating public sen- 
timent, stimulating and encouraging the young women 
and young men of the race who are almost overcome 
and discouraged by the dashing billows of life's angry 
sea; if by reading the lives of these noble heroines; if 
by meditating upon their sacrifices and deeds; if by 
contrasting the opportunities of those former and darker 



IV PHKFACK. 

days with tlioso prcsontod ii\ these hrioliter (hiys; if from 
the contents of this vohmie the young women of our 
raee sliall gather a single ray of lio})e and encourage- 
ment wliieh will enable them to stem the tide and 
become women of usefnlnesf^ and (Iisti)(cffon, honored of 
men and blessed of God, then this barque (hook) shall 
have accom])lished one of the objects of its mission. 

Again, there have been a great many untrue things said 
by a })art of the Southern press that have been against 
the' best interests of the race. The Northern traveler 
through the South has also quite often gathered informa- 
tion at railway stations and from other unreliable sources, 
which has been given to the world through a part of the 
Northern press, greatly to the detriment of the race. 
From these sources the womanliood of the race has 
suffered great and unmerited injustice when taken as a 
whole. If by reading the content,; of this volume a 
contradiction can be justly established and thereby we 
can reclaim some of the prestige we have been thus 
caused to lose, then another important object of this 
mission shall have been accomplislied. It is quite evi- 
dent that the world has not as yet learned to fully 
appreciate the extent to which minrl and cliaracfc)' have 
been and can l)e developed in the women of this race. 

"Great statesmen govern nations, 
Kings mould a people's fate ; 
But the unseen hand of velvet 
These giants regulate. 



PJIKFACK. V 

The jxjiidei'ous wliecl of fortune 

In woman's diarins is pearled ; 
For the hand that rocks the cradle 

Is the hand that rules the world." 

If in such n short time of greatly abridged citizensliip 
our women liave accomplished so much, aJid if many 
of thost' heroines mentioned did develop such giant 
intellects during those dark days of our history, may we 
not be the more encouraged to make more diligent, 
protracted and determined efforts in this brighter age ? 

These glorious days that we now^ enjoy are made the 
'inore sacred when we remember the sacrifices, the tears, 
the labors, the prayers and the blood of thousands of 
our mothers and sisters,- most of whom have gone into 
another world, but some of whose triumphs are herein 
mentioned. To acquaint the world with many of these 
facts, and to assist in more fully establishing that fun- 
damental principle that under similar conditions the 
color of the skin nor the quality of the hair can have 
no bearings whatsoever upon the operations of the 
human mind, for we believe that in the mental world 
there is neither Greek nor Jew nor Gentile, neither 
bound nor free, neither African nor Caucasian, for God 
''hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell 
on all the face of the earth." 

It has also been to the author, who has spent many 



VI PKEFAC'E. 

years in careful observation among the masses, a pain- 
ful experience to see how little is known of our great 
women and their works. To assist in giving this infor- 
mation to our young people, that they may be the more 
proud of their ancestors and love more devotedly their 
race, is another part of our mission. And now, in addi- 
tion to the debt of gratitude he owes those who have so 
kindly and ably contributed articles to this book, the 
author is also grateful to Rev. A. (1. Davis, Mr. E. A. 
Johnson, Mr. George W. Williams, Mr. William Still, 
Mr. I. (1. Penn, Mr. E. E. Cooper, Mrs. Christine S. Smith, 
Mrs. F. W. Titus, Mr. James M. Trotter, Mrs. N. F. 
Mossell, Mr. W. H. Council and others for valuable 
assistance rendered by themselves and their writings. 
While the preparation of this book has been a very 
arduous task, and might be regarded a presumption, it 
has nevertheless been a very pleasant duty. We have 
desired to be just, and as far as possible we have tried 
to avoid exaggerations. After all, however, we are aware 
that the book is by no means a perfect one. There are 
some whose lives should be mentioned herein that are 
not. 

Much of this seeming negligence is due to a failure of 
some of the parties to respond, while some others we 
have not been able to reach after repeated trials. 



PRKKACK. VII 

When it is remembered how difficult it is to gather 
reliable data from all parts of this great country, as 
well as from Africa, we trust that there shall be no rea- 
>sonable cause of offense, and that no one will have so 
little charity as to charge that we have been partial or 
narrow. 

If this volume should be accepted to such an extent 
as to warrant it safe to issue a second edition, and should 
the author's life and health be preserved, he will gladly 
record the deeds and achievements of those noble women 
whose names do not appear herein. We have done the 
best we could under the circumstances, and therefore 
send this volume forth with a prayer that God may bless 
and use the humble effort to the good of mankind. 



INTRODUCTION. 



BY MRS. JOSEPHINE TURPIN WASHINGTON. 



The po.sitioD accordod tho women of a nation is a 
gauge of that nation's civilization. In one age or clime 
man's slave and beast of burden, in another his pet and 
plaything, the hidden adornment of a harem or the 
inspiration of a chivalry more or less Quixotic, it re- 
mained for our own time and country to approach most 
nearly a recognition of her true place and station. 

"God created man in his own image, in the image of 
God created he him ; male and female created he them." 

There need be no trite discussion of the relative supe- 
riority or inferiority of the sexes. The claim of equal- 
ity need not be mistaken for an assertion of perfect like- 
ness. 

"Woman is not undev^eloped man, 
But diverse." 

The true woman takes her place by the side of man 
as his companion, his co-worker, his helpmeet, his equal, 
but she never forgets that she is a woman and not a man. 
Whether in the home as wife and mother, or struggling in 
the ranks of business or professional life, she retains her 
womanly dignity and sweetness, which is at once her 
strength and her shield. 



X INTRODUCTION. 

The nineteenth century, " woman's century," as Victor 
Hugo aptly terms it, marks the acme of her develop- 
ment, but thore has been no time when her })ower was 
not felt. From the earliest period, when Eve was 
beguiled of the serpent and in turn tempted Adam, 
down through the ages when Sappho sang and Hypatia 
showed v.'hat genius repressed could yet accomplish, 
woman's influence has been potent. That influence, 
however, is greatly enhanced, both in the quiet walks 
of life, where fate and preference retain the majority, 
and in the more public ways, where duty calls an in- 
creasing number, by the recognition of woman's equal- 
ity with man. This belief has steadily made its growth 
among nations in proportion as they advanced irom sav- 
agery and the butchery and brutality by which it is 
attended. As war waned and the arts of peace prevailed, 
as the necessity for mere bodily strength decreased, and 
more attention was paid to the cultivation of mind, 
woman's claim for recognition grew in popular favor and 
esteem. 

Even in this age, however, there are some who refuse 
to see any good in what is sometimes termed the eman- 
cipation of woman. Because many noble and lovable 
w^omen have been content to abide beneath the shadow 
of the home-roof, and have never sought to extend their 
influence beyond the domestic circle, they deny the fit- 
ness of any w^oman's doing so, regardless of the differ- 
ence in the nature and circumstances of different indi- 
viduals, and even of the fact that many women have 
no roof-tree under which to abide. The "progressive 



INTKODIU'TION. XI 

woman" is caricatured and held up as a horror and a 
warning to that portion of the feminine world who might 
be tempted into like forbidden paths. 'SShe is out of 
her sphere, she ought to be in her home, she is trying to 
be a man, she is losing the tender consideration and the 
reverence once accorded womanhood." All these things 
are said, and, as might be expected, are applicable to 
individual cases. They do not, however, portray the 
true type of the ''progressive woman" of to-day. She 
is modest and womanly, with a reverence for the high 
and holy duties of wife and mother. She does not advo- 
cate the abandonment of any real duties near at hand 
for fancied ones afar off. She would not have women 
neglect home and husband and children to enter profes- 
sional life, or to further any public cause, however 
worthy. She only claims the right to admission in the 
varied fields of employment and usefulness of those who 
either have no domestic ties, or, having them, are forced, 
despite this fact, to enter the arena of life in the struggle 
for bread, or those who, without a disregard of existing 
claims, yet have leisure and inclination for interests out- 
side of the home. 

The woman is a human being as well as a woman. It 
is within the range of possibility that sometimes she 
may be endowed with great gifts v/hich it is fortunate 
for all minds if she can find opportunity to exercise. 
What would we not have missed had Patti never sung, 
Rose Bonheur never painted, or Mrs. Stowe never writ- 
ten ? Besides, contact with the outer world, a little rub- 
bing against other minds, an occasional directing of the 



XII IXTKODUCTIOX. ^ 

energies into new ehannels, refreshes and invigorates the 
tired wife and mother and enables her to pive of her best 
to the dear ones at home. The varions gatherings of 
women thronghout the land, in clubs and societies and 
combinations for the progress of the temperance move- 
ment and other reforms, are to be applauded, even if 
they accomplish no other good than this drawing 'away, 
for a- time at least, of wives and mothers from the tread- 
mill of a routine house-life. . 

The fruits of woman's work are not, however, to be so 
limited. Organized she has advanced countless humani- 
tarian causes, while individualh' she has risen to emi- 
nence in the varied fields of her choice. Will any one 
sneer at the life-work of Hannah More, Harriet Mar- 
tineau, Caroline Herschel? Can any be found, even 
among those who oppose the public life of women, to do 
otherwise than commend the character and achievements 
of such women as Florence Nightingale, Frances Wil- 
lard, Clara Barton and Mary Livermore? 

This widening of woman's sphere of thought and 
action is a thing to be encouraged rather than denounced, 
even by those wdio reverence most highly the home-life 
and believe that woman finds there her truest element 
and highest usefulness. In the "good old days" mar- 
riage was deemed a necessity to woman, the end of her 
being, while only an incident, albeit an important one, 
in the career of man. Women shrank from the title of 
"old maid," and to avoid that and an aimless, purpose- 
less existence, or to secure a home and the means of sup- 
port, were tempted often into loveless, unsuitable mar- 



INTKODUCTIOX. XIII 

riages. Is it so, to the same extent, in our day? The 
term "old maid," even when used, is not uttered witii the 
contempt of former times. Think of tlie many nobk' 
single women of your acquaintance who are bravely 
fighting the battle of life alone, winning for themselves 
a competency and fair renown, and at the same time 
doing good service for humanity. The prince has not 
come to them. Some have grown old in life's struggle 
and will go through the remainder of their years with- 
out the halo of love, without tender home ties of their 
own ; but they will have fought a good fight, and in 
many cases they have given of their strength and cour- 
age to some weak wife or mother, bowed down with the 
burdens and responsibilities of a position too often lightly 
and thoughtlessly assumed. Some of these brave and 
earnest working women are young and blooming. For 
them the prince may come, he ma}' not. They are con- 
tent to wait, not idly, not with folded hands and the feel- 
ing that if he come not all hope is lost and life not worth 
the living, but working sturdily and blithely, develop- 
ing the energies of mind and body, proving themselves 
worthy of their womanhood and fit mates for strong and 
manly men. So the car of progress moves onward, rap- 
idly in favored localities, more slowly in sections less tol- 
erant of innovations; but always towards that perfect 
solution of the "woman question" so happily pictured 
in Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward." 

What of Afro-American womanhood ? What of our 
wives and mothers and sisters and daughters? Are they, 
too, included in these movements of progress, in this 



XIV INTRODUCTION. 

marvellous advance of womankind? Much have they 
wrouiiht, vet much remains for future work. It is not 
just to rate them according to the status thev occupy in 
comparison with Anglo-American womanhood. Not 
alone should be considered the height to which they 
have ascended, but also the depth from which they have 
arisen. Alas, that it must be w^ritten! Afro-American 
women, like Afro-American men, in this ''land of the 
free and home of the brave," are shut out from much 
wdiich is helpful to a higher development; they are pur- 
sued by a monster [)rejudice whose voracious appetite is 
appeased only when they have been reduced to abject 
servitude and are content to remain "hewers of w^ood 
and drawers of water." All the disabilities which affect 
the race in this country our women have to contend 
against, with the added disability of sex. These dis- 
abilities, while artiticial and transitory in character, 
must affect our expectation and our estimate of the work 
hitherto accomplished. That work, while marvellous in 
view of the obstacles which have beset the path of Afro- 
American womanhood, is to be considered rather as a 
promise than as a fulfillment. If it sometimes fails to be 
impressive, like the child in whom we watch the dawn- 
ing of the man, it never fails to be interesting. The 

sky is 

"Bright with flashes which forerun 
The glories of a yet unrisen sun." 

What has been accomplished by our w^omen has been 
despite many obstacles and discouragements. The Afro- 
American is no anomaly in that at one stage of his 



IXTIIODUCTION. XV 

development he failed to recognize the inij)ortance of 
cultivating his Avomen. All peoples, in their progress 
toward civilization and while yet afar off, have been in 
the dark on this point. Even the benefactors of the 
race, the philanthropists who so generously aided the 
cause of education among us, by their own example 
fostered this idea of the comparative unimportance of 
educating the women of the race. The mistake was in 
not measuring the negro by the same standard applied 
to other peoples. Our only educational need was thought 
to be that of educated ministers, and even they were 
educated often in theology at the expense of spelling 
and grammar. 

For a long time the idea held sway among us that it 
did not "pay" to spend mucli time and money in school- 
ing the girls. "They made no use of their education," 
was affirmed, unless, indeed, they taught for a year or 
two, after which they resigned to marry. So the woman 
who might have become the mother* of a Bacon or a 
Newton, or Avho might have blossomed into a George 
Eliot or a Mrs. Browning, was left with dormant intel- 
lect and unexpanded energies to grope her Avay in dark- 
ness, unwitting even of all she had missed. 

Our poverty, too, has been, and even is, a strong force 
to repress ambition and to thwart the desire for a broad 
and liberal culture. Woman's role has ever been that of 
self-sacrifice. It has seemed to her right and natural 
that all the available funds of the family should be lav- 
ished on tlie son in college, even though some of it was 
spent in useless littlo extravagances, w^hile the sisters at 



XVI INTRODUCTION. 

lioiuo received but scant culture from the village peda- 
gogue, or none at all, spending their time, instead, bend- 
ing over the wash-tub or the sewing-machine, striving b}^ 
their industr}^ to add to the comforts or to the advan- 
tages of the idolized brother in school. Gra3"-haired 
mothers, from whose youth every ray of learning was 
rigorously excluded, have suffered untold toil and pri- 
vation in the effort to give to their children the blessings 
of an education. All honor to them, and to the patient, 
self-sac rilicing wives who have struggled under the bur- 
den of the family maintenance, while the husband pur- 
sued the course in school from which he was debarred in 
earlier life, and which was essential to his usefulness and 
success in his chosen calling. 

Everywliere the Afro-iVmerican woman is educated and 
is unopposed by any prejudice against the exercise of her 
talents, by reason of lack of leisure and freedom from 
household cares, in most cases she is hindered in mental 
effort and in the production of any work which might 
take definite shape before the world. 

In view of all these facts it is surprising that we have 
as many women among us who have, to so considerable 
an extent, worked out their own salvation and that of 
the race. Let us not use extravagant words of com- 
mendation, lest we have left no fit terms of praise for 
the woman of our future who is so hopefully prophesied 
by the achievements of her progenitors, toiling to-day 
amid varied disavantages ; but let us chronicle their 
deeds in fitting phrase that those who come after may 
1)0 inspired by the record of what has been wrought to 



INTRODUCTION. XVIJ 

make the most of their more liberal opportunities, and 
so hasten the time when our work may be criticised as 
that of human beings, and neither as that of colored 
women nor as that of women. 

The day is coming when we shall not 

" Be satisfied with praise 
Which men give women when they judge a book — 
Not as mere work, but as mere woman's work, 
Expressing the comparative respect 
AVhich means the absolute scorn." 

Even now we have some among us for whom it is not 
meet to intimate an apology, women whose work speaks 
for itself and has neither sex nor complexion. 

It is necessary only to mention Edmonia Lewis, in 
whose veins courses the blood of the despised race, and 
whose genius and triumphant career are universally 
conceded, to instance the possibilities of x4fro-American 
womanhood. Many others there are, also, whose suc- 
cesses in educational, professional, industrial and literary 
pursuits have been chronicled by our author, and still 
others, no doubt, whose achievements, though equally 
praiseworthy, have been unintentionally omitted. 

It is most fitting that one whose early struggles for 
education and a higher development were nobly supple- 
mented by the self-sacrificing eff'orts of a loving mother 
should himself become the champion of that mother's 
sex, and especially of the numbers just entering the 
light studiously shut out from her longing eyes. 

Such a son of such a mother is Lawson Andrew 
Scruggs, born in Bedford county, Virginia, January 15, 



XVIII INTRODUCTION. 

1857, of slave parentage. Like many another of our 
able and successful men his early educational advantages 
were extremely limited. When he reached the age of 
twenty years he could do scarcely more than read and 
write. Even this scant knowledge was gained under 
great difficulties. His days were usually spent in ardu- 
ous labor on the farm. At night, when not too worn-out 
from physical toil, he would pore over his books by a 
torch-light fire. When the weather did not admit of 
work on the farm he was allowed the privilege of attend- 
ing the common school, if the one in his neighborhood 
chanced to be in session. Probably the Avhole time spent 
in school in this manner did not aggregate eight months 
in as many years. 

After leaving the farm he w^as employed as a laborer 
on the telegraph lines in the South. He still tried to 
pursue his studies, though now without any assistance 
whatever, even learning a little of English grammar by 
carrying a page or two in his pocket and committing it 
at odd moments. It w^as while on a telegraph inspecting 
tour that, in company with some fellovMvorkmen, he vis- 
ited the Richmond Institute, at Richmond, Virginia, one 
of the Baptist ELome Mission Society schools. He was 
at once impressed with the desirability of "going to col- 
lege," mostly on account of the name and prestige it 
would give him among his youthful companions in the 
old home neighborhood. Inflated with a " little learn- 
ing," he had no true conception either of what he knew 
or of what he lacked of knowing. Despite his scanty 
schooling he was already acknowdedged the brightest 



INTRODUCTION. XIX 

lad ill the country round about, and by common consent 
was accorded the honor of letter-writer for all his love- 
lorn mates. In October, 1877, he entered the Richmond 
Institute with the intention of staying one session. He 
stayed five, though unable to complete any session but 
the last. It was in this institution that the writer became 
acquainted with him, and then began that friendship 
which, unlike many school intimacies, has stood the test 
of time. 

Young Scruggs was quite a favorite with both profess- 
ors and fellow-pupils. He was live, earnest and genial, 
a hard-working and conscientious student, and a merry 
comrade on the play-ground. In May, 1882., he was 
graduated, taking the school prize in oratory and deliv- 
ering the salutatory of his class. 

His views of what he knew had changed somewhat 
since the days when he wrote love-letters for the youth- 
ful swains of Bedford county. In the fall of 1882 he 
entered Shaw University, at Raleigh, North Carolina. 
Here he pursued, at the same time, the literary and the 
medical courses, being graduated in 1886 and 1887 
respectively from the literar}^ and medical departments. 
In each case he was the valedictorian of his class, and he 
was, in addition, the recipient of the prize in surgery 
from the medical department, having previously taken 
a prize in anatomy. He was at once appointed resident 
physician and instructor in hygiene and physiology at 
Shaw University and resident physician at Leonard Hos- 
pital. After having served acceptably in these capaci- 
ties for four years he resigned to give himself more 
completely to private practice, which, during this interim, 



XX INTRODUCTION. 

had engaged his hours of leisure. He has since accepted 
the position of A'^isiting Physician and Lecturer on Physi- 
ology and Hygiene at St. Augustine Normal and Colle- 
giate Institute, which position he now holds. 

It is a noteworthy fact that Dr. Scruggs was the first 
colored man to hold these appointments in either Shaw 
University or St. Augustine Institute. He has also the 
distinction of having organized the Medical Association 
among the Afro-American ph3^sicians of North Carolina. 
As an earnest and effective race worker he has won a 
high reputation. For five years he has been the regular 
North Carolina correspondent of the National Baptist, of 
Philadelphia, a paper having probably the largest circu- 
lation of any Baptist organ in the country His letters 
deal mainly with race interests, and he never fails to pre- 
sent the negro's case in equity. One communication of 
especial importance is a reply to Mr. Thomas Nelson Page, 
who had published in the North Americaii Review an 
arraignment of the colored people of the country for 
what he considered a lack of progress during the years 
of their freedom. 

Dr. Scruggs is a hard-working physician, but he finds 
time, amid the arduous duties of a most exacting pro- 
fession, to keep in touch with the living issues of the 
day, and especially with those which concern us as Afro- 
Americans. Honor to all such young men among us ! 
'' May their tribe increase ! " Afro-American womanhood 
may be congratulated upon the entrance into the lists 
on her behalf of so worthy and zealous a knight as 
Lawson Andrew Scruggs. 

Josephine Turpin Washington. 



CONTENTS. 



Page. 

Adams, Mrs. Lucinda Bragg 270 

Audersou, Caroline V., A. M., M. D .._ . 177 

Afro-American Women as Educators 309 

Atlanta University — 320 

Brown, Miss Hallie Quinn ._. 14 

Barboza, Mrs. H. M. Garnet _-- 61 

Brown, Miss Nellie E 82 

Bergen, Madam Flora Batson ..- — 26 

Bund}', Madam Lillian R. . 108 

Burwell, Miss Mary A. -_ -.- 222 

(^/^rown, Mrs. L. Hughes .. 265 

Bowser, Mrs. Rosa D. ___- 283 

Britton, Miss Mary E. --- 303 

Briggs, Miss Martha B. 345 

Coppin, Mrs. Fannie M. Jackson .- _- . 75 

Cook, Mary v., A. B., A. M. -..-.__ 120 

Coston, Mrs. Julia Ringwood 140 

Cole, Mrs. IvUC}' Ann Henry _ . . 187 

Cooper, Mrs. A. J. _. 207 

Coleman, Mrs. Lucretia Newman 210 

Colley, Mrs. Georgie ......_._ __ . 228 

VCartwright, Mrs. Carrie E. Sawj'er 259 

Cooper, Mrs. Ada A. __- . -. _-. -.. 289 

Davis, Miss Henrietta Vinton 85 

DeBaptiste, Miss Georgia Mabel 354 

DeMortie, Louisa . .- 94 

Early, Mrs. Sarah J. W ._-. 71 

Fleming, Miss Lulu C. -- ._- - 197 

Fisk Jubilee Singers . 130 

Fisk University ._- 135 

Grimkee, Mrs. Charlotte Forten 193 

Gordon, Miss N. Antonia 217 

Gray, Ida, D. D. S. --. -- _ 225 



XXII CONTEXTS. 

Page. 

Gilbert, Artishia Garcia, A. B., A. :M. 274 

Green. Miss Hattie K 308 

Greenfield, Miss Elizabeth Ta3lor _ 78 

Harper, Mrs. Frances Ellen Watkins 6 

Harriet, the Modern Moses ._ 65 

Hyers Sisters T05 

Howard, Joan Imogen, A. M. __ 156 

Hand, Miss Ada C. 171 

Harden, Mrs. Delia Irving 241 

Howard, Miss Clara A. 256 

Hartshorn Memorial College -.. . 262 

Harper, Mar}- E., B. E. 322 

Higher Education for Women 365 

Home-life of Liberian Women no 

Influence of Negro Women in the Home , _. 372 

Johnson, Mrs. A. E. --. 116 

■^if ones. Miss Mary 293 

Jones, ^Nliss Anna Holland 295 

Jones, Miss Nancy 300 

Jones, Mrs. Sissieretta . -. 325 

Jones, Mrs. Rosa Kinckle 337 

Lewis, Edmonia 69 

Lewis, Miss Lillian A.- 129 

Leslie, Mrs. N. A. R 247 

Lawson, Mrs. Rosetta E. Coakley 268 

Lee, Mary E., B. S. 277 

Lower\^, Miss Ruth .. 357 

Mossell, Mrs. N. F. . 23 

Mathews, Mrs. W. E. 30 

McKinne}-, Susan S., M. D. 99 

McEwen, Miss Alice Elizabeth 249 

Morton, Verina H., M. D. - _ 267 

Nahar, Miss Ednorah 181 

Other Distinguished Women -_. 339 

P^ge, Mrs. Zelia R. Ball 153 

Presle}', Mrs. Harriette Estelle Harris _ .. 158 

Pclham., Miss Meta E 272 

Puree, Mrs. C. L. - 306 



CONTENTH. XX 111 

Page. 

Pace, Mrs. Dinah Watts . 352 

Patton, Georgia Esther Lee, M. D 364 

Ruffin, Mrs. Josephine St. Pierce — 144 

Smith, Mrs. Amanda .-- 57 

Scotia Seminary 97 

Scott, Mrs. Charlotte -- 102 

Selika, Madam . 361 

Shorter, Mrs. Susie Isabella Lankford 162 

• Smith, Miss Lucy Wilmot 165 

St. Augustine School 178 

Spencer, Miss EllaD. 231 

Smith, Mrs. Christine S. -_. 251 

Stumm, Mrs. C. C 270 

Sneed, Mrs. Lavinia B. 270 

Scott, Mrs. Virginia E. M. Hunt 280 

^mith, Miss Willie Ann 298 

s/Scruggs, Mifes Lucie Johnson . 231 

Truth, Sojourner 48 

Tillman, Mrs. Kate D. Chapman 203 

Tilghman, Miss A. L. -■ — 211 

Terrell, Mary Church, A. B., A. M 227 

Thomas, Mrs. Lillian May 235 

Wheatley, Phillis ._- i 

Washington, Mrs. Josephine Turpin 89 

Williams, Mrs. Ella V. Chase 95 

Wells, Ida B., A. M. 33 

Women of the A. M. E. Church 148 

Washington, Mrs. Rachel M. 273 

Webb, Mrs. M. R. Rodgers 287 

Yates, Mrs. Josephine A. Silone 40 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER I. 

PHIIvUS WHEATLEY. 

In 1 761, when the inhabitants of Africa were stolen 
by cruel hands and brought to America, the "sweet 
land of liberty," and sold, as so many cattle, under the 
protection of the flag of this "land of the pilgrim's 
pride," among the cargo of this human freight that 
was put upon the market at Boston, Mass., was a collec- 
tion of little children, one of whom was the afterwards 
famous Phillis Wheatley. 

A lady of some prominence, Mrs. John Wheatley, 
desiring to purchase a bright little girl whom she might 
train for a suitable staff upon which to depend for service 
in old age, went to this market, and of all the many she 
saw none so attracted her admiration as a delicate, 
meek, intelligent-looking little girl about seven years old, 
whose nakedness was covered only by a piece of dirty 
carpet drawn about her loins. Mrs. Wheatley made 
the purchase with the intention of making a faithful 
domestic of her, but the wholesome effects of clothing, 
along with general cleanliness, were so marked that the 
good lady arranged at once to have her daughter give 
the girl such instruction as might appear necessary. 



2 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Anxious to learn and quick to acquire at this very 
early age of seven or eight years, she astonished her 
teacher and mistress beyond measure, in that she was 
able in one vear and a half to read and write with much 
accuracy; and at the end of four years from the time she 
was purchased in the slave-pen she could extensivel}^ 
and intelligently converse and write upon quite a large 
number of difficult subjects. Her wonderful intellectual 
powers, keen insight and general scholarship became a 
matter of such admiration among the educated Bos- 
tonians that her society was in great demand by a large 
part of the aristocracy of that city. Some of the best 
citizens were kind to her in lending her books and push- 
ing her forward whenever possible. 

Having made considerable advancement in the Knglish 
branches, she began the study of Latin, in which she 
succeeded to such an extent that she made a translation 
of "Ovid's Tales," which was published in Boston, also 
in England, and was regarded by the best critics as an 
excellent rendering. 

At the age of sixteen she became a Christian and 
(although an exception to the rule of a slave's relations 
to the Church) was baptized into full membership into 
the "Old South Meeting House" with the noted 
Dr. Sewall as pastor. Her Christian life added much to 
the quality and effect of her writings. In public or in 
private she was noted for the emanations of gratitude 
from a thankful heart in appreciation of any kindness 
rendered her. She was a great lover of her race, 
although remembering but little of her former home and 



WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 



suiToimdings in Africa. Being of a very delicate consti- 
tution, and having applied herself rigidly to study, along 
with the effects of a severe northern climate, all com- 
bined told very much upon her physical strength. 

It is, however, pleasant to note that her mother, by 
adoption, Mrs. Wheatley, from whom she derived her 
name, was very prompt in securing for her the best 
medical aid. After all it was thought advisable for 
Phillis to take a trip over the ocean, and having been 
previously made free by her owner at the age of twenty, 
she could easily determine her own course of action. 
Subsequently she accompanied the son of Mrs. Wheatley 
to Europe. Phillis had already had some correspondence 
with prominent parties in England and had become quite 
well known there, as a poet, by reputation. 

She was well received and greatly honored by the 
nobility and moved in the highest social life. To her 
the doors of some of the best families were opened and 
tables spread. The newspapers told the story of her 
excellence in glowing language, describing her as a poet 
of African birth, the most remarkable upon the conti- 
nent. She swayed England as by magic. At the earnest 
solicitations of many friends she allowed her poems to 
be published to the world in 1773, appearing in London 
in a volume of about 120 pages, consisting of thirty-nine 
pieces. So excellent were these poems in all respects 
that the publishers, suspecting that some critic would 
doubt that Phillis was the real author, prepared a cer- 
tificate and obtained the underwriting of the names of 
the Governor and Lieutenent-Governor along with the 



4 AA^OMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

names of sixteen others of the most prominent and most 
competent white citizens, all of whom certified that 
there was no reasonable grounds for any doubt whatso- 
ever but that Phillis AVheatley was the original author 
of the poems. 

Her glory and fame had been sounded far and wide, 
but now comes a dark day. Mrs. Wheatley, while Phillis 
was in the height of her glory in Europe, became quite 
sick and much desired to see her Phillis, although the 
photo of this girl hanging upon the wall was some com- 
fort. She finally grew worse and kindly asked Phillis 
to come home at once. This summons the grateful and 
loving-hearted girl obeyed, immediately sailing direct 
for Boston. She arrived in time to see but little of her 
former mistress — mother — before death came and called 
the sick away. Not very long afterwards Mr. AVheatley 
and daughter followed Mrs. Wheatley to the grave. The 
son married and took up his abode in England. Phillis, 
now, left to look out entirely for herself, accepted a pro- 
posal to marry a colored gentleman of respectability 
named John Peters. 

The noble woman, being quite popular and much 
beloved, caused John Peters to become jealous, which 
jealousy grew into cruelty. Their only child had died 
at an early age — all of which bore so heavily upon the 
already feeble woman that she, after spending a very 
short married life, died on the 5th day of December, 
1784, at the age of thirty-one. Thus passed away the 
brightest and most generally beloved Afro-American 
woman of her day. This Afro-American, coming in a 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 5 

slave-ship, a heathen child of seven years, from the 
jungles of Africa, and although at once putting on the 
galling yoke of slavery, nevertheless she grew and 
developed such traits of character and displayed the 
genius of such a powerful intellect that in less than 
twenty years from the time she was purchased at the 
slave-pen in Boston she became the admiration and 
wonder of the best minds in Europe and in America. 
She especially addressed one of her poems to General 
George Washington, which so pleased the great con- 
queror that the following complimentary letter flowed 
from his stately pen to her: 

Cambridge:, 28th February, 1776. 

Miss Phii^i^is: — Your favor of the 26th of October did not reach 
my hands till the middle of December. Time enough, you will say, 
to have given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of impor- 
tant occurrences continually interposing to distract the mind and with- 
draw the attention I hope will apologize for the delay, and plead my 
excuse for the seeming but not real neglect. I thank you most sin- 
cerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant lines you enclosed; 
and however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyric, 
the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetical talents; 
in honor of wh'ich, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have 
published the poem, had I not been apprehensive that, while I only 
meant to give the world this new instance of your genius, I might have 
incurred the imputation of vanitj^ This, and nothing else, determined 
me not to give it place in the public prints. If you should ever come 
to Cambridge, or near headquarters, I shall be happy to see a person 
so favored by the Muse, and to whom Nature has been so liberal and 
beneficent in her dispensations. 

I am with great respect, your obedient, humble servant, 

George Washington. 

The whole life of Phillis Wheatley, while rising to 
the highest point of sublime grandeur in her day, also 



6 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

constitutes one of the large number of witnesses that we 
are ready to place upon the stand in defense of Afro- 
American capabilities and success with which we chal- 
lenge the civilized world to produce a parallel. 



CHAPTER II. 

MRS. FRANCES ELLEN WATKINS HARPER. 

In presenting this very condensed narrative of the life 
and works of Mrs. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper the 
writer makes no pretensions to a development of any new 
facts not already known to the reading public, but sim- 
ply tells the old, old facts that seem each time that they 
are told more "wonderfully sweet" because of the 
underlying forces of real inspiration which the simple 
story of her life contains. This wonderful woman was 
born in the city of Baltimore, Md., in 1825. ^^^' 
parents were not slaves, and yet she was subjected to the 
inconveniences and ill influences of the slave law, which 
held within its grasp both bond and free. Before her 
third year the dearest of all friends— mother — had been 
taken from her by death; being the only child, she came 
under the watch-care of an aunt who cared for her dur- 
ing her earlier years and sent her to school to an uncle. 
Rev. William Watkins, until she was thirteen years old. 
After this the burden of earning her own bread was laid 
upon her own shoulders; certainly a very heavy burden 




JA^z^^ciJ W. [yr. 




WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 7 

for a motherless girl of thirteen, and yet heavy burdens 
are sometimes great tutors and incentives that we in 
after-life appreciate more fully. 

While earning her bread she chanced to be in a family 
that taught her some of the domestic arts and at the 
same time gave her a chance to satiate her great and 
growing thirst for books. She was notably never idle, 
and ere she had reached w^omanhood her first volume, 
"Forest Ivcaves," was written, consisting of both prose 
and poetry, which was afterwards published. So cred- 
itable were her early writings that some critics doubted 
that she was the author. 

About 1 85 1, desiring to be in a free State, she moved 
from Baltimore to Ohio, where she engaged in school- 
teaching for awhile, but soon found her way into Penn- 
sylvania, where she again taught school at Little York. 

Still, not satisfied because of profound love for her 
people who were in the cruel bonds of slavery, she 
often thought of the condition of affairs in Baltimore, 
and upon one occasion said, "Homeless in the land of 
our birth and worse off than strangers in the home of 
our nativity." While yet in doubt as to whether she 
might be more useful to her race as a school-teacher or 
otherwise she wrote as follows to a friend for advice: 
"What would you do if you were in my place? Would 
you give up and go back and work at your trade (dress- 
making)? There are no people that need all the bene- 
fits resulting from a well-directed education more than 
we do. The condition of our people, the wants of our 
children and the welfare of our race demand the aid of 



8 A\^()MEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 

every helping band, the God-speed of every Christian 
heart. It is a work of time, a labor of patience, to 
become an effective school-teacher, and it should be a 
work of love in which they who engage should not abate 
heart or hope until it is done. And after all, it is one of 
woman's most sacred rights to have the privilege of 
forming the symmetry and rightly adjusting the mental 
balance of an immortal mind." 

Mrs. Harper was in full accord with everything that 
tended towards the freedom of the slaves from a bondage 
of both soul and body. She was a real missionary, a 
Christian missionary, in all her works. 

For about one year and a half she lectured and trav- 
eled through Eastern States, creating a sensation wher- 
ever she spoke. The Portland Daily Press^ in speaking 
of a lecture which she had delivered upon the invitation 
of the Mayor of the town, said: "She spoke for nearly 
an hour and a half, her subject being 'The Mission of 
the War, and the Demands of the Colored Race in the 
Work of Reconstruction,' and we have seldom seen an 
audience more attentive, better pleased, or more enthu- 
siastic. Mrs. Harper has a splendid articulation, uses 
chaste, pure language, has a pleasant voice and allows 
no one to tire of hearing her. We shall attempt no 
abstract of her address; none that we could make would 
do her justice. It was one of which any lecturer might 
feel proud, and her reception by a Portland audience was 
all that could be desired. We have seen no praises of her 
that were overdrawn. We have heard Miss Dickinson, 
and do not hesitate to award the palm to her darker 
colored sister." 



WOMEN OF JMSTl NOTION. 9 

She then went to Canada to see the fugitives, and 
expressed her delight as follows: "Well, I have gazed 
for the first time upon Free Land^ and, would you 
believe it, tears sprang to my eyes, and I wept. Oh, it 
was a glorious sight to gaze for the first time on a land 
where a poor slave, flying from our glorious land of lib- 
erty, would in a moment find his fetters broken, his 
shackles loosed, and whatever he was in the land of 
Washington, beneath the shadow of Bunker Hill Monu- 
ment or even Plymouth Rock, here he becomes a man 
and a brother. I have gazed on Harper's Ferry, or 
rather the rock at the Ferry; I have seen it towering up 
in simple grandeur, with the gentle Potomac gliding 
peacefully at its feet, and felt that that was God's 
masonry, and my soul had expanded in gazing on its 
sublimity. I have seen the ocean singing its wild cho- 
rus of sounding waves, and ecstasy has thrilled upon the 
living chords of my heart. I have since then seen the 
rainbow-crowned Niagara chanting the choral hymn of 
Omnipotence, girdled with grandeur and robed with 
glory; but none of these things have melted me as the 
first sight of Free Land. Towering mountains lifting 
their hoary summits to catch the first faint flush of day 
when the sunbeams kiss the shadows from morning's 
drowsy face may expand and exalt your soul. The first 
view of the ocean may fill you with strange delight; 
Niagara — the great, the glorious Niagara — may hush 
your spirit with its ceaseless thunder, it may charm you 
with its robe of crested spray and rainbow crown, but 
the land of Freedom was a lesson of deeper significance 
than foaming waves or towering mounts." 



10 WOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. 

While in Ohio, in autunni, i860, the subject of our 
sketch was married to Mr. Fentou Harper, a resident of 
that State. She had laid by some means, with which she 
purchased a farm and soon went into her own home 
after marriage. She still remained a strong anti-slavery 
advocate, and despite domestic duties she continued her 
literary pursuits at times, and during this period produced 
some of her best works. 

May 23, 1864, death came as a swift messenger and 
called from her side her husband. Still she was 
undaunted, and like a warrior continued to fight the 
great enemy of her country — Slavery; she fought him to 
the end. 

She had full confidence in God as intending to bring 
about just such results from the war as would free the 
bonded slaves. She watched every step the great and 
bloodv struo^ole made, and once in a letter to a friend 
said: "And yet I am not uneasy about the results of this 
war. We may look upon it as God's controversy with 
the nation. His arising to plead by fire and blood the 
cause of His poor, needy people. Some time since 
Breckinridge, in writing to Sumner, asks, if I rightly 
remember, ' What is the fate of a few negroes to me or 
mine?' Bound up in one great bundle of humanity, our 
fates seem linked together, our destiny entwined with 
theirs, and our rights are interwoven together." 

She still trusted, for she had, by long experience, 
learned to "labor and to wait." She labored, she 
prayed, she trusted, and sure, as God always does on the 
side of the right, the war ended and the slaves were 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 11 

free, for Ivincoln's proclamation had sounded the death 
knell to the cursed institution at the door of every slave- 
holder. The door had opened and the light had shone 
in. Who can tell the millions of hearts that leaped for 
joy? Praise God, the war ended, the slaves are free, and 
now the burdens of education and justice before the law 
fall upon the shoulders of this great and good woman. 

How shall I best elevate them and how shall they get 
their rights? seemed to have been two of the questions 
that now confronted Mrs. Harper. She set out and for 
a good part of several years traveled through the South, 
visited them in their homes and speaking to them from 
the public rostrum, and never, through fear of any con- 
sequence whatever, allowed herself to disappoint an 
audience. 

In joke a friend wrote her from Philadelphia as to 
her being bought out by the Rebels. She replied as 
follows: "Now in reference to being bought by Rebels 
and becoming a Johnsonite, I hold that between the 
white people and the colored there is a community of 
interests, and the sooner they find it out the better it 
will be for both parties; but that community of interests 
does not consist in increasing the privileges of one class 
and curtailing the rights of the other, but in getting 
every citizen interested in the welfare, progress and 
durability of the State. I do not, in lecturing, confine 
myself to the political side of the question. While I am 
in favor of universal suffrage, yet I know that the colored 
man needs something more than a vote in his hand; he 
needs to know the value of a home-life; to rightly appre- 



12 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

ciate and value the marriage relation; to know how and 
to be incited to leave behind him the old shards and 
shells of slavery and to rise in the scale of character, 
wealth and influence; like Nautilus, outgrowing his 
home to build for himself more stately temples of social 
condition. A man landless, ignorant and poor may use 
the vote against his interests, but with intelligence and 
land he holds in his hand the basis of power and elements 
of streno-th." 

During this long journey through the South Mrs. 
Harper was ever mindful of the virtue and character of 
our women. She well knew the abuses they had suf- 
fered, the wrongs that they had endured, the advantages 
that had been taken of them when they were not 
allowed, under the cursed and cruel lash, to utter a mur- 
muring word in self-defense. Now it was just and 
proper for some strong friend to remind them that they 
had rights which all men should respect; that as free peo- 
ple they could be a moral people only when the women 
were respected and treated as moral beings. This she 
seems to have been anxious to have them do; hence she 
wrote as follows from Georgia: "But really my hands are 
almost constantly full of work; sometimes I speak twice 
a day. Part of my lectures are given privately to 
women, and for them I never make any charge, or take 
up any collection. But this part of the country reminds 
me of heathen ground, and though my work may not be 
recognized as part of it used to be in the North, yet 
never, perhaps, were my services more needed; and, 
according to their intelligence and means, perhaps never 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 13 

better appreciated than here among these lowly people. 
I am now going to have a private meeting with the 
women of this place if they will come ont. I am going 
to talk with them about their daughters, and about 
things connected with the welfare of the race. Now is 
the time for our women to begin to try to lift up their 
heads and plant the roots of progress under the hearth- 
stone. " 

Up to the time she returned to Philadelphia Mrs. 
Harper continued to write and discuss the condition of 
the ex-slave. She worked in home, in church, in Sun- 
day-schools and on the public rostrum North and South; 
she was the constant advocate of the rights of an 
oppressed people. 

Mrs. Harper has been one of our most energetic tem- 
perance workers, and has held sway with the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union as no other Afro-American 
woman has ever done. Her work in this respect has 
given the race great prestige before the world. 

A great and profound writer in both prose and poetry, 
a lecturer of no ordinary tact and ability, a master-hand 
at whatever she applies herself, she still lives at the 
time of this w^riting. Her pen is ever at work; her 
writings are many and varied. 



14 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION 



CHAPTER III. 



MISS HALLIE OUIXX BROWN. 



In the onward march of Christianity, with its civilizing 
influence as well as its saving power, we know of no better 
index to its real effect upon man than the high esteem 
in which he holds woman, and the estimation he places 




HALLIE QUIXX BROWX. 

upon her as an agency \n purifying and preserving hnmaJi 
society. As he rates her, just so the world rates him, and 
as she is appreciated and encouraged, so he is elevated and 
strengthened. 



WOMEN OF J)lSTIX(T]OX. \r> 

What is true in this respect of a inan as a part of a 
race may also, to an extent, be true of tlie whole race. 

The Afro- American is moving in the line of march 
with other civilized races in that he is placing upon the 
women of the race their merited worth. Among the 
class of highly distinguished women is the subject of 
this sketch, Hallie Q. Brown, who was formerly of Pitts- 
burg, Pa., but while quite young her parents made their 
abode upon a farm near Chatham, Canada. While still 
very young, in 1868, she began a course of study in 
Wilberforce College, State of Ohio, the present residence 
of her parents, "Homewood Cottage,'' from which she 
graduated in 1873 with the degree of B. S. 

I quote below a very unique description of her early 
life on the memorable old farm near Chatham, Canada: 

A traveler passing by a country farm house, a few miles from Chat- 
ham, Canada, a few years ago, might have seen a little girl of eight or 
nine summers mounted upon a colt without bridle or girth, hair given 
to the winds to be tossed, dashing up a lane to the pasture. There he 
would have seen her dismount and hastily perform the duties of dairy- 
maid, first calling each cow by name, and inquiring the health of each 
or making some playful remark. The milking finished, she now goes 
through the programme that absorbs her whole attention, having risen 
before an}- other one of the household so that she could not be seen. 
She jumps upon a stump or log and delivers an address to the audience 
of cows, sheep, birds, etc. Neither knowing nor caring what she says, 
she goes through her harangue, earnestly emphasizing by arm gesture 
and occasionally b}" a stamp of the foot. She has a separate speech 
for the larger animals, and special addresses to the lambs, ducklings 
and any other juvenile auditors that happen to be near. Having 
exhausted her vocabulary-, she begins a conversation in the language of 
the horse, cow, sheep, goose, rooster, or bird, until each is imitated ; 
then bidding adieu to her pet auditors, she remounts her prancing 
steed and canters back to the house. This is her daily morning pro- 



16 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

gramme. She supposed all along that her secret was locked in her own 
breast. But a farm hand saw her one morn by chance, himself unob- 
served, and 'twas a secret no longer. Nor did she realize her "ridiculous 
capers," as she has called it since, until she had grown to young woman- 
hood. Who can sa}- but that propitious Fate had her then in drill in 
order to develop the powers of her soul so that she might make a por- 
tion of mankind happier b}' the instruction and amusement she should 
furnish? "Who was this little girl," ask 3-ou? The subject of this 
sketch — Miss Hallie O. Brown. 

Ill full sympathy with her brethren in the South in 
those dark days, she could not be happy in the comfort- 
able home which she left to take charge of the work 
that rested most heavily upon her as a duty. She first 
taught a country school in South Carolina and at the 
same time a class of old people, whom she greatly aided 
in the study of the Bible; after this she went to Missis- 
sippi, where she also had charge of a school. The house 
in which she taught was built of logs, cracks all open, 
window-glass all out. In cold, windy weather comfort was 
a stranger. After fruitless appeals for repairs she 
determined to try her own hand. "She secured the 
willino^ service of two of her lars^er bovs. She mounted 
one mule and the two bo3's another, and thus they rode 
to the gin-mill. They got cotton seed, returned, mixed 
it with earth, which formed a plastic mortar, and with 
her own hands she pasted up the chinks, and ever after 
smiled at the unavailing attacks of wind and weather." 
After much success here she was employed as teacher at 
Yazoo City, where she remained awhile and then, on 
account of the condition of the South at that time, 
returned North. She was then secured as teacher in 
Dayton, Ohio, where she served four years, but on 



Norft) Cerrolrna Stale library 

Raieigh 
WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 17 

account of bad healtli had to resign, and afterwards 
traveled in the interest of Wiberforce University, lectur- 
ing with marked success, and was particularly welcomed 
at Hampton Normal School in Virginia. Now, having 
been engaged in school-teaching North and South in 
which there was much of the missionary spirit, and hav- 
ing also completed a course in elocution, she served several 
years as an important factor in "The Wilberforce Grand 
Concert Company," which also traveled in the interest 
of that well-known institution. 

From the day of graduation at the famous Wilberforce 
University she has continued to grow in public favor 
and popularity as one greatly eminent in her chosen 
profession; entering so fully into the real spirit of the 
author, and making such vivid descriptions, that she 
renders perfectly the idea of the writer, as the following 
will show: 

The greatest compliment ever paid to Miss Brown, at least the one 
she doubtless appreciates the most, was received under the following 
circumstances: While at Appleton, Wis., she recited, among other 
selections, "How He Saved St. Michaels." After the concert a lady 
came forward, requesting to be introduced to the elocutionist. The 
Rev. F. vS. Stein then introduced to Miss Brown Mrs. Dr. Stansbury, 
the author of "HoW He Saved St. Michaels." Madam Stansbury 
grasped the hand of the elocutionist and exclaimed, "Miss Brown, I 
have never heard that piece so rendered before." This notwithstand- 
ing a famous reader, a few weeks before, had given the same selection 
there, and advertised by announcing that she would render Mrs. Stans- 
bury's famous poem. Miss Brown was confused. She did not even 
know the lady lived in the State, and did not dream of her presence in 
the house, hence she was taken completely by surprise, nor would she 
have attempted to give it had she heard of the presence of the 
authoress. The compliment was all the more appreciated because 
every elocutionist who visits that section renders "St. Michaels." 

2 



18 WOMEN OF DISTIXCTIOX. 

She is a proniinent member of the A. ]\I. E. Church; 
also a member of the "King's Daughters." "Human 
Rights League," and the ''Isabella Association." 

She has served as lady-principal at Allen University 
and traveled extensively soliciting aid for the same. 
While on this tour the Chicago Bee said of her: 

Miss Hallie O. Brown delivered a soul-stirriug lecture at the Bethesda 
Baptist Church last Sunday evening to a large audience. She is with- 
out douht a fine sf)eaker. The audience was held spell-lx)und from 
beginning to end. and her able, forcible and earnest remarks provoked 
frequent applause. Miss Brown is a graduate of Wilberforce Uni- 
versitv". and has been engaged in educational work for sixteen years. 
She is now giving a series of lectures throughout the North in aid of 
the Allen University at Columbia. S. C. in helping to erect a new 
building for that institution. 

She was elected as instructor in elocution and litera- 
ture at Wilberforce University, but declined in order to 
accept a position at Tuskegee. 

In iSS6 she graduated from Chautauqua, X. Y. , and 
in 1887 received the degree of M. S. from her Alma 
Matet\ being the first female thus honored. 

Wherever she has gone there her impress has been 
left as a pleasant reminder. The honors that have been 
heaped upon her, a knowledge of her own influence and 
ability, her excellence as a speaker before the public and 
as an elocutionist at large, the encomiums of the public 
press and the voice of the people, have not turned her 
head. 

Meek as a lamb, gentle, kind, sociable and pure, 
yet eloquent, proficient, popular and progressive, ]\Iiss 
Brown is not only a public speaker and an elocu- 



WOMEN OF DLSTIXrnoX. IJ) 

tionist of great note, but possesses poetical ability of 
rare excellence as well. Her poem of fifteen verses, 
'A: Eventide it Shall be Light/' composed in one hour, 
from 12:30 to 1:30 A. M., at the time of her father's 
death, is indeed ver\' excellent and wouM do credit, f/ue 
credit, to any American poet. The poem closes with 
the following two verses in a most pathetic manner: 

Hr le:': :':_-.: te^rraent, that hoase of clay. 

Ke tool;, iliai spirit, bright and fair as day. 

The cne we bore to yonder "city of the dead," 

The other, clothed immortal, dwells with Christ our head. 

O when that "Day of God"' shall come. 

When we shall hear the happy sonnd, " Well done." 

In joy we'll sweep through gates of light. 

With souls all pure and garments white. 

The following are a few of the many press notices of 
her ability and popularity : 

Miss Hallie O. Brown, the elocutionist, who has always been a great 
favorite with Xenia audiences, was cheered to the echo, and in some 
of her pieces was really interrupted by the continuous applause. She 
certainly excels in her character delineations and varied modulations 
of tone three-fourths of the elocutionists on the stage. — Daily Gazette^ 
Xenia^ O. 

!M:s5 Hallie O- Brown, the elocutionist with the company, was loudly 
applauded. Many credit Miss Brown with being one of the best elo- 
cutionists before the public. — Indianapolis Times. 

Miss Brown the elocutionist, is a phenomenon, and deserves the 
highest praise. She is a talented lady, and deserves all the encomiums 
that she receives. — The Daily Sun, J^incenneSy Ind. 

The select reading of Miss Hallie O. Brown was very fine. From 
grave to gay, from tragic to comic, with a great variation of themes 
and humors, she seemed to succeed in all, and her renderings were the 
spice of the night's performance. — Monitor. Marion^ Illinois. 



20 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

We must sa}' the capacity of Miss Hallie O. Brown to entertain au 
audience is wonderful.— Wi-CoiifiJy Reporter., Gosport, Ind. 

^Nliss Brown's recitals will compare favorably with many of the 
female elocutionists who are classed with Mrs. vScott Siddons and others 
of lesser note. — Vincennes Daily Coimnercial. 

Never in the history of Birmingham have the colored people dis- 
played more intelligence and showed such appreciation for literary 
ability by the coming together of the best element of the race at St. 
John's Methodist Church last night, to hear and do honor to Miss 
Hallie Ouinu Brown, the noted elocutionist. Miss Brown has few 
equals in her chosen art. Her manner of delivery is ver}- charming 
and graceful, while her gestures are perfect. Fully eight hundred 
people were present. Miss Brown may well consider this one of the 
greatest testimonials ever tendered her in the South. — Age-Herald, 
Birmingham^ Ala. 

The greeting received by Miss Brown was very enthusiastic. The 
famous elocutionist recited with the greatest power and pathos "The 
G3'psy Girl," which was received with the liveliest demonstrations of 
approval. As an encore she upset the equinimity of the audience by 
her inimitable lecture on "Apples." Miss Brown acquitted herself in 
two other recitations in a manner that showed her elocutionary powers 
in the highest degree. — Savannah^ Ga. 

Miss Hallie Q. Brown is, without exception, the finest elocutionist 
that ever appeared in this city. — News and Courier, Charleston, S. C. 

Miss Hallie Q. Brown has a fine voice well cultivated; a pleasing 
stage presence, and the freshest repertoire of au}^ reader we have had 
here. — Niles, Mich. 

Miss H. O. Brown, the elocutionist, ranks as one of the finest in the 
country. — Daily News, Urbana, O. 

The select reading of Miss H. Q. Brown is done to perfection. She 
has an excellent voice and has good control of it. She makes every 
piece sound as if it were the author speaking, and in many of them 
doubtless she excels the one she imitates. — A^<?<?^«, ///. 

Miss Hallie Q. Brown, a general favorite at Island Park, rendered in 
her inimitable style "The Creed of the Bells." A prolonged encore 
followed. — Island Park ''Assembly. ' ' 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. 21 

Her style is pure and correct; her selections excellent. The "Fifty 
Miles an Hour" made one thrill, it was so very impressive. —A c;/^ 
Branch {N. J.) News. 

Miss Brown displa^'ed remarkable powers of pathos and dramatic 
elocution. "'^ "^' '"" Her excellent dramatic talent was displayed to 
the best advantage in the selection entitled "The Sioux Chief's Daugh- 
ter." The audience was the largest ever gathered at a public enter- 
tainment in that place. — Nezuport (/?. /.) Nezvs. 

The readings of Miss H. Q. Brown confer a histrionic glow upon the 
colored race. She is the superior of nine out of ten elocutionists 
before the public. — Her description of "The Bells" is a masterpiece of 
elocutionary art which will withstand the severest and most cultivated 
criticism. Her prolongation of the tones of the bells is a w^ondcrful 
representation of the poet's lines. Miss Brown's selections were all 
of a difficult order, and exhibited great versatility and ability to reach 
in most of them a still better execution, — Daily Republican., Emporia, 
Kans. 

Of the recitations of Miss Hallie Q. Brov*^n too much cannot be said. 
As a reader she is the peer of any professional in the land. — Richmond 
{I}id.) Paladium. 

Miss Brown in her elocution is unquestionabl}^ brilliant. Her 
"Fifty Miles an Hour," descriptive of Mrs. Garfield's ride to Wash- 
ington when her husband was shot, was given with that generous touch 
of w^omanlj^ feeling that made it the gem of the entertainment. — 
Miaina Helmet, Piqua, O. 

But the crowning feature of the compau}^ is the elocutionist, Miss 
Hallie Q. Brown. Nothing finer in elocution has been heard in this 
city, with no exception or reservation in favor of other eminent elo- 
cutionists who have appeared in this city. She is capable of touching 
every chord of emotion, equally effective in pathos and humor. The 
intonations of her voice are as exquisite as those of an seolian harp, 
and as melodious as music itself, and in dramatic fervor and power of 
dramatic expression Miss Brown is inimitable. What, for instance, 
can be more melodious and touching than her recitation of the Church 
Bells, or what more genuinely humorous than the recitation of the 
original piece called The Apple. Miss Brown cannot fail of establish- 
ing for herself a national reputation at no distant day. — Republican, 
Xenia, Ohio. 



22 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

WiLBERFORCE, OHIO. — To whom it may concern : This is to certify 
that Miss Hallie Quinn Brown, as a graduate from Wilberforce Univer- 
sity, has excelled as an elocutionist, and in our judgment she has no 
equal in the West. If she has we have never seen nor heard of the 
person. We all honor and love her on account of her upright conduct 
ever since she left the halls of Wilberforce. We commend her to the 
esteem and patronage of all who know her. 

(Bishop) DanieIv Ai^exander Payne. 

Washington, D. C. — I heartily concur in the above, and wish Miss 
Brown success in our community and elsewhere. 

(Bishop) John M. Brown. 

W^ILBERFORCE, Ohio, October 8, 1888. — To whom it may concern: I 
take great pleasure in bearing testimony to the moral, religious and pro- 
fessional character of Miss Hallie Q. Brown. She is an elocutionist, an 
excellent teacher of the art of expression, and bears the reputation of 
always improving her pupils. Any one who follows her instruction 
will speak with ease, energ}^, elegance and variety of pitch and rate of 
the voice. Whatever you may do to assist her will be considered a 
personal favor. 

I am yours for God and the race, 

(Bishop) Benj. W. Arnett. 

Miss Hallie Q. Brown, elocutionist of the Wilberforce Concert Com- 
pany, has the distinguished honor of being the teacher in the depart- 
ment of elocution at the Monona Lake Assembly, and is meeting with 
great '?axq,q.qs^.— Correspondence Cleveland Gazette. 

-:'r * ^ -X- Miss Hallie O. Brown was decidedly entertaining in 
her efforts in elocution. She "brought down the house" on various 
occasions, and had to respond repeatedly to the spontaneous calls of 
the vast audience. — ''Monona Lake Assembly^'''' Aladison {Wis.') 
Daily Democrat. 

Miss Hallie Q. Brown, teacher of elocution, was tendered a hand- 
some benefit at Masonic Temple by the members of her class. The 
entertainment consisted of music, recitations and tableaux, and was 
witnessed by an audience that not only filled the house from parquette 
to the gallery, but was as enthusiastic as it was large in numbers. The 
various parts of the programme were rendered in a manner somewhat 
surprising to those who have taken little note of the progress of the 




MRS. N. F. MOSSELL. 



AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 2.'5 

colored people of Louisville, and the talent displayed is most worthy of 

mention. 

* % -K- * -;:- * ^^ * -X- -^ 

At the conclusion of the programme President Simmons, of the 
State Baptist University, appeared on the stage and offered the follow- 
ing resolution, which was put to a vote of the audience and unani- 
mously adopted: 

''/Resolved, That we, the citizens of Louisville, in concert assembled, 
hereby express our heartfelt appreciation of the high order of talent 
displayed b}' Miss Hallie O. Brown, our distinguished guest and emi- 
nent teacher in elocution, and hereby thank her for the rich and rare 
treat furnished by thepupilsof her training." — Courier-Journal, Louis- 
ville, Ky. 

Prof W. F. Sherwin, of New England Conservatory, Boston, Mass., 
says: "Miss Hallie Q. Brown has few superiors as a refined reader and 
a careful trainer in the art of elocution and oratory." ^ 



CHAPTER IV. 

MRS. N. F. MOSSELIv. 

A heart true as steel; a manner witliout affectation or 
reserve; at once sincere and direct; a plump, compactly 
built body, five feet higli; a symmetrical head and speak- 
ing countenance; eyes which dance with fun, or are elo- 
quent with tender feeling; a musical laugh, a bright, 
cheery personality that looks determined on the bright 
side of life; a keen sense of the humorous and ridicu- 
lous, yet a nature bubbling over with the milk of human 
kindness; a shrewed business woman, yet counting no 
labor too arduous for the comfort of those she loves; a 



24 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

woman who is intensely interested in her race and sex 
and who has done more varied newspaper work than any 
other woman of her race in the conntry. This, gentle 
reader, is Mrs. N. F. Mossell, of Philadelphia, Pa. The 
ancestors of Mrs. Mossell, for three generations, were 
Philadelphians. Her parents, Charles and Emily Bns- 
tell, were raised in the faith of the Society of Friends, 
bnt they afterward joined the Presbyterian Chnrch. 

Her mother dying when she was an infant, Gertrnde 
and her sister were reared without the tender knowledo-e 
of a mother's care. She attended the schools established 
by the Friends, also pnblic schools, especially the Robert 
Vaux Grammar School, of which the noted Jacob C. 
White was teacher. While a pupil at this school she 
read an essay on "Influence " at commencement exer- 
cises which attracted the attention of Hon. Isaiah Wears 
and Bishop, then Doctor, B. T. Tanner. This essay was 
published in the Christian Recorder^ of which Bishop 
Tanner was then editor. Leaving school at seventeen, 
she taught the Terry Road School, Cauiden, N. J., for 
one year; then the Wilmot School, at Frankford, a sub- 
urb of Philadelphia, for seven years. This work she 
gave up to marry Dr. N. F. Mossell, of Lockport, N. Y. 
During this time she contributed essays, stories and 
poems to the Recorder^ the publication of which stamped 
them of unusual merit, as Dr. Tanner's literary stand- 
ard was well known to be the most critical of all the 
Afro-American editors. Four years after marriage she 
assumed charge of the Woman'' s Department of The 
New York Age^ and Philadelphia Echo. She has writ- 
ten for the Alumni Magazine and the A. M. E. Review 



WOMEN OF DLSTINOTION. 25 

of her native city, the Indianapolis Worlds and other 
race journals. For seven years she wrote specials and 
reported for the Prcss^ Times and Inquirer^ the three 
most influential dailies of Philadelphia. 

The past two years have brought increasing household 
cares. Her two orowino- daus^hters and her hus- 
band's large office practice leave her little time for lit- 
erary or newspaper work. Yet, even now, she finds 
time to edit the Woman's Department of the Indian- 
apolis World. So great is her love for the work I pre- 
dict she will vet find time to o:ive the literarv world 
somethino- more substantial and tano'ible than it has vet 
had from her pen. She has a rare collection of race 
literature, among which are two of the oldest books pub- 
lished concerning the race. They are, "An Inquiry 
Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties and 
Literature of Negroes," by Abbe Gregorie, and "A 
Narrative of Gustavus Vassa, by Himself" She has 
also a copy of the original edition of Phillis Wheatley's 
poems. 

Most of Mrs. Mossell's literary w^ork having been done 
since her marriao-e and with the care of home and chil- 

o 

dren, what an inspiration and incentive her life should 
be to the young woman of literary tastes and aspirations! 
The race needs more of forceful, earnest, able workers 
like Mrs. Mossell in the literary field. The harvest 
truly is great, but the laborers are few. How many will 
forsake indolence, ease and pleasure, and gathering inspi- 
ration from the work of such pioneers will answer the call 
to work and go gleaning in the literary field? 

"lOLA." 



2() M^OiAIEN OF DISTINCTION. 

CHAPTER V. 
MADAM FLORA BATSON BERGEN. 

(" QUEEN OF SONG "). 

Flora Batson was born in Washington, D. C. , in 1865. 
While but a babe her father died from wounds received 
in the war. When three years of age, with her mother, 
she w^ent to Providence, R. I., where she attended school 
and also studied music till she was thirteen. At this 
very early age she entered upon her professional career, 
traveling extensively and singing two years for Stoerer's 
College at Harper's Ferry, W. Va. ; three years for the 
People's Church of Boston; one year in Redpath's Lect- 
ure and Lyceum Bureau of Boston; two years in the 
temperance work under the management of Thomas 
Doutney. It was at this time, during a great temper- 
ance revival in New York, that Miss Batson sang "Six 
F>et of Earth Make Us All One Size" ninety suc- 
cessive NIGHTS in the great hall of the Masonic Temple. 
Thousands whom argument and eloquence failed to 
reach were transfixed and moved to tears (signing the 
pledge) by the magic sweetness and the irresistible 
pathos with which she clothed sermons in song. Mana- 
ger J. G. Bergen, of Star Concert fame, went to hear 
her and was at once infatuated with her voice. The 
result was that one year later he succeeded in engaging 
her services for one year. At the expiration of that year 
admiration for a great voice had grown into love for a 
noble woman, and Miss Flora Batson was married to Mr. 
J. G. Bergen, at the Sumner House in New York, 




FLORA BATSON BERGEN. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 27 

December 13, 1887. The Nezv York World ^ in a lialf- 
colunin sensational article, spoke of the marriage of the 
successful concert manager to the famous colored prima 
donna, and hundreds of papers in America and Europe 
commented on the bold defiance given to that almost 
universal American sentiment tliat says the races shall 
not intermarry. 

One week after the marriage, in the presence of a 
large audience in Philadelphia, she was crowned 
"Queen of Song," and was presented with a magnifi- 
cent crown and diadem, set with precious stones. 

A month later, at Steinway Hall, in the presence 
of over three thousand people, she was presented 
with a superb diamond cut bead necklace by the citi- 
zens of New York City. In the fall of 1888, under her 
husband's management, she commenced a tour of the 
continent which covered nearly three years, singing 
with unparalleled success in nearly every city between 
the two oceans. 

Flora Batson Bergen is a lady of fnedium size, beau- 
tiful form, modest, free from affectation; and it can be 
truthfully said of her, "Success has not turned her 
head." She cuts, fits and makes all of her magnificent 
costumes, not from necessity, but because there is no 
dress-maker in New York City who can do it as well. 

The following are some of her many splendid press 
notices: 

The colored Jenny Lind. — New York World. 
The Patti of her race. — Chicago Inter Ocean. 
The peerless mezzo-soprano. — New York Sun. 
The unrivaled favorite of the masses. — ^V. Y. Azc. 



28 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

A mezzo-soprano of wonderful range. — San Francisco Examiner. 

A sparkling diamond in the golden realm of song. — San Jose Cali- 
fornian. 

Worthy to rank among the great singers of the world. — Portland 
Oregonian. 

Her progress through the country has been one continuous triumph. 
— Denver Rocky I\Tountain News. 

All her numbers were sung without effort — as the birds sing. — 
Mobile {Ala.) Register. 

A voice of great range and of remarkable depth and purity. — 
Louisville {Ky.) Courier-Journal. 

She will never lack for an audience in the "Cit}' of Seven Hills." — 
Richmond [Va.) Planet. 

The sweetest voice that ever charmed a Virginia audience. — Lynch- 
burg ( Va.) Advance. 

Has earned the fame of being the greatest colored singer in the 
world. — Vicksburg {Miss.) Post. 

Her articulation is so perfect her renditions seem like recitations set 
to music. — Kansas City Dispatch. 

The indescribable pathos of her voice in dramatic and pathetic 
selections wrought a wondrous effect. — The Colonist [Victoria), Brit- 
ish Columbia. 

She scored a complete success as a vocalist of high ability, and fully 
justified the favorable criticisms of the Eastern press. — San Francisco 
Examiner. 

A highly cultivated mezzo-soprano, of great sweetness, power and 
compass, and of dramatic c\^2X\\.y . — Charleston {S. C.) Nezvs and 
Courier. 

She electrified the vast audience of 12,000 people at the Mormon 
Tabernacle service on Sunday by her marvelous rendition of the 27th 
Psalm. — Deseret Evening News {Salt Lake), Utah. 

In response to an encore, she gave a selection from "II Trovatore" 
in baritone, showing the extraordinary range of her voice, and pro- 
ducing a melody like the low tones of a pipe organ under a master's 
toiich. — Sa7i Diego {California) Sun. 



WOMEN OF DJSTINCrnON. 29 

She wore a crown heavily jeweled and diamonds flashed ujjon her 
hands and from her ears. Her singing at once established her claim 
of being in the front rank of star artists, and there is a greater fortune 
than that already accumulated in store for her. — Providence {R. I.) 
Dispatch. 

Flora Batson, known as the greatest colored singer in the world, 
created such a furore in Old City Hall last evening that before the pro- 
gramme was half through the excitement became so intense that cries of 
"Bravo! " w^ere heard from all parts of the house. Many people arose 
to their feet and the applause was uproarious and deafening in its 
intensity, and not only rounded out the conclusion of selections but 
broke in spontaneously at every interlude. The singer was certainly 
a marvel. Her voice showed a compass of three octaves, from the 
purest, clear-cut soprano, sweet and full, to the rich, round notes of the 
baritone register. — Pittsbiirp; {Pa.) Commercial Gazelle. 






30 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER VI. 

MRS. W. E. MATHEWS. 

("victoria eari,e"). 

This very gifted writer was born May 27th, 1861, in 
Fort Valley, Ga. , just prior to ''the breaking- out of the 
war" of the rebellion, being the youngest of nine chil- 
dren, all of whom were slaves. 




MRS. W. E. MATHEWS. 

It did not then appear to what extent the world would 
feel the influence of /ler pen and her strong moral and 
mental powers in after years. Those dark days of solici- 






WOMExN OK DISTINCTION. ;U 

tude, filled with the gravest uncertainty as to the results 
of the then much talked of war, furnished but a very 
few bright hopes of a brilliant future to this then little 
girl and her associates. However, the world was open 
to her and Providence in the lead, to support her feeble, 
honest, childish efforts. 

She left Georgia in 1869, spending about three years 
in Virginia, reaching New York in 1872, wdiere she 
entered the public schools, in which she remained four 
years only, being compelled by necessity to leave and go 
to work for the support of a widowed mother and herself. 
This must have been a oreat trial to one so vouno^ and 
so intensely fond of study. She did not stop, however, 
because of obstacles and discouragements, but pushed 
her way onward, hewing out a pathway for herself; and 
in this way she has applied her powers as a thinker and 
writer. Ten years ago she began to write stories and 
has also edited the "Household Columns" in several 
journals, and has from time to time contributed to most 
if not all of our leading Afro-American journals and 
magazines. 

She has worked on many of the New York leading 
dailies for years as a "sub," namely, The Times^ Herald, 
Mail and Express, The Earthy Sunday Mercury and 
The Phonographic Worlds and she is now writing some 
able articles for Ringivood^ s Journal of Fashion. 

Among her stories are "Aunt Lindy," "Little 
Things," "Well," "Under the Elm," "The Under- 
ground Way," "Steadfast and True," "Nettie Mills," 
"Eugenia's Mistake," "Zelika," and others of peculiar 
interest. 



;V2 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

She is now preparing for pnblication in book form an 
illnstrated story which will be followed by an historical 
story. 

She was married in 1879 ^^ W. E. Mathews, of Peters- 
bnrg, Va. , and is the mother of one child, a boy of 
twelve \ears. To say that "Victoria Earle " has already 
succeeded and stands shoulder to shoulder with most of 
her white sisters is only to tell a part of the truth. She 
indeed has but few equals, and when chances or oppor- 
tunities and environments are compared, she may safely 
be said to be the peer of her more favored sisters.- 

She stands as a living example to the very large num- 
ber of our young women who are so well acquainted 
with the trials and discouragements of a dependent life; 
and still more an example is she because by energy^ 
courage and self-reliance she has steadily developed from 
a slave-horn child of dependence to a zvoman of national 
character with recognised worth and ability. The world 
has truly felt her impress. She is in demand wherever 
she is known and is honored by the intelligent of all 
classes whose fortune it is to become acquainted with 
her noble womanly and scholarly qualities. 

The excellence of her writings is simply grand and 
encouraging. 




IDA B. WELLS. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER VII. 

IDA B. WELLS, A. M. 

One of the marvels of modern society is the lionorable 
position which woman has secnred in the affairs of man- 
kind. She is no longer a cipher; she is a positive force. 
Regnant in the home, a co-ordinate force in the move- 
ments which make for human happiness, she must reckon 
in every accurate estimate of contention or achiev^ement. 
In what manner she has arisen from the thralldom of 
ancient times is answered by the grasp which Chris- 
tianity has secured upon a large portion of mankind. 
Onl}' in Christian countries has woman secured a meas- 
ure of equality with the forceful agents that make the 
world's history. In pagan countries she is still the idol 
of the harem or the beast of burden for the peasant. 

It is a notable fact that in the anti-slavery struggle 
women contribited almost as largely as men to the mould- 
ing of public* opinion necessary to the manumission of 
the slave. Women such as Lucretia Mott, Harriet 
Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Lydia Maria Childs, 
Anna Dickinson and others were towers of strength as 
well as inspiration. The work before the Afro-American, 
comprehending the intricate problems of his relation as 
a man and citizen, I feel safe in saying will never be 
performed as it should be until we have a race of women 
competent to do more than bear a brood of negative men. 
That such a womanhood, untainted by the horrible moral 
malformation and obliquity of slave masters, is already 
a possibility we have sufficient evidence. 

3 



;U WOiAIEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Ida B. Wells, the oldest issue of James and Elizabeth 
Wells, the subject of this sketch, was born at the beau- 
tiful town of Holl\- Springs, Miss., in the midst of a 
fateful epoch. Great moral questions were uppermost 
in the public mind and discussion. In the forum of 
public prints, in the homes of the slave-holding oli- 
garchy, in the cabins of the haunted and oppressed slave, 
the one question uppermost in the minds of all was that 
of abolition of slavery. The immortal Lincoln had 
issued the most momentous proclamation ever promul- 
o^ated bv the chief executive of a oreat nation. The 
alarums of internecine strife were dying away in sub- 
dued echoes, in which the sorrows of a great people were 
commingled with abounding joys. It was a period in 
which it was well to be born, if a man is a product in 
the development of his character of contemporaneous as 
well as prenatal influences. 

The subject of this sketch was precocious in the 
acquisition of useful knowledge. When the Freedmen's 
School was established at Holly Springs she attended it 
until the building of what was then known as Shaw, 
but was subsequently Rust University. In consequence 
of the death of both parents of yellow fever, within a 
day of each other, in 1878, she was under the necessity 
of leaving school for the purpose of undertaking the sup- 
port and education of the five children, younger than 
herself, who had been so suddenly committed to her 
care. A greater responsibility could not have fallen 
upon shoulders so young and upon one less experienced 
as a bread-winner, for she had had indulgent parents, 
whose chief delight was to give their children all the 



WOMEN OF J)LSTIN("ri()N. 35 

advantages of school which had been denied them 
through a cruel and barbarous institution. How hard 
the task was and how well performed need not be dwelt 
upon here, further than to say that the two sisters are 
given every advantage possible in the way of education. 
For three vears she taug-ht in the Marshall and Tate 

■J o 

county public schools of Mississippi, attending Rust 
between the terms. She then went to Arkansas and 
taught six months in Cleveland county; then returned 
to Memphis and taught two years in the Shelby county 
public schools, resigning to take a position in the Mem- 
phis city schools in the fall of 1884, which she held for 
seven years. 

It was while teaching in Memphis that she began to 
write for the public press, appearing first in the Memphis 
Li-jing Way^ for which she wrote some time under the 
710111 de plume of "Tola." She dealt mostly with some 
one or other of the phases of the race problem, and her 
views were widely quoted by other newspapers of the 
country. She became a regular contributor for the Kan- 
sas City Gate City Press^ the Detroit Plaindealer^ the 
American Baptist^ the Christian Index^ and other race 
papers. In June, 1889, she secured a one-third interest 
in the Memphis Free Speech and became its editor. 
Messrs. Nio-hteno-ale and Flemino- the former owners of 
the paper, continued the partnership until January i, 
1892, when Rev. Nightengale sold out to Mr. Fleming 
and Miss Wells. 

Because of utterances of the Free Speech regarding 
the management of the public schools in 1891 the 
School Board decided that they could not employ so 



36 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

severe a critic; hence she was not re-elected to her posi- 
tion for the ensuing session of i89i-'92. She then gave 
her entire time to the paper, not at all deterred by the 
usual fate of race newspapers. She firmly believed that 
such a venture could be made to pay by first putting- 
something in her paper worth reading, then taking steps 
to see that it was read by placing it in the homes of the 
people. She traveled extensively in the Mississippi 
Valley, from which she wrote graphic letters descriptive 
of the country and condition of the people. She went 
into their homes and not only learned of them but 
endeared herself to them as well. Her paper became a 
household visitor throughout the valley. 

Few persons have brought more enthusiasm to their 
work than Miss Wells. She properly estimated the 
work of the race newspaper in educating the people to 
a proper conception of their rights and duties as citizens, 
and labored with an eye single to this object. The peo- 
ple seemed to feel the unselfish nobility and sustained it 
as they had never before sustained a newspaper. Of 
course it was natural that Miss Wells should take a 
strong stand against mob law. Many a sturdy blow she 
dealt upon the head of the gigantic monster. She felt 
that her life-work was in the South, where the vast 
majority of her people reside, and where she once 
expected they would always reside. At tlie highest 
point of her enthusiasm in the work, with prosperity 
crowning her labors on all hands, there came a rude 
awakening, a terrible shock, and the foundation of her 
confidence was destroyed forever. On March 9, 1892, 
there occurred in Memphis a tragedy which threw the 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. ^7 

whole city into a ferment of the wildest excitement and 
despair. Three reputable members of the race had been 
confined in the county jail for defending themselves and 
property from an attack by white ruffians masquerading 
in citizens clothes as officers of the law. Several of 
these ruffians had been wounded. A mob of white ruf- 
fians proceeded to the jail and securing the three Afro- 
Americans did them to death. Panic seized upon the 
people. Confidence in the legal machinery of county 
and State was undermined and many began to move 
away from the mob-infected city, encouraged thereto by 
the I^ree Speech and the ministers of the gospel. 

After these brutal murders the white papers of Mem- 
phis, in the mad effort to placate the mob sentiment, 
teemed with the vilest utterances that ever disgraced the 
freedom of speech. They wrought the white masses to 
a state of absolute frenzy. It was in this state of the 
public temper that a paragraph in the Free Speech was 
taken by a daily paper and distorted into an excuse for 
calling on the white citizens to mob the proprietors of 
Free Speech. To this end a meeting was held. The 
business manager of the paper fled for his life, and Miss 
Wells, the editor, who was in Philadelphia at the time, 
was warned that she could not return to the city without 
danger to her life. 

As in the old days at Alton, 111., her splendid business 
was destroyed, the voice of a brave champion of right, 
justice and law was silenced in the home of oppression, 
and free speech, which John Milton has made the heri- 
tage of Anglo-Saxon-speaking races, was strangled to 
death. The concerted attempt of many Southern white 



38 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

men to put a padlock on the lips of freedom of speech 
will prevail no more in the case of Miss Wells than in 
the case of Elijah lyovejoy at Alton, and of William I^loyd 
Garrison in Baltimore. The Genius of Universal Eman- 
cipation is the voice of God, and cannot be stifled. The 
snppression of Miss Wells' newspaper at Memphis pos- 
sibly marked a well-defined period in the contention npon 
which we have entered to wTCSt from wicked men the 
jnstice denied ns as men and citizens, and she should 
consider it an honor that such a calamity came upon 
her in the prosecution of a cause so sacred. No history 
of the Afro-American of the future will be complete in 
which this woman's work has not a place. From the 
vantaoe orround of New York, and associated with the 
Age^ the splendid work she began in the South Miss 
Wells hopes to continue until the victory is won. The 
extensive statement made by her in the Neiv York Age 
of June 25, 1892, of the reasons which led to the sus- 
pension of her newspaper, and as an exhaustive state- 
ment of the true causes of Ivnch and mob law, was one 
of the clearest, most convincing and most pathetic expo- 
sitions of fact made in recent times to the voluminous 
discussion of the race problem. It created a veritable 
sensation, and was referred to and discussed in hundreds 
of newspapers and thousands -of homes. It is a historic 
document, full of the pathos of awful truth. 

Although not a graduate, because of reasons previ- 
ously stated, Rust University conferred upon Miss Wells 
the degree of Master of Arts at the commencement 
exercises of 1892. 



WOMEN OF I)ISTIN(TIOX. 39 

x\s a writer Miss Wells lacks in the beauties and 
graces affected by acaniedicians. Her style is one of 
great strength and directness. She is so much in earn- 
est that there is almost an entire absence of the witty 
and humorous in what she writes. She handles her 
subjects more as a man than as a woman; indeed, she 
has so Iouq: had the manaoement of a lar^e home and 
business interests that the sharpness of wit and self- 
possession which characterize men of affairs are hers in 
a large measure. 

Few women have a higher conception of the responsi- 
bilities and tlie possibilities of her sex than Miss Wells. 
She has all of a woman's tenderness in all that affects 
our common humanity, but she has also the courage of 
the great women of the past who believed that they 
could still be womanly while being more than ciphers 
in ''the world's broad field of battle. " 

There is scarcely any reason why this woman, young 
in years and old in experience, shall not be found in the 
forefront of the "Teat intellectual f o-ht in which the 
race is now engaged for absolute right and justice under 
the Constitution. No other woman of the race occu- 
pies to-day a better position to do good w^ork, or is more 
generously endowed to perform it. Strong in her devo- 
tion to race, strong in the affections of her people, and 
strong in the estimation of influential men, co-workers 
with her in the cause, with all the future hers, if she 
fails to impress her personality upon the time in which 
she lives, whose fault will it be? 

T. Thomas Fortune. 



40 AV():\IEX OF DTSTIXCTION. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

JOSEPHINE A. SILONE-YATES. 

]\Irs. Josepliine Yates, youngest daugliter of Alexander 
and Parthenia Reeve-Silone, was born in 1859, in IMatti- 
tuck, Suffolk county, New York, where her parents, 
grandparents and great-grandparents were long and 
favorable known as individuals of sterling worth, morallv, 
intellectually and physically speaking. On the maternal 
side 'Mrs. Yates is a niece of the Rev. J. B. Reeve, 
D. D., of Philadelphia, a sketch of whose life appears 
in '' ]\Ien of Mark." 

]\Irs. Si lone, a woman of whose noble, self-sacrificing- 
life of piety from early youth to her latest hours volumes 
might be written, began the work of educating her 
daughter Josephine in her quiet Chistian liome, conse- 
crating her to the Lord in infauc\', and earnestly praying 
that above all else the life of her child might be a useful 
one. Possessed herself of a fair education, she well 
knew the value of intellectual development, and spared 
no pains to surround her daughter with all possible 
means of improvement; the latter, now grown to woman- 
hood, delights to relate that the earliest event of which 
she has any distinct remembrance is of that sainted 
mother's taking her upon her knee and teaching her to 
read from the Bible, by requiring her to call the words 
after her as she pointed them out. 

Josephine was sent to school at an early age and had 
already been so well advanced by her mother in reading. 




JOSEPHINE A. SILONE-YATES. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCrriON. 41 

writing and arithmetic that slie was at once admitted to 
one of the higher classes of the district school, and 
becajLise of her eagerness and readiness to learn soon 
became a favorite with her teachers, although the only 
colored pupil in the school. She possessed an excellent 
memory, good reasoning powers, and at the age of nine 
was stud3'ing physiology and physics, and was well 
advanced in mathematics. 

Through the kindness of a Mrs. Horton, her Sunday- 
school teacher, jShe had access to a large and well-selected 
library for young people, and in all probability thus 
acquired an additional taste for literature, which was 
undoubtedly, primarily, a natural inheritance from her 
ancestors; be this as it may, an ambition to write, and 
a corresponding love for the best things in literature, 
began to assert itself at an early period. Her school- 
girl efforts at comiposition were favorably commented 
upon by her teachers; and while yet in her ninth year 
she wrote a story which she sent to one of the prominent 
New York weeklies. The manuscript was returned, it 
is true, but was accompanied by a letter of such kind 
encouragement and suggestion that it served to increase 
rather than to diminish her ambition. 

At the age of eleven the Rev. Dr. Reeve, feeling that 
her desire for knowledge should have better opportuni- 
ties for fulfillment than could be obtained in a district 
school, very kindly invited her to his home in Philadel- 
phia that she might attend the institute conducted by 
Mrs. Fannie Jackson-Coppin. Here, for the first time, 
brought in contact with a large number of cultured per- 



42 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

sons of her own race in the home, church and school, 
she received a new and stronger inspiration for the 
acquisition of knowledge. Rapid progress was .made 
during this school year. Mrs. Coppin, who has ever 
since been deeply interested in her welfare, still often 
refers to her as a brilliant example of what a girl may do. 

The year following the Rev. Dr. Reeve was called to 
Washington to accept the chair of theology in Howard 
University, and Miss Si lone returned to her home, but 
did not give up studying. A year later Mrs. Francis h. 
Girard, of Newport, Rhode Island, her maternal aunt, 
a lady well known for moral and intellectual strength of 
character, and revered by many students because of her 
hospitality and benevolence, made her a proposition 
which was accepted; and in her fourteenth year she 
went to Newport and became a resident of that beautiful 
"City by the Sea." Here she entered the highest grade 
of the grammar school, and maintaining her usual schol- 
arship, the only colored pupil in the school at the time, 
she attracted the attention of Colonel T. W. Higgin- 
son, then a citizen of Newport and a prominent member 
of the School Board; of the Hon. George T. Downing, 
through whose untiring efforts the doors of the public 
schools of Rhode Island were thrown open to all with- 
out regard to race or color; of Thomas Coggeshall, 
Chairman of the School Board; of Rev. Dr. Thayer and 
wife, and many other persons of distinction. 

The year following she entered the Rogers High 
School, of Newport, an institution which takes foremost 
rank among the schools of the land. Taking the four 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 43 

years' course in three, she graduated in the class of 1877, 
delivering the valedictory address and receiving the Nor- 
man medal for scholarship. She had the honor to be 
the first colored graduate of the above mentioned school, 
and here, as in the other schools which she attended, 
gained the love and admiration of her teachers by her 
demeanor and devotion to her studies. Her instructor 
in science considered her his brightest pupil, and espe- 
cially commended her for her work in chemistry, a 
study in which she was particularly interested (although, 
if it were not paradoxical, it might be said that she was 
particularly interested in each study), and by doing addi- 
tional laboratory work at odd hours under the guidance 
of her instructors became quite an efficient and practical 
chemist. 

On graduating from the High School she was urged 
to take a university course. All of her own purely personal 
desires and inclinations led her that way, but from the 
beginning it had been her purpose to fit herself for teach- 
ing, and, if possible, to be not an artisan, but an artist 
in the profession; therefore, after reflecting calmly upon 
the matter, taking the advice of Colonel Higginson and 
other staunch friends, she decided to take a full course 
in the Rhode Island State Normal School. She was 
already well known in the capacity of an earnest student 
to the principal. Professor James C. Greenough, and 
found him and his able corps of teachers very willing to 
assist her to gain what she needed in the line of prepara- 
tion for her professional career. In 1879, the only col- 
ored scholar in a large class, she graduated with honor 



t , . "t 



V^' 



■ .' »■ ^ 



44 • WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 

from the Normal School. While attending this institu- 
tion she entered a teachers' examination in Newport 
with sixteen Anglo-Saxon candidates, and came out of 
it with a general average of 94^ per cent. This, while 
not exceptionally high, was, according to official state- 
ment, the highest average that had, up to date, been 
gained in that city in a teachers' examination. A regu- 
lation certificate duly signed was given her, the first 
time that anything of this kind had occurred in the his- 
tory of Rhode Island. 

In the fall of 1879 she began her life-work as a teacher, 
and ten consecutive years were thus spent in an enthu- 
siastic and self-sacrificing manner. Bight of these years 
were spent in Ivincoln Institute, Jefferson City, Missouri, 
to which institution she was called by Professor Inman 
E. Page soon after he became its official head. He had 
been made acquainted with her success as a student 
through her former instructors. She was at once put 
in charge of chemistry and succeeded so well with this 
and other scientific branches assigned her that eventu- 
ally the entire department of natural science was 
turned over to her. At the time of her resignation she 
was Professor of Natural Science in the before mentioned 
institution, at a salary of one thousand dollars per school 
year, and was, at that time, probably the only colored 
lady in the country holding such a position. During 
this entire period her summers were invariably spent in 
the East, where, seizing every opportunity offered by 
teachers' associations, summer schools and individual 
effort, she endeavored to find out the best methods by 



WOMEN OF DLSTIiNCTRW.^ X^^^^^^^lf. 

which to present the subjects she taught. It was not 
long- before her work as teacher and author became well 
known to the public. It attracted, among others, the 
attention of such well-known educators as President 
Mitchell, of Wilberforce, Booker T. Wasliington, of 
Tuskegee, and the late Miss Briggs, of Washington. 
In 1886, Mr. Washington, feeling that she was just the 
one needed for the work in Tuskegee, urged her to 
become lady-principal of that institution, but, after 
o-ivino; the matter careful thouo'ht, she decided to remain 
at Lincoln Institute. 

In 1889 she resigned her position in this institution to 
become the wufe of Professor W. U. Yates, Principal 
of Wendell Phillips School, Kansas City, Missouri. 
Mrs. Yates carried with her the love of the pupils and 
patrons, the best wishes of President Page and the 
Board of Regents, and all felt that in parting with her 
they were losing the services of an able and enthusiastic 
educator. 

Mrs. Yates has many friends among the colored and 
v/hite citizens of Kansas City, wdiere she w^as well known 
in educational circles before her marriaire. Previous to 
this event she had, on request, read a paper before the 
general section of the "Kansas City Teachers' Insti- 
tute," a highly educated body, consisting of about three 
hundred white and thirty colored teachers. During the 
first winter of her stay in Kansas City she was invited 
by Superintendent Greenwood to read a paper before the 
"Greenwood Scientific Club," a circle composed of the 
leading educators and literary lights of Kansas City. 



46 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Her doors and heart are always open to yonng people, 
for whom she has an intense sympathy and love, as 
many stndents in varions States will testify. 

In the midst of a round of social, household and 
maternal duties she finds time to pursue a regular line of 
study and of literary work; in this she has the full sym- 
pathy of her genial husband. He is. very proud of his 
wife's attainments, and she feels that his searching criti- 
cism aids her not a little in her efforts. Besides the 
work already referred to she has, during a portion of the 
time since her marriage, taught in Lincoln High School 
of Kansas City, performing the work assigned her to the 
entire satisfaction of all parties concerned. 

Reading French and German with case, she has made 
quite a study of the literature of both these languages, 
and a few years ago wrote a series of articles upon Ger- 
man literature which was very well received by the 
press. 

Russian life and literature possess for her a peculiar 
fascination, possibly because of the large class of persons 
in Russia which, in some respects like the negro in 
America, is struggling for a more complete independ- 
ence. Gogol, Turgenief, Tolstoi, Stepniak, and other 
Russian writers who set forth the cause of the people, find 
in her an appreciative admirer. 

She has great pride of race, and fully believes in the 
bright future of the negro, provided the young people 
for the next quarter of a century are fully alive to the 
great responsibilities resting upon them. For years she 
has been a close observer of human nature and of the great 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 47 

problems of the age. As a writer her articles are char- 
.acterized by a clear, vigorous, incisive style, and have 
embraced a wide range of thought, from the purely lit- 
erary to the more practical, social, economic and scien- 
tific questions now confronting us. These have appeared 
in various periodicals, usually under the signature 
"R. K. Potter," a nom de plume which she selected while 
yet a student, and has ever since retained. 

In some moods the poetic strain of her nature asserts 
itself, and several little gems have thus found their way 
into print. Among these may be mentioned "Isles of 
Peace," "The Zephyr, " and ' 'Royal To-day." During 
the early years of her work in teaching she made quite 
a name as a lecturer, and by many friends was urged to 
give up teaching and enter the field as a lecturer, but 
feeling that the class-room was the place where her 
efforts would result in the greatest good to the greatest 
number, she decided to remain there. Mrs. Silone 
used to relate that before Josephine could talk plainly, 
when asked what she wanted to be when grown, the 
answ^er would invariably be, "I want to be a tool- 
ieacher. ' ' 

Mrs. Yates is the mother of one child, a little daugh- 
ter, and in the line of special study much of her work 
is done with the hope of being the better prepared to 
wiselv direct the education of this child. 



.aft . 



4gv--'^' : ;:\WBMEk:()F DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER IX. 
SOJOURNER TRUTH. 

( "ISABELLA"). 

Sometimes historians review the lives and recount the 
deeds of certain members of their peculiar race with 
much timidity and regret. At other times some of them 
unfold and even maonifv the mistakes and inefficiencies 
of certain other less favored races, to the entire neglect 
and exclusion of any of their more important accom- 
plishments. 

It is in this light that the inhabitants of Africa, as 
well as Afro-Americans and all their direct relatives, have 
been held up to the world by some historians who are 
more zealous to draw a veil over our good deeds than 
they are ready to give credit for what the race has accom- 
plished. 

It is therefore a real pleasure, as well as a privilege, 
even at this late period of our country's history, to pre- 
sent in this short sketch a few of the important facts 
contained in the life of '' Isabella," a once slave v/oman, 
of whom many of our women, both young and old, have 
never heard. 

To hear of her trials, her difficulties, her embarrass- 
ments and her triumphs will be inspiring and encourag- 
ing to many of our young women. 

She was possibly born some time between 1797 and 
1800. Her parents were "James" and "Betsy," the 
slaves of a man of possibly Dutch descent, by the name 



State "J^ihrarvf. 




SOJOURNER TRUTH. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 49 

of Ardiiiburgh, residing in Ulster connty, N. Y. Isa- 
bella was one of many human chattels owned by this 
family; and although it seems that she was somewhat a 
favorate slave, )-et she in after years vividly remembered 
the cold^ ivet^ dark^ sloppy cellar-room in ijuhich all the 
slaves of both sexes slept^ having a little straw and^ a 
poor excuse for a blanket as their entire bed outfit. 

She also remembered the auction-block upon which 
she, at nine years of age, was sold to a John Nealy, of 
Ulster county, N. Y. , for $ioo; the cruelty of her new 
owners; the frozen feet in winter with which she suffered, 
and, as Mrs. F. W. Titus puts it, "They gave her a 
plenty to eat and also a plenty of whippings." She had 
been taught by her mother to repeat the Lord's Prayer 
and to trust in God for all things and especially in times 
of trouble. This instruction she strictly adhered to and 
souoht to be honest in all thin^^s. 

However, she became the third lawful wife of a fellow- 
slave, Thomas, and was in after years the mother of five 
children. Often, when in the fields at work, she would 
place her babe in a basket suspended by a rope from the 
bough of a tree and let other little ones swing it to sleep. 
Sometime in 1817 the State made a law that all slaves 
forty years old and above should be free; others under 
were kept in slavery till 1827. Her master promised 
Isabella that if she would be real good and obedient he 
would give her free papers one year sooner, July 4, 1826. 

When this long-looked-for day came he refused to keep 
his promise, and when the same date came in 1827 ^^ 
also refused to comply with the law; so early one morn- 
ing, as by "underground railroad,'' she left. 



,50 AVOMEN OF DISTINC^TION. 

Some friends took her in; she was pursued and found. 
Rather than have her go back into slavery a friend 
paid twenty dollars for her services and five dollars for 
her child the remainder of that year, after which she was 
indeed free. Now homeless and friendless, in search of 
a child that had been, in this time, stolen by crtiel hands 
and sold, night came on and she, a traveling stranger, 
was taken in by a Quaker family. As Mrs. Titus says, 
"Thev o'ave her lodoinos for the nioht; and it is verv 
amusing to hear her tell of the 'nice, high, clean, white, 
beautiful bed' assigned her to sleep in, which contrasted 
so strangely with her former pallets that she sat down 
and contemplated it, perfectly absorbed in wonder that 
siicJi a bed should have been appropriated to one like her- 
self For some time she thought that she would lie down 
beneath it, on her usual bedstead, the floor. 'I did, 
indeed,' says she, laughing heartily at her former self. 
However, she finally concluded to make use of the bed, 
for fear that not to do so might injure the feelings of her 
good hostess." She subsequently moved to New York 
City, and having already become a Christian, she united 
with the John Street Methodist Church and afterwards 
joined the Zion's Church in Church Street, in which 
was a large number of colored people. She entered 
heartily into the cause of a moral reformation which 
was beino^ carried on amono- the deo-raded classes of 
women. In this she did much earnest work, even enter- 
ing dens of wicked Vv^omen where her comrades were 
rather too timid to enter. She, by strict economy, had 
deposited some of her earnings in. the savings bank; 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 51 

iDut beinof urofed to invest it otherwise, she did so, losins: 
all she had saved. Again she tried, but failing to 
accumulate on account of losses one way and another, she 
said, "The rich rob the poor and the poor rob each 
other." Upon deciding to leave New York on a lecturing 
tour through the East, she made ready a small bundle 
as her baggage and when about to leave informed her 
hostess that her name w^as no longer Isabella^ but 
Sojourner. So she pursued her journey, speaking and 
lecturing to the people wherever she found them assem- 
bled. On one occasion, when at a camp-meeting, some 
young rowdies came in and bi;oke up the meeting. It 
seemed as if a mob was threatened. She hid herself in 
one corner of the tent, but on thinking the matter over 
she said, "Shall I run away from the Devil — me, a ser- 
vant of the living God? Have I not faith enough to 
go out and quell that mob, when it is written, 'One shall 
chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight'? I 
know there are not a thousand here, and I know I am a 
servant of the living God. I'll go to the rescue, and the 
Lord shall go with me and protect me." She drew 
herself a few rods to a little hill and betjan to sino-: 

It was early in the morning; it was early in the morning, 

Just at the break of day, 

When He rose, when He rose, when He rose, 

And went to heaven on a cloud. 

The rioters left the camp and came to hear her sing. 
She asked them why they surrounded her with such 
clubs in their hands. When told that they only wished 
to hear her sing, she made them pledge that if she would 






52 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

sing' one more song they would not pester the meeting 
any more that night. So she began to sing: 

I bless the Lord I've got my seal — to-da}' and to-day — 
To sla\' Goliath in the field — to-day and to-day. 
The good old way is a righteous way; 
I mean to take the kingdom in the good old way. 

Before she had finished this song the mob crowd fled 
in a mass. In this she showed more tact and courage 
and real generalship than all the preachers in the camp 
could muster up. That she was a woman of power of 
speech there can be no question when one reads the 
many testimonials of the newspapers and friends of those 
days, when men possibly spoke the truth more at ease 
than now. The Rochester papers spoke of her while 
lecturing in the State of New York as follows: 

She was for forty years a slave in the State of New York. Wholly 
uneducated, her eloquence is that of Nature, inspired by earnest zeal 
in her Heaven-appointed mission. She speaks to crowded houses 
everywhere. Let Rochester give her a cordial reception. 

The lecturer is a child of Nature, gifted beyond the common meas- 
ure, witty, shrewd, sarcastic, with an open, broad honesty of heart 
and unbounded kindness. Wholly untaught in the schools, she is 
herself a study for the philosopher, and a wonder to all. '^ "^ '^ She 
is ahva3-s sensible, alwa3-s suggestive, always original, earnest and 
practical, often eloquent and profound. 

She often asked visitors, "Don't you want to write 
your name in de Book of Life?" She delighted to 
have her distinguished friends write their names in 
this ''Book of Life." Among those who wrote their 
names were Lucretia Mott (who calls herself a "co-la- 
borer in the cause of our race"). Senators Revel, Mor- 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. hz 

rill, Pomeroy, H. Wilson, Patterson, and also Abra- 
ham Ivincoln and U. S. Grant. She received communica- 
tions from Gerritt Smith, William Lloyd Garrison, Vice- 
President Colfax, Theodore Tilton and a host of other 
distinguished white men and women. She received 
calls from hundreds of the best Christian people of the 
North, and has been entertained in many of the aristo- 
cratic homes of the whites in this country. She sought 
to have the United States government set apart certain 
lands for the homes of ex-slaves. She was well pre- 
pared to do this work, having spent much time in the 
anti-slavery cause. A Northern paper said of her: 

That old colored woman was so earnest, so fearless and untiring a 
laborer for her race during the long contest between freedom and 
slavery that she is known and loved by thousands in every State in the 
Union. Very black and without much education, she has remarkable 
faith in God, wonderfully clear perception of moral right and wrong, 
the most devoted love for the poor and needy, and the most untiring 
determination to carry forward plans for the amelioration of the con- 
dition of her race. 

A Detroit paper said of her, among other things: 

Those who have before heard her lectures will doubtless remember 
well the strong and 3'et well-modulated voice and the characteristic 
expressions in which she delivers her addresses, as well as the pith 
and point of her spicy sentences. Sojourner proposes to solicit govern- 
ment aid, in the way of having some portion of the as yet unoccupied 
lands of the West donated for the purpose as set forth in the petition 
first mentioned, and there to have suitable buildings erected and 
schools established, where the now dependent thousands of colored 
people may go, and not only attain an independence for themselves^ 
but become educated and respectable citizens. 



54 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe says of her: 

I never knew a person who possessed so much of that subtle, con- 
trolling personal power, called presence, as she. 

The following are samples of her poetical produc- 
tions: 

THE VALIANT SOLDIERS. 
{Tune — ''John Brown'"). 

The followin"' sono- written for the First Michioan: 
Regiment of colored, soldiers, was composed by Sojourner 
Truth during the war, and was sung by her in Detroit 
and Washington. F. W. Tixus. 

We are the valiant soldiers who've 'listed for the war; 
We are fighting for the Lhiion, we are fighting for the law; 
We can shoot a rebel farther than a white man ever saw, 
As we go marching on, 

chorus: 

Glor}', glor}', hallelujah! Glor)^ glory, hallelujah! 
Glory, glory, hallelujah, as we go marching on. 

Look there above the center, where the flag is waving bright; 
We are going out of slavery, we are bound for freedom's light;. 
We mean to show Jeff Davis how the Africans can fight. 
As we go marching on. — Clio. 

We are done with hoeing cotton, we are done with hoeing corn;; 
We are colored Yankee soldiers as sure as you are born; 
When massa hears us shouting he will think 'tis Gabriel's honi^ 
As we go marching on. —Cho. 

The}' will have to pay us wages, the wages of their sin; 
They will have to bow their foreheads to their colored kith and kin. 
They will have to give us house-room, or the roof will tumble in, 
As w'e go marching on. — Clio. 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTKJN. 55 

We hear the proclamation, niassa, hush it as you will; 
The birds will sing it to us, hopping on the cotton hill; 
The 'possum up the gum-tree couldn't keep it still, 
As he went climbing ow.^Cho. 

Father Abraham has spoken, and the message has been sent; 
The prison doors have opened, and out the prisoners went. 
To join the sable army of African descent, 
As we go marching on. — C/io. 

The following original poem was sung at the close of 
a meeting, in which American slavery was discussed, at 
New Lisbon, Ohio: 

I am pleading for my people — 

A poor, down-trodden race. 
Who dwell in freedom's boasted land, 

With no abiding place. 

I am pleading that my people 

May have their rights astored [restored], 

For they have long been toiling. 
And yet had no reward. 

They are forced the crops to culture. 

But not for them they yield, 
Although both late and early 

They labor in the field. 

Whilst I bear upon ni}' body 

The scars of many a gash, 
I am pleading for my people 

Who groan beneath the lash. 

I am pleading for the mothers 

Who gaze in wild despair 
Upon the hated auction-block, 

And see their children there. 

I feel for those in bondage — 

Well may I feel for them; 
I know how fiendish hearts can be 

That sell their fellow-men. 



56 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Yet those oppressors steeped in guilt— 

I still would have them live; 
For I have learned of Jesus 

To suffer and forgive. 

I want no carnal weapons, 

No enginery of death, 
For I love not to hear the sound 

Of war's tempestuous breath. 

I do not ask vou to engage 

In death and l)loody strife, 
I do not dare insult my God 

By asking for their life. 

But while your kindest sympathies 

To foreign lands do roam, 
I would ask 3'ou to remember 

Your own oppressed at home. 

I plead with you to sympathize 

With sighs and groans and scars, 
And note how base the tyranny 

Beneath the stripes and stars. 

How she received her name: " And the Lord gave me 
Sojourner because I was to travel up an' down tlie land 
showin' the people their sins an' bein' a sign unto them. 
Afterwards I told the Lord I wanted another name, 
'cause everybody else had two names, and the Lord gave 
me Truth, because I was to declare the truth to the 
people." 

Although deprived of the advantages of even a com- 
mon school education, that once slave girl became the 
most remarkable woman this century has produced; a 
wonder to the philosopher, the philanthropist and sage. 
A bold defender of the rights of men, a powerful tern- 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 57 

perance advocate, lecturer, preacher, refonner, and a 
most profound thinker and reasoner; a poet of no small 
merit, and in -fact a sojourner wherever she found oppor- 
tunity to do good. The world has indeed had but one 
Sojourner Truth. 

While her bones lie lifeless in the dust she still lives 
on earth and in heaven. With grateful appreciation of 
a ereat woman we utter our final farewell to her dust: 



&' 



Sleep peacefully silent, "Sojourner," in thy dust, 
None hath labored more faithful than thou; 

The work of thy life-time in the cause of the just 
Is remembered by us, even now. 



CHAPTER X. 
MRS. AMANDA SMITH. 

("THE FAMOUS NEGRO MISSIONARY EVANGEIvIST "). 

Few, if any, Afro- American women have done more real 
work that has gained for them a world-wide reputation 
than this faithful member of our race. However, at the 
time of this writing we are informed that Mrs. Smith 
is preparing for publication a history of her life; there- 
fore, out of oitr very great respect for her and her writ- 
ings, we withhold all recent facts concerning her life, 
and simply make a few brief extracts from ''The Life 
and Mission of a Slave Girl," by Rev. M. W. Taylor, 
D. D. , whicJi^ we tj^iist^ will not in tlie least affect the sale 
of her book. 



58 WOMEN OF DISTIXCTIOX. 

As our apology for the course we pursue attention is 
called to her letter to us, which we take the liberty to 
publish without consulting her: 

No. 64 Park St.. Newark, X. T.. October 13, 1S92. 
Dr. L. a. Scruggs: 

Your ver\- kind letter of October 8th I got on my return from Bos- 
ton yesterday, and I hasten to reply. I should be glad to respond to 
your wish, but I am in the act of \s-riting a little sketch of my life and 
work, which I hope to get in the hands of the publisher by December. 

Wishing you much success. I am yours in great haste, 

Amanda Smith. 

Amanda Berr}- was born March 17, 1836, according to her best infor- 
mation, at Long Green, Maryland. Among her earliest recollections 
is the kind face and gentle voice of her grandmother, who, she remem- 
bers hearing, was married three times. Her first husband's name was 
Mathews and the last Burgess. The name of the second is not 
remembered. They lived near Monkton, in the State of Maryland, and 
there her grandmother died. Her father died in Philadelphia, July. 
1S6S. and her mother at York. Pennsylvania, but the year we do not 
know. 

The deed of Mr. Berry's and his family's freedom is recorded in the 
Baltimore court-house. He had a copy of it. with the county seal 
attached in due form, which he often showed to his children, but his 
copy was lost after his death. 

Her grandmother, father and mother were all truly pious people. 
Her grandmother was mighty in praA'er, and her mother and father 
often said that to her grandmother's prayers they owed their freedom. 
Her mother, inheriting the spirit of her grandmother, was a woman of 
great faith and strong moral courage. And this faith and courage, in 
the third generation, has given to the world Amanda Smith. 

* * * ^ ^ ^ * ^ * 

* SOJOURNING AMONG THE FRIENDS. 

The sweet, mild manner, unadorned costume, sturdy integrity, deep 
piety and all-embracing philanthropy characteristic of the Friends 
had charms for Sister Berry. So, about March. 1S56, she went to 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 59 

reside with a family of Friends at Columbia, Pennsylvania, Robert 
Mifflin being the head of the family. Here her situation was conducive 
to piety. She returned to the Lord, and after struggling in ignorance, 
darkness and doubt for three months, it pleased the Lord to scatter the 
darkness of unbelief and set her soul at liberty. Speaking of that 
occurrence Sister Smith says: "Oh what joy and real peace svi&'pX. 
through my soul like a flood of light and love! I obtained a clear and 
distincl witness of the Spirit that God for Christ's sake had pardoned 
all my sins. And though I have had many storms and conflicts from 
Satan, yet, glory to God! I have never had a doubt from that hour. 
From then until this time I have had no spiritual trouble." 

Mrs. Smith has been twice married, and is the mother of five chil- 
dren. The name of her first husband was Calvin M. Devine, of Co- 
lumbia, Pennsylvania. He died in Jul}^ 1856. She next married Rev. 
James H. Smith, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a local deacon in the 
African Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Smith died November, 1869. 
in the State of New York. 

■^ -^ -if -Sr -^ "- -Jr -3v -jf 

In 1879, ^I^s. Smith left America and sailed for England. She was 
all alone — yet not alone; for the Lol'd bade her go, and promised to go 
with her. 

While holding a meeting in old Sands Street Church, Brooklyn, she 
chanced to meet Miss Price, an English lady who was visiting 
Mrs. Parker, a friend of hers. Mrs. Smith was at the time very much 
debilitated from overwork. Miss Price, observing this, seemingly in 
a casual manner, remarked to Mrs. Smith that a trip to Europe would 
be nice and she thought beneficial to her. She said, "I intend to go 
to Europe in April m3-self, and I think a trip would do you good." 
Says Mrs. Smith, "I supposed only well folks went to Europe for a 
change, but such as me, never, no, never." 

The matter then passed out of Mrs. Smith's mind and was forgotten; 
but after a few days Miss Price mentioned it again, when Mrs. Smith 
replied, "Of gold and silver have I none; but it takes money to go 
to England." This was precisely what Miss Price knew, and to this 
point she had been directing her conversation from the first. So she 
promptly advised Mrs. Smith to take the matter to the Lord in prayer, 
saying, " x\nd if you decide to go, / zuill see that the tnoney is all 
right. ' ' 



60 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Mrs. Smith has been made to realize, b}^ substantial and practical 
testimon}', that her friends Avere man}- and resided in many lands. 
Touching this she says: "Some of the kind friends that helped me I 
have never seen. The}- have heard of the work and of me as an 
humble instrument in God's hands, and He has moved them to remem- 
ber me. Praise His name! " 

"We thank thee, O Father, 

For all things bright and good. 
The seed-time and the harvest. 

Our life, our health, our food." 

IN THE LAND OF BRAHMA AND BUDDHA. 

The journey from London to Bombay gave Mrs. Smith a glance at 
Egypt, the land where her forefathers wrought splendidly, and whence 
many a grimy monument of theirs peers down with awe-inspiring ken 
upon the sweeping centuries. Almost ever}^ object was full of interest, 
and served to enrich her store of illustrations for future use. 



AT THE ECUMENICAL CONFERENCE IN LONDON. 

In July, iS8r, Sister Smith found herself again in London, and also 
found London the seat of one of the greatest religious gatherings of 
the nineteenth century. World-wide Methodism was convening there 
by its representatives for the purpose of a great "Ecumenical Confer- 
ence." 

IN LIBERIA. 

On the 24th of December, 1881, Sister Smith sailed from Liverpool 
for Liberia, and arrived at Monrovia, west coast of Africa, the iSth of 
January, 1882. The Lord was with her then, as He had been at other 
times and in other lands. 

She had her first attack of fever three weeks after landing. During 
her prostration she was the guest of Miss May Sharp, a zealous and 
devout missionary then at service in Liberia. She was tenderly cared 
for, and was speedily restored. The mercy of the Lord was with her, 
and led her out into His work. 

■?(• -H- ^ ^- -X- -;;- * -x- * 



WOMEN OF DJ8TINCTJ(JN. 01 



HER SPECIAIv MISSION TO AFRICA. 

Says vSister Smith: "I believe God's leadin<j; nie to Africa was that I 
might call the attention of the Church, both here and at home, more 
definitely to the subject of holiness and Gospel temperance. There 
never v^-as a time when the attention of the Church in all lands was 
so clearh' called to consider these subjects as in the past ten years, 
more or less, and why should not Africa wheel into line? May God 
help her." 

Sister Smith, putting her faith into words and showing it by her 
w^orks, sa^'s: "I have organized Bands of Hope and Gospel Temperance 
Societies in all the country and towns I have visited here, except Cape 
Palmas and Cape Mount. I have not visited Cape Mount, and expect 
to organize here in Cape Palmas this week." (First week in 
June, 1886). 

* r? * % -k * -H- -k -k 

As an enlightened, thoroughly consecrated Christian evangelist, 
among negro women, Mrs. Amanda Smith takes the first place in 
American historv. 



CHAPTER XL 

MRS. H. M. GARNET BARBOZA. 

Mrs. Barboza was born to Henry Highland Garnet 
and his wife, February it, 1845, ^^ l^i'oy, N. Y. , and 
graduated from Hopedale, Mass., 1861. We have not 
been able to learn much as to her early life. She was 
an educated, consecrated woman who ever tliought out 
the best possible means of lifting up her down-trodden 
race. In 1881 her father. Dr. Garnet, was appointed 
Minister to Liberia by the United States government; 
the document of his appointment was the last official 



02 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

document sioiied bv the lamented President Garfield. 
Dr. Garnet arrived in Africa in December, and died in a. 
few weeks thereafter of African fever. Then came up 
the question of erecting for him some fitting monument 
to be dedicated as a permanent memorial of this noble, 
race-lovino man. This memorial was to be erected in 
Liberia. It was also decided to make it a training 
school for girls. This school was to reach four cla.sses 
of Iviberians : the Americo-Liberians, the Veys, the 
Mandingoes, and the Galahs. The next thing to do 
was to find some one who could make the project a suc- 
cess. That one was found in the person of our subject. 
To this work she joyfully consecrated her life, sailing 
from America in November, 1880, having married in 
1866. The project was endorsed in this country by the 
New York State Colonization Society and by the 
National Afro-American Union for Home and Forei^-n 
Missions, and in Africa by the State Legislature of 
Liberia; in England by the British and Foreign Anti- 
Slavery Society, the Ladies' Negro Friend Society, the 
British Women's Temperance Association. As socie- 
ties they took great interest in the memoriaL And many 
prominent individuals, such as Sir John J. Howard, 
Oliver Haywood, Joseph Mabins, and the Dowager 
Lady Kinnaird, gave also material aid to the project. 
The institution was called ''The Garnet Memorial 
School," followed by this inscription: "For the Domes- 
tic, Scholastic, Artistic and Christian Training for 
Girls. Founded in Memory of the late Rev. Henry 
Highland Garnet, D. D. ; a Negro Clergyman, appointed 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. G:^ 

by the late President Garfield United vStates Minister 
Resident and Consnl-General to the Negro Republic of 
Liberia." The Legislature of Liberia, upon applica- 
tion, at once chartered the institution, and endowed it 
with a hundred acres of land at Brewerville, where it 
was situated, as well as an annual grant of three hun- 
dred dollars to assist in the operations. When our 
noble sister had gotten the work well on footing she 
returned to this country, leaving a hundred and twenty- 
five students in charge of Mrs. C. L. Parsons, wife of 
the Chief Justice. Here she solicited aid to make the 
institution all it was meant to be. On leaving America 
to return to her work she purposed visiting England 
also to solicit aid. On hearing this some of her promi- 
nent American friends gave her recommendations to 
Julia Colman, Secretary of the Afro-American Union, 
and said of her: "We commend our sister, Mrs. M. H. 
Barboza, who is to visit you on the way to Africa, where 
she has established the Garnet Memorial School at 
Brewerville. This is a school with indiistrial training — 
just what Africa needs so much." Her visit in England 
excited a great deal of interest. Here is what some of 
the newspapers said about her: 

Mrs. Garnet Barboza is not only the daughter of a negro who 
achieved distinction, Dr. Henry Highland Garnet, but is herself an 
educated, fluent and graceful speaker. Naturally she is interested in 
the education of women, and seeks the aid of philanthropists in Europe 
to help her in that work. The education of women has lagged behind 
that of men in L/iberia. — Manchester Guardian, August 2/, 1888. 

We trust that the appeal made b}^ Mrs, Garnet Barboza, in the Man- 
chester Town Hall yesterday, for English sympathy on behalf of her 
educational work in the African Republic of I^iberia, will not remain 



()4 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

without response. Mrs. Barboza, who is herself a lady of color, suc- 
ceeded in thoroughly carrying with her a most influential and intelli- 
gent audience. Her work seems to be of a thorough and satisfactory 
character, and is carried on at an expense which may be regarded as 
almost insignificant when compared witli the substantial advantages 
which it promises to confer upon the native women of Liberia. — 
Manchester Courier, Aicgust 21, 188S. 

Ax ILI.USTRIOUS Visitor from Liberia. — An interesting visit has 
just been paid to Birmingham by a talented and highly educated negro 
lady, Mrs. M. H. Garnet Barboza, an ardent worker in the cause of 
educational training among colored people of the negro Republic of 
Liberia. A large circle of friends in Birmingham was invited to meet 
her and take tea at the Garden Restaurant, Paradise Street, on Monday 
evening last. — Birmingham Daily Post, September ^, /888. 

On reaching her home in lyiberia this noble educator 
had fresh courag-e for the work, and carried forward not 
only educational work, but also that of soul-winning. 
In seeking a special fitness for the latter service Mrs. 
Barboza saw the truth of baptism, and applied to the 
Baptist Church, of which Rev. J. O. Hays, of North 
Carolina, was pastor, for baptism. The faithful mis- 
sionary administered the sacred ordinance and became 
pastor to this great woman. 

Not long was this star to shine as a blessing to dark 
Africa, for in 1890 the death angel was commissioned 
from Heaven to take her from labor to reward. She fell 
at her post and with her father rests from her labor, 
awaiting in Africa to hear the sound of the first trump 
when she shall be forever with the Ivord. 

May the works of her hand be established among the 
children of men in Africa "until He comes"! 

L. C. Flemmings. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 65 

CHAPTER XIL 
HARRIET, THE MODERN MOSES. 

In those dark days of our history when the negro 
for the most part was only so much property in the 
hands of his owner rather than a human being or an 
American citizen, God condescended to use some of that 
despised and oppressed people as His agencies of love and 
mercy. Among these agencies was one "Harriet" 
who was born a slave in the eastern part of Maryland. 
Finally deciding that she would no longer be the chattel 
of a slave owner, she, with her brothers, resolved to 
escape to the North. When the journey was a little 
more than begun her brothers turned back, leaving Har- 
riet to pursue the journey alone. This she did bravely, 
sometimes without food, without shelter or without 
friends. Still determined she went on, and after many 
days traveling alone she found herself beyond the 
bounds of slavery. But not satisfied wuth freedom for 
herself only, she returned as best she could as many as 
nineteen times and carried other slaves to the then land 
of the free, until, besides herself, she had been the 
guiding star of the east to as many as four hundred 
human beings from the then land of oppression to the 
then land of freedom. Was not this remarkable for an 
uneducated slave to outgeneral all the intelligence of the 
South in her locality? One very friendly and seemingly 
truthful lady, "Emma P. Telford," in the October 

number of the Hoiisehold (I think of 1891 or '92), 
5 



(>G WOMEN OF DTSTl NOTION. 

speaks of the deeds of tins wonderful woman Moses as 
follows: 

Just outside of the limits of the cit^- of Auburn, N. Y., stands an 
unpretentious little house surrounded by a niotley yet picturesque col- 
lection of tiny cabins, sheds, pens and kennels. This modest home 
shelters a varying crowd of lame and halt and blind widows, orphans 
and wayfarers, all dependent for care and support upon an old black 
woman, whose heroic deeds in plague-stricken camps and on bloody 
battle-fields as scout and spy, as deliverer of her people, and defender 
of the oppressed, have made for her a name as worthy of being handed 
down to posterity as Grace Darling's, Florence Nightingale's or Jean 
D'Arc's. 

This woman, a full-blooded African, thick-lipped and heav3--eyed, 
with the signs of her seventy years set fast in deep wrinkles and stoop- 
ing shoulders, has, perhaps, done more than an}- single individual to 
free her nation and hasten the "crash of slaver3''3 broken locks." 
After making her own escape by almost superhuman efforts from 
slavery, taking her life in her own hands, she returned to the South 
nineteen times, bringing back with her nearh- four hundred slaves to 
the land of libert3'. At the beginning of the war she was sent to the 
South by Governor Andrew of Massachusetts to act as scout and spy 
for our own armies. She was a trusted friend and confidante of John 
Brown, who drew up his constitution at her house, and who used to 
refer to her as General Tubman. 

This woman was a personal friend of Thomas Garrett, 
Garrett Smith, Wendell Phillips, Fred. Douglass, and 
William Lloyd Garrison, wdio delighted to introduce her 
to a cultured Boston audience as his foster-sister, Moses. 
When in Concord she resided with the Emersons, 
Alcotts, Whitneys, Manns, and other well-known fami- 
lies, who respected and admired her as one of the most 
extraordinary persons of her race. "Harriet" encoun- 
tered great trial and vexation while guiding fugitives to 
the land of freedom. Once she went into the town 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 67 

where she had lived a slave and bought some fowls. 
While carrying these along the street in her native town 
she saw coming just ahead of her her former master, 
who, with others, had offered a liberal reward for her 
head. What to do now was the question of the moment. 
She disturbed her fowls so as to make them flutter, and 
with her sun-bonnet pulled over her face and she half 
bent as if trying to control her fowls, the master passed 
by, not once thinking he had come into touch with the 
one he desired to punish for stealing away so many of 
his slaves. At another time, while going North with a 
band of fleeing, trembling followers, she came at early 
morning to the residence of a colored man whose doors 
had ever been open to "underground railroad" passen- 
gers. The rain was falling heavily and thickly. Leav- 
ing her crowd, Harriet stepped to the door and knocked. 
Behold! a white man's face was seen, who informed her 
that the colored man had been forced to abandon the 
house because of "harboring runaway niggers." The 
rain still falling, yet Harriet was equal to the emergency. 
Daylight had come; she must not travel longer. After 
a prayer she thought of a thick swamp just out of town. 
To this she and her crowd went in great haste, having 
two babes in a basket well drenched with an opiate. 
While they thus lay all day in the swamp, w^et and cold 
and hungry, a strange figure at evening appeared, dressed 
as a Quaker, and drawing near, talking as if to himself, 
saying, "My wagon stands in the barn-yard of the next 
farm across the way. The horse is in the stable; the 
harness hangs on a nail." After this he disappeared. 



68, AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

In obedience to this message Harriet moved after dark 
and found it just as she supposed, wagon, horse and 
food for her use. Again she was off on a safe journey 
for the night with these helps. 

We might gather much more of interest from the 
writings of Emma P. Telford, to whom we are very 
thankful for much of the above, but space being limited 
we must stop here, after giving one of Harriet's songs. 
When leaving for the North the first time she sang as 
follows: 

"^ I am gwiiie away to leab you, 
We'll sing and shout ag'in ; 
Dere's a better day a comin', 
We'll sing and shout ag'in. 

When we git ober Jordan, 

We'll sing and shout again; 
Makes me sorry for to leab you. 

We'll sing and shout ag'in. 

A partin' time is comin', 

We'll sing and shout ag'in; 
I'll meet you in de mawnin'. 

We'll sine and shout ag'in. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 69 

CHAPTER XIIL 

EDMONIA LEWIS. 

To develop along all the diverging and converging 
lines that take their beginning in the comprehensive 
word "education" it becomes necessary for us to some- 
times turn aside, as others have done, from the ordinary 
school-room to the workshop, where we may train the 
eye and the hand to a skillful use of the implements of' 
industry and thrift; and at the same time broaden and 
sharpen the intellect in original thought and description 
by the use of the chisel and the brush. 

The Afro-American sculptress is an infallible proof of 
the possibilities of the race along this line. Think of 
her as of humble birth, and left a helpless girl without 
the o^uiding: counsel and tender care of a mother. 

Although without an education, she was determined to 
make her mark and stamp her impress upon the world. 
She chanced to get to Boston, and, possibly while look- 
ing upon the statue of the great Benjamin Franklin, 
she became inspired with the thought that some hand 
had wrought that upon which she was gazing with emo- 
tion that stirred her ver}^ soul. 

She exclaimed, "I too can make a stone man." The 
liberty-loving William Eloyd Garrison, whose advice she 
sought, gave her introduction to a Mr. Brockett, a pro- 
fessional sculptor, whose kind and sympathetic heart 
could appreciate holy ambition even in a poor girl to 
become a great woman. 



70 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

He presented to her the pattern of a human foot and 
some simple materials with which to try her hand, say- 
ing-, ''Go home and make th^it; if there is anything in 
you it wnll come out." She tried once and had to " try 
again," but after all succeeded admirably. Encouraged 
by this victory, she pushed her way on and on until she 
has been recognized and honored throughout a large part 
of the civilized world by those who admire the beauties 
of the work of an artful hand. Some of her works are 
" Hagar in the Wilderness," "Madonna with the Infant 
Christ and Two Adoring Angels," "Forever Free," 
"Hiawatha's Wooings," "lyongfellow, the Poet," 
"John Brown," "Wendell Phillips." These, with her 
honored reception in Rome and the attractions which 
her studio had for the travelers from all parts of the 
world, all speak in no uncertain tones of her real merits 
as an artist and sculptress. 



WOMEN OF DJt^TlNCTJON. 



71 



CHAPTER XIV. 



MRS. SARAH J. W. EARLY. 

Sarah J., the fifth daughter of Thomas and Jemima 
Woodson, was born near the city of Chillicothe, Ohio, 
November 15, 1825. Early in life she exhibited remarka- 




MRS. SAKAII J. W. EARLY 



ble intelligence for a child and a peculiar aptness to 
learn whatever came within her observation. Her 
parents were not only devoted Christians, btit zealous 



11 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



members of tlie x\. M. E. Church. Their house was 
always a houie for uiiuisters aud a sauctuary for devout 
Christiaus. Thus she was early brought under the best 
moral and religious influences while her heart was suscep- 
tible to the unction of the divine spirit. Thomas 
Woodson, being an intelligent man, had an intense desire 
that his children should be well educated, and as colored 
children were not admitted into the public schools he, 
with others, made peculiar efforts to supply them with 
the best instructors in tiie sciences. These they 
obtained from Oneida College, in New York, and Oberlin, 
Ohio. They were abolitionists and UiOstly of the best 
families, who brouglit with them their piety, their intel- 
ligence and their culture, and diffused them in the commu- 
nities in which they labored. These schools she attended 
until she reached her fifteenth year, when the anti-slavery 
question was agitated with such vigor an^ the hostility 
became so great on the part of the pro-slavery element 
of society that the schools were closed and the young- 
colored people had no other resources to improve their 
minds but from the reading of the best selected books 
and the exercises of good literary societies, which they 
never failed to form for that purpose. In the year 1837 
she made a profession of religion and became a member 
of the A. M. E. Church, and from thenceforward 
became a zealous worker, both in church and Sabbath- 
school. The frivolous amusements of youth had no 
charms for her. Her pleasures arose from the practice 
of Christian virtues and diligence in the cultivation of 
her mind. Her desire for better educational privileges 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 73 

increased with her years, and in 1851 she entered Albany 
Academy, in Athens county, Ohio, and began a course 
of study. After passing through the preparatory 
department she repaired to Oberlin, Ohio, in the year 
1852 and on the 3d of May entered a regular course 
of study, which continued without intermission for four 
years. In August of 1856 she graduated with an 
honorable degree of scholarship and entered immedi- 
ately upon the duties of teaching public schools for 
colored youths, opened about this time in Ohio, and as 
there were but few teachers among them then she had 
a fair opportunity to show her ability as a scholar and 
teacher. After teaching intensely for three years in 
different cities of the State with remarkable success she 
was elected to hold a professorship in Wilberforce Univer- 
sity, being the first colored teacher to fill such a posi- 
tion; this was in the year 1859. In the year 1861 the 
war commenced, and the hostility being so great between 
the North and the South, and as the students were 
from the South, and could not pass the lines, the 
school was stopped. Miss Woodson was appointed prin- 
cipal of the colored public school of Xenia, Ohio. In 
1865 Wilberforce University re-opened and she was 
elected to the position of female principal. She filled 
this position with much acceptance for two years. She 
was then called by the Freedman's Aid Society to 
be principal of the colored school of Hillsboro, North 
Carolina, for it was impossible then to keep male teach- 
ers there. Her labors w^ere very successful, though 
attended with danger and difficulties. In September, 



74 WO:\IEN OF DISTINCTION. 

1868, she was married to Rev. J. W. Early and removed 
to the State of Tennessee and was principal of one of 
the public schools of Memphis. She continued the 
work of teaching in Tennessee for eighteen years, hav- 
ino- taucrht in all thirty-six vears. Durino- that time she 
instructed more than six thousand scholars, being prin- 
cipal of very large schools in four different cities. In 
the year 1886 she was elected superintendent of the 
temperance work among the colored people of the South- 
ern States by the National Women's Christian Temper- 
ance Union. In the year 1890 she was appointed by 
the National Temperance Missionary Society to travel 
and lecture among the colored people of the Southern 
States in the capacity of superintendent and also of 
missionary. In four years she has traveled in seven 
States, accomplishing many thousand miles, and has 
lectured more than one thousand times to very large 
audiences; has visited and talked to more than five hun- 
dred schools and conferences of religious bodies; has 
visited two hundred prisons and talked to the inmates, 
besides doing an immense amount of writing and other 
work in which she is now actively engaged. 

The facts of this life of usefulness are very strong 
evidence of the very remarkable ability of this noble 
woman. She was a woman in the field when it cost 
something to be a woman, and when only such brave 
and invincible characters as she could stay in the field. 
In the midst of threats and suspected bodily harm by 
night and by day, in those dark days of our history, 
Mrs. Early stood like a granite wall in the defense of 
right and truth. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCJTION. 75 

CHAPTER XV. 

MRS. FANNIE M. JACKSON COPPIN. 

A giant intellect and powerfnl force of character, with 
keen insight to duty and a wise zealousness in the dis- 
charge of the same, a well-developed business capacity 
of unusual proportions, supported by strong executive 
and financial abilities, are not as a rule the general com- 
bined possessions of the women of any race. Indeed, 
they are the sacred combined endowments of the few. 
Such a woman of such rare qualifications is Mrs. Fan- 
nie M. Jackson Coppin, who was born a slave in Wash- 
ington, D. C. , and was purchased by her aunt, Mrs. 
Sarah Clark. She was then sent to Newport, R. I., 
where she lived at service with the well-known Calverts 
family, who sent her to school. She afterwards, through 
the kindness of this family, entered the High vSchool, 
from which she graduated; thence to Oberlin College, 
in Ohio, wdiere she took the men's course, because 
in the course laid down for the women there certain 
studies were omitted. Feeling as she did that she must 
take all the studies of the highest course in the institu- 
tion accounts for her departure from the general rules 
under which the female students were governed as to 
departments. She, proved herself equal to the task and 
stood side by side and shoulder to shoulder with the men 
in whose department she had so wisely entered. 

She has the honor of being the first colored person to 
teach a class at Oberlin College, which she taught with 
marvelous success for tw^o years. 



7() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Now, well prepared for the arduous duties of life's 
work, she went to Philadelphia in 1865 and took a posi- 
tion in the Institute for Colored Youth. In 1869 ^^^^ 
principalship was made vacant, to which she was at once 
called. Accepting- this important position, she has wisely 
and acceptably managed this school until now (1892). 

As a successful teacher and a fluent and attractive public 
speaker, she needs no words of comment from us. Her 
record in this direction is far more eloquent in praise of 
her accomplishments than anything we can possibly say. 

About 1 886-' 88 she be^an a movement to have an 
industrial school opened so that colored young men and 
women could learn trades that would be useful to them 
in after-life. This idea possibly grew out of the fact 
that the trades-unions closed their doors ao^ainst vouno^ 
men and young women of this peculiar people. A lot 
of land was purchased at a cost of $17,000 and brick 
buildings erected thereon, and now over three hundred 
persons are learning trades. 

The men learn stone-masonry^ plastering^ brick-layings 
carpentry s shoe-snaking^ tailoring and type-zf riling; in all 
seven useful trades. The women learn dress-makings 
millinery and cooking. So that all the members of the 
race receive instruction in and complete ten different 
trades in this industrial school without any additional 
cost. 

The managers of the Institute have become the mana- 
gers of the industrial department. 

This immense undertaking has been from its begin- 
ning the work of Mrs. Coppin, who has successfully car- 



WOMEN OF J^LSTINCTION. 77 

ried it to completion, raising by her own personal efforts 
every cent of the enormous cost of this industrial depart- 
ment. 

That she is a truly great woman no one who knows of 
her work can deny. Her work at this school will stand 
for centuries as an imperishable monument to her mem- 
ory' and an inestimable blessing to her race long after the 
monuments of granite erected to the memory of the 
great men of this country shall have crumbled to the 
dust. 

Mr. George W. Williams, the negro historian, has 
this to say of her: 

Without doubt she is the most thoroughly competent and successful 
of the colored women teachers of her time, and her example of race 
pride, industry, enthusiasm and nobility of character will remain the 
inheritance and inspiration of the pupils of the school she helped 
make the pride of the colored people of Pennsylvania. 

She has traveled extensively in this country and also 
in foreign countries, and is admired by all whom she 
■meets. To know her is to simply admire her noble 
qualities of spirit and character. 



78 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XVI. 
ELIZABETH TAYLOR GREENFIELD. 

( "black swan "). 

This most noted lady of song, so often called the 
"Queen of Song," was born in Natchez, Miss., in 1809, 
and was early taken to Philadelphia and cared for by a 
Quaker lady, who loved her as fondly as if the two were 
mother and daughter; and in keeping with this the 
good lady, who died in 1844, left in her will a legacy to 
our subject; but somehow Miss Greenfield w^as deprived 
of the o^ift bv some decision of the courts. The name 
(Greenfield) affixed to her name was derived from her 
faithful friend and guardian. She w^as always ambitious 
and apt. She began to receive instructions in music in 
a family in the neighborhood of Mrs. Greenfield's resi- 
dence. This was quite astonishing to her guardian, who, 
however, learning that it was a fact, was well pleased. 
We quote the following from "Some Highly Musical 
People," by James M. Trotter: 

Previous to the death of this lady, Elizabeth had become distin- 
guished in the limited circle in which she was known for her remarka- 
ble powers of voice. Its tender, thrilling tones often lightened the 
weight of age in one who was, by her, beloved as a mother. B}^ 
indomitable perseverance she surmounted difficulties almost invinci- 
ble. At first she taught herself crude accompaniments to her songs 
and, intuitiveh' perceiving the agreement or disagreement of them, 
improvised and repeated until there was heard floating upon the air a 
very lovely song of one that had a pleasant voice, and could play well 
upon a guitar. In October, 1851, she sang before the Buffalo Musical 



W()MP]N OF DISTINCTION. 71) 

Association, and her performances were received with marks of appro- 
bation from the best musical talent in the city that established her 
reputation as a songstress. "Give the ' Black Swan,' " said the}-, "the 
cultivation and experience of the fair Swede, or Mile. Parodi, and she 
will rank favorably with those popular singers who have carried the 
nation into captivity b}' their rare musical abilities." 

In Rochester, N. Y., in December, 1851, she was 
extended the following invitation by a large nnmber of 
the best citizens: 

The undersigned, having heard of the musical ability of Miss Eliza- 
beth T. Greenfield, of the cit}-- of Buffalo, and being desirous of hav- 
ing her sing in Rochester, request that she will give a public concert 
in this city at an early day, and we feel confident that it will afford a 
satisfactory entertainment to our citizens. (Signed by a large number 
of the most respected citizens of Rochester). 

The following quotations were taken from the various 
papers by Mr. Trotter: 

The Rochester American had this to say of her singing: 

Corinthian Hall contained a large and fashionable audience on the 
occasion of the concert by this new candidate for popular favor on 
Thursday evening. We had never seen an audience more curiously 
expectant than this was for the debut of this new vocalist. Hardly had 
her first note fallen upon their ears, however, before their wonder and 
astonishment were manifest in an interchange of glances and words of 
approval, and the heart}' applause that responded to the first verse she 
sang was good evidence of the satisfaction she afforded. The aria, 
"O Native Scenes," was loudly encored, and in response she gave the 
pretty ballad, "When the Stars Are in the Quiet Sky," 

The Buffalo Comjnercial Advertiser ^dcy^-. 

Miss Greenfield is about twenty-five years of age, and has received 
what musical education she has in the city of Philadelphia; she is, 
however, eminently self-taught, possessing fine taste and a nice appre- 



80 AVOMEN (3F I)ISTINCTI(3N. 

ciation, with a voice of wonderful compass, clearness and flexibility. 
She renders the compositions of some of the best masters in a stjde 
which would be perfectly satisfactory to the authors themselves. Her 
low or properh' bass notes are wonderful, especially for a female voice, 
and in these she far excels any singing we have ever heard. 

The Daily State Register^ of Albany, N. Y. , speaks as 
follows: 

The "Black Swan's" Concert.— Miss Greenfield made her 
debut in this city on Saturday evening before a large and brilliant 
audience in the lecture-room of the Young Men's Association. The 
concert was a complete triumph for her; won, too, from a discriminat- 
ing auditory not likely to be caught with chaff, and none too willing 
to suffer admiration to get the better of prejudice. Her singing more 
than met the expectations of her hearers, and elicited the heartiest 
applause and frequent encores. She possesses a truly wonderful voice, 
and, considering the poverty of her advantages, she uses it with sur- 
prising taste and effect. In sweetness, power, compass and flexibility 
it nearl}^ equals any of the foreign vocalists who have visited our 
countr}^ and it needs only the training and education theirs have 
received to outstrip them all. The compass of her marvelous voice 
embraces twenty-seven notes, reaching from the sonorous bass of a 
baritone to a few notes above even Jenny Lind's highest. 

A New York paper speaks of her thus: 

Miss Greenfield's Singing. — We yesterday had the pleasure of 
hearing the singer who is advertised in our columns as the "Black 
Swan." She is a person of lad3--like manners, elegant form and not 
unpleasing though decidedly African features. Of her marvelous 
powers she owes none to any tincture of European blood. Her voice 
is truly wonderful, both in its compass and truth. A more correct 
intonation, so far as our ear can decide, there could not be. She 
strikes every note on the exact center with unhesitating decision. 
She is a nondescript, an original. We cannot think any common des- 
tiny awaits her. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 81 

TJie Globe^ Toronto, May 12-15, 1852, said: 

Auy oue who went to the concert of Miss Greenfield on Thursday last 
expectmg to find that he had been deceived by the puff of the Ameri- 
can newspapers must have found himself most agreeably disappointed. 

A Brattleboro, Vt. , paper, in January, 1852, said of 
her: 

"The Black Swan," or Miss Greenfield, sang in Mr. Fisk's beauti- 
ful new hall on Wednesday evening last to a large audience. We had 
seen frequent notices in our exchanges and w'ere already prepossessed 
in favor of the abilities and life purposes of our sable sister, but after 
all we must say that our expectations of her success are greater than 
before we had heard her sing and conversed with her in her own pri- 
vate room. She is not pretty, but plain. ^ - '•' Still she is gifted with 
a beaut}' of soul which makes her countenance agreeable in conversa- 
tion; and in singing, especiall}' when her social nature is called into 
activity, there is a grace and beauty in her manner which soon make 
those unaccustomed to her race forget all but the melody. "''" ^ * 
Nature has done more for Miss Greenfield than any musical prodigy 
we have ever met, and art has marred her execution less. 

From triumph in America she sailed to Europe, where 
the London Momiing Post said of her: 

A large assemblage of fashionable and distinguished personages 
assembled by invitation at the Stafford House to hear and decide upon 
the merits of a phenomenon in the musical world. Miss Elizabeth 
Greenfield, better known in America as the "Black Swan," under 
which sobriquet she is about to be presented to the British public. 
This lady is said to possess a voice embracing the extraordinary com- 
pass of nearly three octaves, and her performances on this occasion 
elicited the unmistakable evidence of gratification. 

The LoJidon Times also said of her: 

Miss Greenfield sings "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth " with 
as much pathos, power and effect as does the "Swedish Nightingale," 
Jenny Lind. 

6 



82 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The London Observer also said of her: 

Her voice was at once declared to be one of extraordinary compass. 
Both her high and low notes were heard with wonder b}- the assembled 
amateurs and her ears were pronounced to be excellent. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

MISS NELIvIE E. BROWN. 

After all it would seem that rare musical talent is like 
the rare and gifted poet — "born and not made." Cer- 
tainly there is in the musical being, as there is in the 
poetical being, something that is rather more natural 
than it is artificial, however much training and pruning 
it may require to develop it. 

The subject of these lines evidently possessed natural 
ability, peculiar and rare, before she received the strong- 
support and help of that special training that has added 
so much to the complete development and roundness of 
her most remarkable gift. 

Miss Nellie E. Brown, of Dover, N. H., early began 
the onward march to eminence with such zeal and 
earnestness that she was soon the pride of all men wdio 
knew her enough to appreciate her ability and worth. 

In speaking of her Mr. James M. Trotter uses the 
following: 



'&> 



A few years ago, while attending a private school in Dover, 
Miss Caroline Bracket, a teacher in the same, noticing that Miss Brown 
possessed a naturally superior voice, earnestly advised its fullest culti- 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. h:] 

vation. This lady became her first iniisic teacher. Diligently pursu- 
ing her studies, she made rapid progress. Being induced to take part 
in occasional school and other concerts, our subject soon became quite 
prominent in Dover as a vocalist, and was engaged in 1865 to sing in 
the choir of the Free-will Baptist Church of that city. Here she 
remained until November, 1872, at which time, having learned of 
Miss Brown's fine vocal powers, the members of Grace Church, Haver- 
hill, Mass., earnestly invited her to become the leading soprano in their 
choir, offering her a liberal salary, besides the payment of her travel- 
ing expenses twice each week between Dover and Haverhill. This 
very complimentar}' invitation she accepted, and for four years her 
fine singing and engaging manners rendered her deservedly popular 
with the members and attendants of the church mentioned — people of 
fine Christian and general culture, before whom, in the public halls, 
she sang on several occasions. 

In writing to a friend once she said, "My motto is 
'Excelsior.' I am resolved to give myself up wholly 
to the study of music and endeavor, in spite of obstacles, 
to become an accomplished artist." 

In keeping with this view she applied herself assidu- 
ously and soon entered the New England Conservatory 
of Music, and was soon invited by the manager to take 
part in the quarterly concert. Mr. Trotter says: 

Here on two occasions, before large and highly cultivated audiences, 
with beautiful voice, correct method of expression, and ease, and grace 
of stage deportment — singing in Italian, music of a high order — 
Miss Brown won the most enthusiastic applause. Predictions of her 
complete success as a lyric artist were freely made by many con7wis- 
seurs. But these have not been her only appearances in Boston. She 
has many times sung at concerts in the finest music halls of the city 
before critical audiences, her charming rendition of the numerous 
English, Italian, French, Scotch and Irish songs in her rich reper- 
toire makin^i her one of Boston's favorite cantatrices. 



84 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The Boston Traveller^ April, 1874, said: 

Miss Nellie E. Brown has for some mouths been the leadiug soprano 
at Grace Church, Haverhill, Mass., which position she has filled with 
eminent acceptance, and with marked exhibition of artistic powers. 

The Gazette^ of New York City, said, November 4, 

1874: 

Miss Nellie Brown, born and bred from the hills of New Hamp- 
shire, possesses a voice of rare power and beauty, which she has dilli- 
gently labored to cultivate and improve by close and unremitting 
stud}'. She has also a rare charm of manner, which, united with her 
exquisite singing, won for her an enthusiastic reception. 

The great popularity of this very excellent lady is 
not by any means due alone to musical ability. It is 
quite possible for one to have all the abilities of this 
woman, and yet some one else with much less ability 
could be more popular. Miss Brown possessed polite- 
ness^ kindness and expression. She was sociable^ not 
arrogant^ hut positive, and yet carried a zvinning szveet- 
ness of te7nper and disposition. 

No, ability alone does not always bring success or 
popularity, but it is one of the essential elements to 
success, and is, possibly, regarded by some as being of 
more importance than any other one element; yet, since 
it costs no more to possess all the necessary qualities than 
it does to possess a part, and since it pays far better to 
have them all, why not imitate Miss Brown and succeed 
as she has? 

There is much more which might, with profit, be said 
of her more recent days and achievements, and certainly 
many more testimonials of later date, but want of space 
forbids at this late day, having failed until very recently 
to get such facts as we desired. 




HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS. 



WOMEN OF DTSTINCrriON. 85 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

MISS HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS. 

(elocutionist). 

The subject of this sketch, Miss Henrietta Vinton 
Davis, was born in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. 
Her father, Mansfield Vinton Davis, was a distinguished 
musician, and from him she inherited a natural taste for 
music. Shortly after her birth her father died, leaving 
a young and beautiful widow and the subject of this 
sketch. In the course of a few years her mother con- 
tracted a second marriage with Captain George A. 
Hackett, who during his whole life was devoted to the 
best interests of his race, and was their recognized leader 
in Baltimore up to the time of his death. He was a 
man of ample means and generous heart, and gave to 
his little step-daughter all the advantages which such 
conditions allow. He, like her own father, died while 
she was quite young. 

Her mother, a year after the death of Captain Hackett, 
removed to and became a permanent resident of the city 
of Washington, D. C. This good mother devoted her- 
self to the training of her only child, and as she early 
displayed a fondness for books and an eagerness for 
knowledge, she was given every advantage of the excel- 
lent schools of Washington. She soon made rapid prog- 
ress in her studies, and by her studious habits and 
genial manners became at once a favorite of her teachers. 



8(> womp:x of distinction. 

Her elocutionary power was early displayed, and each 
year at the closing of school she was the bright, par- 
ticular star in oratory. Miss IMary Bozeman, Miss 
Emma Brown and Miss Addie Howard, her teachers, all 
aided ■Miss Davis by their admirable training, and to 
them she returns thanks for encouragement. 

At the early age of fifteen she passed the necessary 
examination and w^as awarded a position as teacher in 
one of the public schools of her native State. While 
holding this position she attracted the attention of the 
Board of Education of the State of Louisiana, who ten- 
dered her a higher position to teach, which she accepted. 
She remained there some time until called home by the 
illness of her mother. Miss Davis left Louisiana amidst 
the regrets of many friends. She also bore the certifi- 
cate of the Board of Education testifying to the efficiency 
and ability with which she had discharged her arduous 
duties. 

Miss Davis, in 1878, entered the office of Recorder of 
Deeds at Washington, as copyist, where she remained 
until 1884, when she resigned to follow her chosen profes- 
sion. It was while holding this position -that she decided 
to carry out a long-cherished desire to study for the dra- 
matic stage. She had in the meantime, by a wide and 
thorough study of the best masters in classic and dra- 
matic literature, laid the foundation for a promising 
career. 

Miss Davis became the pupil of Miss Marguerite E. 
Saxton, a lady of undisputed ability and a most con- 
scientious teacher — a lady who knows no one by their 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 87 

color. Under the tuition and guidance of this lady she 
made her debut April 25, 1883, at Washington, before an 
audience that was cultured, critical and large. Slie was 
introduced by the Hon. Frederick Douglass, who takes 
a deep interest in her success. 

On this, her first appearance, her success was instan- 
taneous and she received a veritable ovation. The Asso- 
ciated Press flashed the news throughout the world, 
and Miss Davis at once took her place among the pro- 
fessional women of the age. 

A few weeks after her first appearance she made a 
tour of the principal cities of the East under the able 
management of Lieutenant James M. Trotter and Mr. 
William H. Dupree. At Boston, Hartford, New Haven 
and other places she was received with every mark of 
approval by both press and public. 

In April, 1884, Mr. Thomas T. Symmons became her 
manao^er. Mr. Svmmons is one of the few g^entlemen 
of our race who possess the ability and spirit of enter- 
prise calculated to secure success. He formed a dramatic 
and concert company to support his star, and by novel 
and liberal advertising brought her to the notice of new 
audiences. At Buffalo, N. Y., she received most flatter- 
ing newspaper notices and was the recipient of much 
social attention from both white and colored admirers. 

Again at Pittsburg, Pa., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Chi- 
cago, 111., and in fact wherever she has appeared, her 
genial manners and modest deportment attract to her 
many friends. 

Miss Davis has received numerous presents from indi- 
viduals and from the public; a massive gold star pre- 



88 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

sented to her by the citizens of Chicago, two magnifi- 
cent necklaces, a basket of flowers two feet high, made 
of tiny shells from Key West, Florida, presented by the 
leading ladies of that city, and many other testimonials 
of appreciation too numerons to mention. 

Miss Davis is one of the pioneers of her race in the 
legitimate drama, and bv her success has been the means 
of stimulating and encouraging others to emulate her 
example. While she has many imitators she has few, if 
any, superiors, and stands unique in being one of the 
few representatives the race has in the tragic art. 

She is entirely devoted to the upbuilding of her race, 
and believes the solution of the vexed problem lies in 
the hands of the Negro. She believes that the educa- 
tion of the Jiand^ the head and the heart is the prime 
necessity of the hour. She has invented a dress-cutting 
chart and has done much in the rural districts, where 
sewing seems to be one of the lost arts, to instill a love 
for this useful occupation. 



WOMEN OF DLSTJNCJTION. 



89 



CHAPTER XIX. 

MRS. JOSEPHINE TURPIN WASHINGTON. 

It is a noted historical fact that man becomes great, 
refined and powerful, either as an individual or as a 
nation, only in proportion as woman, his immediate com- 
panion and associate in society, is elevated to her natural 
sphere in the affairs of life that contribute to the highest 




MRS. JOSEPHINE TURPIN WASHINGTON. 

good and happiness of both. Her place is fast proving 
to be not a secondary one, but an important one, at his 
side. As he succeeds and conquers, she also succeeds 
and conquers. As he fails and goes down in the strug- 



90 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

gle, she also goes down with him. The interests of 
the two are inseparably linked together by a golden 
chain that makes his destiny her destiny, and certainly 
his glory should be her glory. 

In this condensed presentation of the life and works 
of Mrs. Josephine Tnrpin Washington the writer has 
no occasion for any exaggerated description of her. A 
simple statement of the facts is amply sufficient to tell of 
her greatness, and especially so when we remember that 
she has become noted long before reaching the age 
when scholarship usually ripens into golden fruit. She 
was born in Goochland county, Va. , July 31, 1861, 
being the daughter of Augustus A. and Maria V. Turpin. 
She was always a brilliant little creature, and learned 
to read quite early under the instruction of a friend of 
the family. Her parents moved to Richmond when she 
was vet vouno- where she entered the Dublic schools and 
was an attractive pupil, learning readily. She soon 
entered the High and Normal School, from which she 
graduated in 1876. From this time up to 1879 or 1880 
she was engaged in teaching school, when she entered 
Richmond Institute, both as a teacher and student. 
Here she filled her twofold position with credit to her- 
self and satisfaction to all concerned, remaining for three 
years, during which time she was a faithful, hard- 
working student. It was here that the writer first came 
into contact with her in a practical way, as school-mate 
in the class-room. Her zeal, keen intellect, kind dispo- 
sition and general scholarship, all combined, did much 
to stimulate the writer during those three memorable 



WOMEN OF DISTJNCrnON. 91 

years to greater effort in study, for it was then that he 
often had to burn midnight oil in order to come out even 
with her in the next day classes. She was a student 
from whom the writer could always, when discouraged, 
catch new inspiration; a real genius in the class-room, 
yet gentle, never arrogant, always wearing a pleasant 
smile, occasionally interrupted by a blush passing over 
her face. She did not remain to graduate, though only 
lacking one or two studies of completing the course, 
these not having been made on accout of the class 
reciting at an hour when she was engaged in teaching 
(a class). Although offered a diploma at any time she 
felt disposed to come up for examination, she declined; 
preferring to take a more extended course of study else- 
where, resigned as teacher and entered Howard Univer- 
sity in the fall of 1883, from which she graduated in 
1886. During her vacations she served as copyist in the 
office of Hon. Fred. Douglass, Recorder of the District. 
During and since graduation she has held responsible 
positions at Howard University, which she resigned for 
the consummation of that affection which had been 
steadily growing between herself and Dr. Samuel H. H. 
Washington, to whom she was married, and who is now 
a busy, practicing physician in Mobile, Ala. She may 
be truthfully called a brainy woman, of strong Chris- 
tian character — a refined lady of no small heart. Besides 
scholarship Mrs. Washington became quite into promi- 
nence as a writer, during her maiden days. Her first 
article appeared in the Virginia Star^ of Richmond, 
in 1877. It was a good thrust at intemperance, against 



92 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

selling- wine at entertainments for church benefit. She 
has since written many articles for the Viginia Star^ 
Planet^ New York Globe^ Industrial Herald^ New York 
Freeman^ Christian Recorder and the y4. M, E. Church 
Revieiv. The following are some of her subjects: 
"Paul's Trade and the Use He Made of It," "Notes to 
Girls, " " Higher Education of Women, " " The Hero of 
Harper's Ferry," "The Remedy for War," "Teaching 
as a Profession," and quite a number of other articles. 
Her writings have been published in the leading Afro- 
American journals of the country. Her writings have 
consisted of both prose and poetry. "Thoughts for 
Decoration Day" is one of her choice poetical writings, 
into which she seems to have put her whole soul. The 
following are only a few verses selected from this poem: 

Throughout our country's broad domain, 
In North and East and South and West, 

In city street and village lane, 
The nation pauses and takes rest. 

■X- -Sf 7f -X- ^r * 

Yet honor we the men who gave 

Their lives and all that makes life dear, 

To save our land and free the slave 

From cruel fate than death more drear. 

-;c- -X- -K- -x- -;f -x- 

For women who, like Spartans brave, 

Had tied the sash round soldiers gay. 
And sent them forth a land to save, 

And cheered them as the}' marched away. 

-;;- -x- -x- -x- -x- * 

We are not one; an alien race. 

Distinct, the negro dwells apart; 
The crime of color his disgrace. 

What matters brain, or brawn, or heart? 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 93 

Through ages dark in bondage held, 

And freed by accident of state, 
Deemed strangers where our fathers dwelled, 

The strife of party feud and hate. 

■■,r -x * -X- ->'r * 

Arouse, awake, bend to your oars ! 

Much work remains yet to be done; 
Till opened wide all closed doors, 

Rest not, nor think the battle won. 

■5«- * Tt ■?;- * * 

Unite to build the race in wealth, 

For money is a magic key; 
Seek power frankly, not by stealth. 

And use it wisely as may be. 

With all thy getting, wisdom get; 

Acquaint thyself with minds that soared; 
'Tis knowledge makes the distance set 

'Twixt cultured men and savage horde. 
* ■?«■ -K- ^ -K- * 

No cloud of doubt disturbs my mind. 

This nation's destined to be one, 
And future ages sure must find 

The night dispelled by risen sun. 

Hence, let us pass with hopes renewed. 

Fresh courage for the daily care; 
Forget past wrongs, avoid all feud, 

And only what is noble dare. 

The brave men we have honored here 

Knew how to die like heroes true; 
Who questions we will be their peer, 

If we like heroes learn to dof 



94 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

CHAPTER XX. 

LOUISA DeMORTIE. 

Down on the lower part of the James, in the proud 
little city of Norfolk, Va. , was born in 1833, of free 
parents, Eouisa DeMortie. She, like the children of 
other free parents, was denied the advantages of educa- 
tion. She found her way to Boston, Mass., in 1853. 
Here she seized every opportunity for gaining instruction. 
It is said that she was a girl of much beauty and sweet- 
ness of manner and appearance. She was a remarkable 
winner of friends wherever she went; high-toned but not 
arrogant. In 1862 she became a center of attraction as 
a public reader, a natural and refined elocutionist. To 
her acquired ability she added her natural v\^it and most 
attractive manner, which placed her high in her chosen 
sphere. About the time she came very prominently 
into public favor she heard of the needs and cries of 
colored children in the city of New Orleans. With a 
brave and sympathetic heart full of desire to help them, 
and like a disciple of Jesus Christ, she started for the 
spot. It seemed to be her chief object to do good and 
serve Him whom she loved because He first loved her. 
There she labored in the interest of the orphans with a 
zeal of earnestness and devotion that gained the admira- 
tion of all who knew of her work. 

In 1867 she had raised sufficient money to be ready to 
build for them a comfortable home, where she hoped to 
especially care for these and other unfortunate little ones. 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. 95 

Before she could consummate her plans that much dreaded 
monster, yellow fever, came upon her like a raging- 
tyrant whose grasp she could not break, and to whom 
she fell a victim October lo, 1867, with the following 
words that passed her dying lips: "I belong to God, our 
Father." 

A tender plant, a mighty and sainted worker, like a 
flourishing flower, cut down in the days of a useful and 
glorious work, yet a conqueror, because she still lives to 
inspire many to follow her example. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

MRS. ELLA V. CHASE WILLIAMS. 

This very excellent lady, who stands high among the 
females engaged in the work of education, was born in 
the city of Washington, D. C. Her father, William H. 
Chase, who was a blacksmith by trade, moved among 
the leading citizens of the District of Columbia during 
his day, and died in 1863, leaving a wife and six children. 
Her mother (whose maiden name was Miss Lucinda 
Seaton) was an immediate descendant of a very respec- 
table family, of Alexandria, Va. She was a woman of 
strong will, energy and perseverance, as is evidenced by 
the career of her daughter, Mrs. E. V. C. Williams, of 
whom we are now writing, who was educated at the 
famous Howard University. In 1879 she began her 
much loved work as a teacher, for which she is so well 



96 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

fitted, and into which she puts so much energy. From 
the beginning- of her chosen work in 1879 ^"^P ^^ Decem- 
ber I, 1882, she taught in the public scools of Wash- 
ington, D. C. , and was considered one of the best teachers 
then employed in the city. She resigned and w^as mar- 
ried to Rev. K. W. Williams, a Presbyterian minister, 
who w^as also edi'icated at Howard University. This was 
quite an occasion, and was witnessed by a large number 
of people at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, 
Rev. F. J. Grimkee, D. D. , officiating. 

In 1883 a parochial school, in connection with the 
church held in charge by her husband, was organized, 
which has steadily grown until now it exists under the 
name of Ferguson Academy. It is located at Abbeville, 
S. C. , and is a co-educational institution for boarding 
and day pupils, and is presided over by Rev. B. W. 
Williams as president, and Mrs. Williams as principal. 

This very modest Christian woman is also editor of 
the "Woman's Department" of the Athuitic Beacon^ 
of which her husband is editor in general. This paper 
is sent forth in the interest of education and the general 
welfare and elevation of the race. She is also president 
of the Woman's Synodical Missionary Society, within 
the bounds of the x^tlantic Synod. She has made public 
speeches in the interest of education, missions and tem- 
perance. In 1885 she represented the Presbyterian 
women of the South at the Woman's Missionary Meet- 
ing, in connection with the General Assembly of the 
Presbyterian Church of America, which meeting was 
held in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was also a representative 




I: ^ 













WOMEN OF I)lSTIX(TIOX. 1)7 

to the same body at its meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., in 
1886, and also represented them at the Centennial 
Assembly, which met in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1888. 
Her stay of nine years at Abbeville, S. C. , her present 
location, has been entirely devoted to the work of educa- 
tion. The school which she so much loves and which 
has been under her fostering care from its incipiency is 
yet growing and has become a flourishing little enterprise 
to her, and is doing a noble part of the work along this 
line. Long may this faithful servant of Christ live to 
do even greater work in His cause to lift up an humble 
people ! 



CHAPTER XXn. 

SCOTIA SEMINARY. 

(concord, n. c). 

This school is under the control of the Board for 
Freedmen of Northern Presbyterian Church. It is the 
outgrowth of a parochial school established by Rev. Luke 
Borland and his wife, in 1865 or 1866, who deserve great 
credit for the zeal and perseverance with which they 
clung to their work through trying times. In 1870 the 
school was incorporated by the State as a seminary' 
under its present name, having that year tzuelue board- 
ing pupils in a little plank house 16x24 feet. In 1876 
it sent out its first graduating class of nine members. 

7 . . 



1)8 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

During the same year the first brick building was erected. 
At present the accommodations consist of "Scotia" and 
"Faitli Hall,'' both four-story brick buildings, contain- 
ing chapel, class-rooms, dormitories for teachers and 
about 275 students (these buildings are heated with 
steam and are lighted by electricity). Music Hall for 
the department of music, and the church huiiding used 
by the students and the congregation. 

The property is valued at $60,000. Scotia is exclu- 
sively for girls and aims to combine, in the most effect- 
ive way, industry with the culture of the mind and heart. 
It does not admit students of the lowest grades. Its work 
is in the two departments: (i) Grammar^ (2) Normal and 
Scientijic. From the beginning something like 2,500 
persons have been enrolled, and about 300 have gradu- 
ated from one or both courses of study. The number 
enrolled during the last year was 261, of whom 253 were 
boarders from ten different States. Rev. Dr. Dorland 
and wife remained in charge until the fall of 1886, when, 
on account of advancing years, they were relieved, hav- 
ing made their indelible impress upon the Church and 
the colored people. 

Rev. Dr. D. J. vSatterfield and wife took up the 
work where their predecessors had left off. The present 
faculty is composed of the president and principal 
(Dr. D. J. Satterfield and wife), with eleven lady teachers 
and two assistants. 

While seeking to develop a high type of womanhood 
in its students Scotia has two special lines of work: 
(i). The training of teachers for our own schools. For 



WOMEN OF DISTIXCTIOX. \)U 

this some teclniical instruction is given, but the main 
point of concentration is the preparatory and grammar 
departments^ where the drill is made as thorough as pos- 
sible. (2). Still more stress is laid upon the training of 
home-makers. The entire industrial system has this end 
in view — to prepare the student to be an ideal house- 
keeper; while the students also associate with the teach- 
ers, who are of high culture and refinement and piety, 
with the view to add to their culture of heart, without 
which the best housekeeper can never make an ideal 
home. It is in this way the friends of Scotia account 
for the fact that their graduates have not become con- 
spicuous social leaders or in public life. As queens of 
the home many of them have done well. Many of the 
graduates of Scotia are the faithful wives of noted presi- 
dents and professors in many of our best colleges and 
universities. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

^USAN S; McKINNEY, M. D. 

More has been done along all the lines of popular educa- 
tion for the higher and broader development of woman 
during the last twenty-five years than possible during 
any quarter of a century in the history of American 
civilization. Especially is this true with regard to profes- 
sional and industrial education. 



100 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The idea of woman as a regular graduated practicing 
physician is growing more and more popular each year, 
and to-day the doors of quite a number of medical colleges 
are open to her which were closed thirty years ago against 
her. A?id zuhy should she not enter^ as well as her 
brotlier, and prepare herself for usefulness in life? The 
law of God has never excluded her, nor has the law of 
man the right to deny to her admission into this impor- 
tant field of labor. Indeed, she deserves recognition 
and should enjoy every right in the profession that is 
accorded to her brother. 

Such a physician of character and ability as Susan S. 
McKinney, M. D., of Brooklyn, N. Y., will add dignity 
and refinement to the practice of medicine. 

Graduating, as she did, at the head of her medical 
class in 1870, by the united choice of both professors 
and students, she has, from the beginning of her prac- 
tice, taken a high stand in the profession and has enjoyed 
a large and lucrative practice in jjiedicine aj?d surgery 
among both white and colored citizens of Brooklyn, N. Y. 
She enjoys the distinction of being the sister of that 
highly respected and honored man. Rev. Henry Hyland 
Garnet, D. D. , who bore a national reputation. She 
also enjoys the distinctive honor of being \\\^ first genuine 
colored, woman in the United States to enter the medical 
profession. She has been called upon to read papers of 
importance before both the State and County Home- 
opathic Medical Societies, of which she is a member. 
She also belongs to the College Alumni Association, and 
is attached to the Memorial Hospital Dispensary Stafif. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 101 

The Brooklyn Times of June 27, 1891, contained the 
following concerning this distinguished professional 
lady, who undoubtedly deserves every word that has 
been said in praise of her merits: 

Wheu she commenced practicing here, twenty years ago, under her 
maiden name of Smith, she found it up-hill work to get established, 
sex, color and school being all against her; for in those days home- 
opathy was not so favorably regarded as now. Being quite young in 
years, and even more youthful in appearance, was another disadvan- 
tage. When about a year in practice she married the Rev. William G. 
McKinney, formerly located at Flemington, N. J., but now retired. 
Dr. McKinney is a bright little woman with sparkling black eyes and 
frank, pleasant expression. She has fairly outdone her white sisters 
in proving that a married woman can successfully follow more than 
one profession without neglecting her famih-, for she has not only 
acquired a reputation as a practitioner but is also a musician of 
acknowledged standing, being organist and director in the Bridge 
Street M. E. Church, where she has charge of a choir of thirty-five 
voices. She was a pupil of Zundel and Henry Eyre Brown, and has 
recently been elected Musical Director of the Brooklyn Literary Union, 
with her daughter. Miss Anna McKinney, who is studying music in the 
Pratt Institute, as assistant. Her boy is a clerk under C. P. Hunting- 
ton, and both children are bright, handsome and healthy-looking and 
show careful nurture. 

Of course, such a busy woman has no time for social life, but is 
devoted to her family and her profession. Being the family doctor in 
many homes, she has a number of gentlemen patients, for the boys 
and girls of some families have grown up from childhood under her 
medical care. Many male doctors send their special female cases to 
her, one eminent physician having placed his mother in her care for 
treatment. In short, she meets with naught but courtesy and consid- 
eration from her fellow-practitioners of both sexes and schools. Two 
years ago she took a post-graduate course at the Long Island College 
Hospital, where she was the only woman student at the time. "Cour- 
age, 'grit' and physical strength are needed," she says, b}^ the suc- 
cessful physician. " She must be willing to stud}- hard with a determi- 
nation to succeed." 



W-2 WOMEN OF Dlt^TlNCTJON. 

Dr. McKiiiney is an important element in the society 
of Brooklyn, as well as a strong supporter of the best 
interests of her fellow-citizens in all that pertains to 
their w^ell-being and happiness. She is broad, liberal 
and decided, yet kind, unassuming and gentle. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

MRS. CHARLOTTE SCOTT. 

When the rumor of war had wrought this country 
into anxious excitement; when the men of the North 
had been called upon to take up arms on the one side, 
and when the men of the South were being trained to 
keep time with drum and fife on the other side, the slave- 
holder, no doubt, had some fears as to the results of the 
proposed bloody conflict. 

But there was another class of beings who also pre- 
dicted the results; the slave saw fully as far into the 
future of this war as did his master. By the eye of 
faith he knew the days of a wonderful change would 
soon come. 

As strange as it may seem, thousands of bond-men 
and bond-women assembled together at the dead hour 
of night, when patrol and master were victims to sleep, 
and prayed with full confidence for this war to result in 
the breaking of their shackles. Their belief that this 
long-prayed-for day would come was as strong as if God 
had, in an audible voice, promised it to them. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 10:^, 

They declared that it would so end, and altliougli 
many died without the sight, yet it did come, to the 
glory of the God in whom they trusted. 

During- this lono- and fearful struoole, that drenched 
this Southland with some of the best blood of the nation, 
there lived an old slave woman who fully believed in 
the providence of God. She was born in Campbell 
county, Va. , and was the slave of a Mrs. W. P. Rucker, 
who at the close of the w^ar, possibly, lived at Marietta, 
Ohio. 

Charlotte Scott at this time was about sixty years old. 
Her father was named Thomas Scott. When the nev/s 
of Ivincoln's proclamation was flashed over the country 
Charlotte Scott, , with four millions of her brethren, 
rejoiced. When the news of the death of the immortal 
hero w^as heralded throughout the country sJie.^ with the 
rest of her brethren, zvas sad. 

It was through this proclamation that she had been 
declared free, and now, unlike the nine that were 
cleansed, she desired to return and ''give thanks," for she 
knew he had died in the cause of justice. When her 
former owner informed her of this sad fate of her inimoy- 
tal deliverer and friend^ she exclaimed, "The colored 
people have lost their best friend on earth; Mr. Lincoln 
was our liest friend, and I will give five dollars of my 
wages towards erecting a monument to his memory." 
She was first to propose a monument and first to con- 
tribute to the carrying out of her proposal to erect the 
famous Lincoln Monument which now stands in Lin- 
coln Park, Washington, D. C. , and was unveiled by 
General U. S. Grant, April 14, 1876. It cost $20,000. 






104 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Is there any honor in her actions and love for the dead 
Ciiieftain ? Is there any glory in the efforts for this 
monument? Has any sacrifice been made for which the 
world would give praise ? If so, let them all fall first and 
heaviest upon the head of Charlotte Scott. She showed 
a gratitude characteristic only of a true heart and a well- 
trained conscience. 

When this monument shall have crumbled and fallen; 
when the hands that placed it there shall have been 
forgotten in the grave, and when the spot upon which it 
now' stands shall be used for other purposes not now 
known to mortals, the deed of this woman, the emana- 
tion of a thankful heart in kind remembrance and sacri- 
fice, shall not be forgotten by the God in whom the 
bonded slaves trusted for deliverance. 






WOMEN OF DISTINCTION 



105 



CHAPTER XXV 



THE HYERS SISTERS. 



It was probably April 22, 1867, when the Metropoli- 
tan Theatre of Sacramento, California, was filled with 
an anxious crowd of eight hundred or more human 
beings to witness the public beginning of two young 
Afro-American singers whose joint reputation since that 
time has stood without possibly a parallel in American 
history. These two young sisters, so often called the 
" Hyers Sisters," x\nna Madah and Emma Louise Hyers, 





THE II VERS SISTERS. 



exhibited an aptness to imitate operatic performers 
when quite young. This peculiar and yet very natural 
quality led their parents to give them a chance. Oppor- 
tunity at home was afforded with which the girls made 
such remarkable progress that professional teachers were 
soon a necessity. 

Mr. James M. Trotter makes the following statement 
concerning them and their teachers: 



l(i() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

After one year's instruction it was found that the girls had advanced 
so rapidly as to have quite "caught up" with their teachers (their 
parents), and it was therefore found necessary to place them under the 
instruction of others more advanced in music. Professor Hugo Sank, 
a German of fine musical abilit}', became then their next tutor, giving 
them lessons in vocalization and on the piano-forte. With this gentle- 
man they made much progress. Another change, however, being 
decided upon, our apt and ambitious pupils were next placed under 
the direction of Madame Josephine D'Orni}^, a lady of fine talents, an 
operatic celebrit}-, and distinguished as a skillful teacher. From this 
lady the sisters received thorough instruction in the Italian language, 
and were taught some of the rudiments of the German language. It 
is, in fact, to the rare accomplishments and painstaking efforts of 
Madame D'Orniy that the Misses Hyers owe mostly their success of 
to-day. For she it was who taught them that purity of enunciation 
and sweetness of intonation that are now so noticeable in their sing- 
ing of Italian and other music; while under her guidance, also, they 
acquired that graceful, winning stage appearance for which they have 
so often been praised. Although, as was natural, quite proud of the 
rich natural gifts possessed by their children, and extremely delighted 
with the large degree of their acquirements in the art of music, their 
sensible parents were in no haste to rush them before the public, and 
it was therefore nearly two years after leaving the immediate tutelage 
of Madame D'Ormy when these young ladies made their deb uL They 
also went to San Francisco and other places in California, where the}^ 
gained great renown. After these concerts they retired to severe study 
preparatory to making a tour of the States. Finally deciding to pro- 
ceed Bast, they sang to highly appreciative and enthusiastic audiences 
in several Western towns and cities. At Salt Lake City they were 
received with the very highest marks of favor. On the 12th of August, 
187 1, they gave a grand concert in Salt Lake Theatre, offering some 
five operatic selections. 

The Daily Herald^ of St. Joseph, Mo., had the fol- 
lowing to say concerning them: 

Whoever of our readers failed to visit the Academy of Music last 
evening missed a rare musical treat. The concert of the Hyers Sisters 
was absolutely the best; furnished those in attendance with the choicest 
music which has been in St. Joseph since we have resided here. 



WOMEN OK DISTINCTION. 107 

The Hyers Sisters are two colored ladies, or girls, aged respectively 
sixteen and seventeen years, but their singing is as mature and perfect 
as any we have ever listened to. We have read the most favorable 
reports of these sisters in the California papers, but confess that we 
were not prepared for such an exhibition of vocal powers as they gave 
us last night. 

Miss Anna H3'ers, the eldest, is a musical phenomenon. When we 
tell musicians that she sings E flat above the staff as loud and as clear 
as an organ they will understand us when we say she is a prodigy. 
Jenny Lind was the recipient of world-wide fame and the most lavishly 
bestowed encomiums froYn the most musical critics in Vienna twenty 
5-ears ago. Parepa Rosa, it is claimed, reached that vocal altitude last 
summer. But the sopranos who did it flit across the planet like angels. 
Several competent musicians listened to Anna Hyers last evening and 
unanimously pronounced her perfectly wonderful. With the greatest 
ease in the world, as naturally and gracefully as she breathes, she runs 
the scale from the low notes in the middle register to the highest notes 
ever reached by mortal singers. Her trills are as sweet and bird-like 
as those with which the "Swedish Nightingale" once entranced the 
world. 

After a real triumph in New York City and Brooklyn 
the Brooklyn Daily Union had the following to say: 

Not only was ever}' inch of standing room in the Young Men's 
Christian Association Hall occupied, but the ante-room and the stair- 
way were completely jammed. In spite, however, of the uncomfortable 
crowding every one was pleased to be present and all were delighted with 
the concert. The young ladies are gifted with remarkable voices and 
sing together with perfect harmon}^ displaying the full compass and 
beauty of their voices, which are sweet and clear. 

A Boston paper said of them : 

We were invited, with some fift}' other persons, this forenoon to hear 
the singing of two colored young ladies, named Anna and Emma 
Hyers, of San Francisco, at the Meionaon. They are aged respective!}' 
sixteen and fourteen years, and, after a casual inspection, ma}^ be 
called musical prodigies. They are, without doubt, destined to occup}^ 
a high position in the musical world. 



10<s WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Mr. Trotter said: 

In Boston they made many personal friends, receiving from many of 
its most cultured people very flattering attentions; and here too were 
pointed out to them, in a candid and friendly spirit, such defects in 
their voices or manner of singing as only those skilled in the highest 
technique of the musical art could detect. All such suggestions were 
readily received by the young ladies, who, acting upon the same, made 
much advancement in the technical requirements of the lyrical art. 
The}' lingered in Boston, being loath to leave its congenial art circles, 
and to leave behind its many facilities for improvement in their pro- 
fession. Finally deciding to start again on their travels, they visited 
many of the towns and cities of Rhode Island and Connecticut. Their 
singing everywhere gave the utmost satisfaction, and cultivated New 
England confirmed, in words of highest praise, the verdict of the West 
and New York. 



CHAPTER XXVL 

MADAM UIvIvIAN R. BUNDY. 

This lady, eminent in her profession, was born and edu- 
cated in New England, where she received a very thorough 
English and classical education, graduating with honors 
from the Warny, R. I., Academy, where she had spent 
much time in study under the honorable Professor Isaac 
B. Cady. At the age of seven years she began the study 
of music under the most proficient masters of that day — 
Prof H. P. Pierce and Prof Ebon Tonyee of the Boston 
Conservatory, under whom she finished as teacher of the 
piano, church organ and vocal music. At the age of 
fifteen she made her debut at a grand Organ Recital^ 



AVOMEX OF DLSTINCTJON. 101) 

given at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, of which her 
parents were the only colored members. It was at this 
very aristocratic cluirch that she received the high praises 
of the entire audience and competent judges as being 
master of the immense organ, which she manipulated 
with perfect ease and grace. She has, since this great 
triumph, filled positions of honor among the wealthy 
masses of New England cities; was the first colored 
teacher and singer in old Mixion Academy of Language 
at Providence, R. I. , serving for a period of four years 
and teaching many pupils of both races. 

Soon after coming to New York her services were 
engaged as organist at the renowned Shiloh Presbyterian 
Church, of which Rev. Henry Hyland Garnet, D. D., 
was pastor for nine years. 

Although it is said that prejudice exists to an extent 
in that city, she can boast of some of the wealthiest 
w^hite people among her scholars and patrons. Prof. G. 
Jardine, of great organ fame, quotes her as being the 
most brilliant colored organist of the city. With a 
most graceful and attractive appearance she has a bright 
future before her. 

Madam E. R. Bundy is one of whom the race may 
well be proud as a skilled and noted musician. 



110 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 
HOME-LIFE OF LIBERIAN WOMEN. 

"The hand that rocks the cradle 
Is the hand that moves the world." 

Nowhere is the truth of this familiar adage more clearly 
exemplified than in the young negro republic — "The 
Lone Star" — Liberia. 

As we look back throuo'h the vista of years to the 
time before Liberia's corner-stone was laid, at the very 
beginning of the country's existence, we find woman at 
work, exerting her influence and exhausting her talents 
and streno^th to make its foundation sure. Her influ- 
ence, the lever power which raises nations, which moves 
the world, has ever been a potent factor in advancing 
the welfare of the country. She has ever been willing 
and ready to share its burdens, encounter its obstacles 
and struggles and endure its hardships. 

This assertion is evidenced by the fact that soon after 
the arrival of the first colonists or emigrants in the 
country, which was at Monrovia, in 1821, the native 
chiefs perceived that, in all probability, the coming to 
their shores, to live in their midst, of Christian women 
would interfere with their nefarious traffic in slavery, 
which had long prevailed in the neighborhood. There- 
fore, regardless of the treaty by which they had ceded 
the territory, they determined to destroy the settlement 
if they could. The temporary dwellings that had been 
slightly and hastily put up were consumed by the torch 



1 

WOMEN ( ) 1^^ I > I HT I X( 'T I () X . Ill 

in the hand of these natives. In the wake of the flames 
came the African fever, bnt the pioneer Liberian women 
said that 

"The bravest are the tenderest, 
The loving are the daring." 

And thns saying, they faced these, braved them 
undaunted, and continued to battle with and hold at 
bay the natives, rebuild their houses, and in June, 1822, 
with the assistance of their brothers and copartners in the 
struggle, laid the corner-stone of the Republic of Liberia, 
upon the site whereon to-day stands the beautiful capital 
city, Monrovia. 

When, in these dark davs, these trvins: ordeals throuoh 
which Iviberian womanhood passed, they were impor- 
tuned to quit these anxious scenes of warfare and flee to 
British settlements or return to America, they replied, 
in the language of the brave, heroic leader, Elijah 
Johnson, and said, "No, sirs; we have been for years 
hunting and searching for a home, and we have found 
it and .shall stay here." They stayed, too, and labored 
faithfully until their change came — until they were 
invited to cease toiling and cross over the silent river 
of time and rest beneath the tall palms that dot the fair 
plains of eternity. But ere their departure they sol- 
emnly enjoined upon their daughters to prove them- 
selves polished stones in the nation's temple, the founda- 
tions of which only the judgment day will reveal the 
hardships, the sorrows and anguish which their mothers 
experienced in assisting to lay — in short, to be nothing- 
less than true, faithful women of purpose and determi- 
nation. 



112 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The pioneer women of Liberia were niissiona7'ies^ 
soldiei's and counselors^ and directors in matters of state 
as well. They were women of peace, too, just the angels 
that young Liberia mostly needed at that time; and while 
they exhausted every effort to preserve it, they failed. 
Hostilities, wars and famines were their constant com- 
panions. The native chiefs, the very ones who had sold 
the land, would have no pleas for peace. With these 
brave heroines it was now battle or famine lutto death^ 
with the greatest doubts as to the results. These women 
of peace here became women of war. They helped 
their stronger allies plan fortifications, mount cannon, 
distribute ammunition; they served as picket guards, 
and in other v/ays encouraged, assisted, stimulated and 
inspired those who struggled to strike, strike till there 
could be no relaxation of vigilance — till the enemy were 
repulsed. The energetic pioneers, enfeebled by severe 
and protracted self-denials, would spend sleepless nights 
with fever and then work all day building breast-works, 
stockades and clearing the dense forest in front of their 
few pieces of artillery. Thus passed many dark and 
rainy days^ 

"Some days must be dark and dreary," 

until early in November in that year more than eight 
hundred natives, with war-paint and whoop, made a con- 
centrated attack on the settlers' most outlvino;- stock- 
ade. And had these natives, numbering more than ten 
to one of their antagonists, not stopped to plunder, they 
could have swept the settlement, by one determined rush, 
into the sea. Danger so imminent was a tonic that not 
even the African fever could withstand. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. li:^> 

Having performed duty oft and well, as preachers of 
righteousness, as missionaries of peace, they, as Liberia's 
pioneer women, are now called on to experience the 
greatest battle in the history of the country in which 
women were participants. When in this crisis the 
women rallied the men retreating from the stockades, 
brought a cannon to bear upon the plunderers, which 
was fired by Mrs. Newport, wdiose memory is yet fresh 
in the minds of and will ever be preserved in the casket 
of precious recollections by every true Liberian. The 
Newport Guards, a military company of Monrovia, has, 
ever since her hazardous but decisive fire of cannon, per- 
petuated her memory by bearing her name. This 
woman, with other noble heroines, heading a charge as 
the natives hesitated, panic-stricken, by sudden and 
unexpected discharge of cannon, drove them, crestfallen, 
to the cover of the forest, and Liberia w^as saved. 

" The oak grows stronger 

By the winds that toss its branches." 

It will not be putting the remark too strongly to 
repeat with emphasis, that from the very foundation of 
Liberia w^oman, with her modest demeanor and decision 
of purpose, has made as great and as glorious an impress 
upon the pages of Liberian history as have the most 
illustrious of their sterner companions; yes, she has 
wrought equal with others to achieve glory for, and to 
enhance the grandeur and magnificence of the country. 

Among the sainted women who were present and 
assisted in laying the foundations broadly and deeply on 

8 



114 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

which the fabric of Liberia's liberties shall rest to the 
remotest generations; among- the noble-hearted women 
who labored assiduously and arduously, in suushine and 
in rain, to push forward the civilizing work among the 
heathen natives of Liberia and raise the bright and 
morning star of freedom and religion over this portion 
of Africa; good women who possessed great souls and 
breathed a sentiment which said: 

"Give to the winds thy fears! 

Hope, and be undismayed; 
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears, 

God shall lift up thy head "; 

women who, though dead, still live in the hearts of Libe- 
rians, are Mrs. Newport, the warrior; Mrs. Elijah John- 
son, the far-sighted statesman; Mrs. Teage, the jurist; 
Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Yates, Mrs. Richardson, Mrs. Moore, 
Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Elizabeth Roberts. 

Much of the prosperity which Liberians enjoy to-day 
is largely due to the ceaseless efforts of the good women 
whose names are mentioned above. But there are still 
some few^ remaining who have not yet gone on to join 
tlieir mothers in that rest, sweet rest; who have caught 
hold where the pioneer sisters left off and have gone on 
steadilv to work, buildins: and fosterino- the nation's 
institutions. 

These women are now actively on the stage of respon- 
sible life in Liberia, giving inspiration, influencing the 
building of breastworks and stockades, not, however, 
like those which their mothers erected, of stocks and 
staves,, but of earnest prayer, consecrated to God: Mrs. 



AVOMEN OF DLSTINCTIOX. 11.-) 

President Cheeseniaii, Mrs. ex-President Johnson, Mrs. 
ex-President Payne, Mrs. General Sherman, Mrs. L. A. 
Johnson, Mrs. B. J. Barclay, Mrs. H. A. Williams, Mrs. 
Henry Cooper, Mrs. Caroline R. Moore, Mrs. Martha 
Ricks, Mrs. A. D. Williams, Mrs. C. T. O. King, Mrs. 
A. B. King, Mrs. W. D. Coleman, Mrs. Georgie Dennis, 
Mrs. Z. H. Roberts, Mrs. J. H. Deputy, Mrs. Watson, 
Mrs. I. N. Roberts, Mrs. Bishop Ferguson, Mrs. G. W. 
Gibson, Mrs. F. B. Perry, Mrs. I. C. Dickinson, Mrs. 
Colonel Jones, Mrs. June Moore, Mrs. Solomon Hill, Mrs. 
Decoursey, Mrs. Hagans, Mrs. T. W. Howard, Mrs. A. 
Barclay, Mrs. Sarah Blyden, Mrs. Dr. Moore, Mrs. 
Travis, Mrs. C. A. Pittman, Mrs. J. E. Sharpe, Mrs. 
E. C. McGill, Mrs. J. S. Washington, Mrs. Clement 
Irons, Mrs. Worrell and Miss E. C. Payne. 

To give, or to even attempt to give in this short chap- 
ter, a sketch of the life and labors of each lady whose name 
appears herein is a task quite impossible for the writer 
to perform now; suffice, however, to say that these ladies 
have moved a long way from the lowly huts of the pio- 
neer women. 

Among them is represented every known grace and 

refinement which the women of other countries enjoy. 

They live in a goodly land, occupy comfortable, yea, 

luxurious homes, where none dare molest — where none 

can make them afraid. E. E. Smith, 

Recent United States Minister to Liberia. 



11 



WO:\IEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



MRS. A. E. JOHNSON. 

This very excellent lady was born in Toronto, Canada, 
in 1858, and was edncated in Montreal, where she was 
also converted and baptized, joining the Point St. 
Charles Baptist Church when quite young. She is the 
daughter of Eevi and Ellen Hall, formerly of the State 




:MKS. a. E. JOHNSON. 



of Maryland. Upon the death of her father her mother 
returned to Baltimore, where she and her daughter both 
reside at this time. Mrs. Johnson was teaching a day 
school in the Water's M. E. Chapel, in Baltimore, when 
she and Rev. Harvey Johnson, D. D., became acquainted; 
as a result of which they were married in 1877, and now 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTKJX. 117 

are proud of one daughter (four years old) and two sons, 
respectively eight and ten years old. Mrs. Johnson 
began her literary career by writing for race papers. 

It was in 1888 she saw the necessity for a paper such 
as would draw out the latent powers of our women by 
developing a taste and aptness, upon their part, to write 
on such topics as would interest the young people 
and kindle in them a thirst for reading; consequently 
she began the publication of T/ie Ivy^ a monthly of 
eight pages, which she sent forth as a herald of light to 
guide and elevate our oivn young people. The matter in 
these columns was original, pure, instructive and inter- 
esting. A large number of our good women wrote for 
this paper, the contents of which were extensively read 
and much praised by the public. 

In speaking of this spicy little beacon-light {The Ivy) 
the Baltimore Baptist says: 

The contents were original and the general tone very creditable to 
the editor. '"" '" '"' So far as it has gone the editor must be con- 
scious of having done a good work and shovVni the way for some others 
to follow. 

Her next attempt was to write a book that could be 
used in Sabbath-school libraries. This she did, and it 
was accepted and published by the American Baptist 
Publication Society in 1890. This society is one of the 
largest of its kind in this country. The title of the 
book is "Clarence and Corinne." In May, 1891, she 
wrote a story, entitled "Dr. Hayes' Wire Fence," which 
was purchased by the Yoiith^s Companion^ of Boston. 
At this time the American Baptist Publication Society 



r 



118 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

has the manuscript of her second book, which will pos- 
sibly appear during this year, having already been 
accepted. She now has on hand a new project with 
which she, we are quite certain, will soon strike another 
fatal blow upon the head of some "Thomas" of olden 
times, who sits hard by, ever ready to doubt the ability, 
skill and power of thought possessed by Afro- American 
women. 

But, alas! the world shall yet see as it has not yet fully 
seen, and shall know as it has not yet known, the whole 
trtith in this matter (at least it shall acknowledge much 
that is now denied), for indeed the women of this race 
are steadily climbing and "every round is higher and 
highei\ ' ' 

The following are some more of her writings and also 
some press notices. The National Baptist (Philadelphia) 
has reproduced her story, "Nettie Ray's Thanksgiving 
Day," and also short poems from her paper. The Soiver 
^;2<3^^^<7/^r (Baltimore) has published "The Mignonette's 
Mission." She has also been editor of a "Children's 
Corner" in this paper. 

Th& National Baptist^ in speaking of her book ("Clar- 
ence and Corinne"), says: 

It is a pathetic little story. 

The Baltimore Baptist says of the book: 

The interest of the reader is early excited and held steadily to the 
close. 

The Baptist Teacher says: 

One feature of this book makes it of special interest. It is the first 
Sunday-school book published from the pen of a colored writer. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 119 

The Missionary l^isitor says: 

This, we believe, is our first Sunday-school library book written by 
a colored author. Mrs, Johnson is the wife of a noted and successful 
Baltimore pastor, and in this book shows talent worthy of her husband. 
-::- -;t -;:- 'pjjg \^.^\q \^ healthy in tone, holds the attention and is well 
adapted to the intermediate classes of Sunday-school readers. 

The Baptist Alessenger (Baltimore) says: 

The fact of its being published by the American Baptist Publication 
Societ}' speaks volumes of praise for the book. 

It also says: 

This is one of the silent yet powerful agents at work to break down 
unreasonable prejudice, which is a hindrance to both races. 

There are other strong sayings of the Home Protector 
(Baltimore), National Monitor^ the Soiver and Reaper^ 
the American Baptist^ the hidianapolis Daily Journal^ 
all of which show conclusively the value of the writings 
of this noble woman. Her article recently published in 
the iNew York Age in the defense of x\fro-American 
literature as original productions is sufficient to hush in 
eternal silence the enemy of the progress the race has 
made, who now bobs up and claims that our literature is 
not original. Mrs. Johnson gives this false doctrine 
such original blows from the gigantic intellect of an 
Afro-American, and pursues her enemy with such vehe- 
ment logic, that she not only confuses, but, like a cham- 
pion of the truth, she refutes and conquers him. 

The writer has often admired this little silent preacher 
in print, and feels confident that, with such success as 
Mrs. Johnson has already achieved, we, as a race, niay 
very reasonably expect to garner a fruitful harvest of 
golden grain from her pen in the future. 



120 



WOMEN OF DISTINC^nON. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

MARY V. COOK, A. B., A. M. 

Those who pursue the path of duty which takes its 
beo^inning- among rocks and thorns are rewarded by 




-MARY V. COOK, A. )•>., A. .M. 



being able to mount into clearer light and penetrate 



fairer regions. 



WOMP]N OF DISTINCTION. 121 

It was by perseverance and faithfulness to duty that 
Miss Mary V. Cook raised herself to a point of distinc- 
tion and honor which may serve as an example to others 
who find the road rough and uninviting. 

Miss Cook, like her mother, is of a lovable disposition, 
always kind and true. 

The city of her nativity is Bowling Green, Ky., and, 
like many other cities of the South, was not especially 
inspiring to the colored youth, for whom there was no 
nourishment upon which to subsist. There was every- 
thing to discourage and humiliate a child of such ten- 
der feelings who had already used every advantage the 
town gave for improvement. Being ambitious, she 
entered many contests and in every case came out victor. 
In the winter of 1881 she was made assistant teacher in 
the school presided over by Rev. C. C. Stumm, then 
pastor of State Street Baptist Church. Though the pay 
was meao:re she worked as dilio^entlv as if oettino- a 
larger salary. She often had occasion to shed tears 
because of the hard work and the unexpected demands 
made upon her already very small income, and upon one 
occasion she said, "The sun will yet shine in at my 
door." How, she knew not, for her parents were una- 
ble to send her off to school, but she felt that the way 
would be opened. At last the dawning of better advan- 
tages appeared. Rev. Allen Allensworth, seeing in her 
the elements of true womanhood, used his influence in 
getting for her a scholarship in the State University, 
Louisville, Ky., of which Rev. William J. Simmons, 
D. D. , was president. October 15, 1881, a letter from Dr. 



12i> WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Siuiinoiis readied her stating that the American Baptist 
Woman's Home Mission Society of Boston wonld defray 
her expenses if she would matriculate within three 
weeks and give pledge to remain until she had completed 
the course. She hastened from the school-room to 
inform her mother of the good news, and immediately 
wrote complying with the conditions, and was registered 
in that school November 28, 1881. May 13, 1883, ^^^ 
graduated from the normal department as valedictorian. 
As the president presented to her the Albert Mack gold 
medal he testified that she had so conducted herself 
during the entire course that there had not been occasion 
to discipline her in a single instance or even impart to 
her a word of warning. In writing of the graduates of 
the school he made the following statement concerning 
her: 

As a student, she was prompt to obey and always ready to recite. 
She has a good intellect and well-developed moral faculties, and is very 
refined, sensitive, benevolent and S3aiipathetic in her nature, and well 
adapted to the work of a Christian missionary. 

She served the University during her scholastic years 
as student-teacher and was at different times dining-room 
matron and record-keeper of daily attendance. She was 
honored by the students with the presidency of both 
their societies, which position caused her to lose much 
of her timidity and developed her faculties for thinking 
and speaking. During the last year of her normal 
course she won the Dr. E. S. Porter gold medal in a 
contest in written spelling, and soon afterwards Miss 
Cook carried off the Dr. D. A. Gaddie silver medal 



WOMEN OF DISTINCrnON. ]2:'> 

for proficiency in oral spelling. The students were 
lavish in their commendations and congratulations. 
Shortly after this Mr. William H. Steward offered a sil- 
ver medal for proficiency in penmanship and Miss 
Cook was again victor. May 17, 1883, the trustees 
elected her permanent teacher and principal of the nor- 
mal department, in which she held the professorship of 
lyatin and mathematics. Her department was the largest 
of the University, but she performed her work with 
credit to herself and school. By an act of the board of 
trustees she was allowed to continue her studies in the 
classical department, from which she graduated, taking 
the degree of A. B., May, 1887. 

As a teacher she has proved a success, and seems to 
exert a magic power over her pupils; though always 
pleasant, yet at the same time commanding and ruling 
without trouble; she is yet a hard student, ever keeping 
abreast with the issues of the day. She is especially 
good in Ivatin, biography and mental and moral philoso- 
phy. She loves her race dearly and has been connected 
wnth nearly every prominent cause for its elevation. 
When the Baptist Women's Educational Convention of 
Kentucky was organized in 1883 she was found among 
them. In 1884 this body made her Second Vice-Presi- 
dent and also placed her on the Executive Board. The 
latter position she holds to-day. In 1885 she was made 
Assistant Secretary. In 1886 she was chosen Secretary of 
the Executive Board. In 1887 she was chosen Corre- 
sponding Secretary of that body (the Convention), which 
position she held till 1890. In 1891 she was again made 



124 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Assistant Secretary. She is universally esteemed by the 
women of the State and is ever ready to do their bid- 
dino-. Miss Cook has verv manv times addressed the 
Convention upon important subjects, and at the jubilee 
meeting, January i8, 1889, she gave the history of the 
Convention, at which time the American Baptist ^2\di\ 

The history of the Convention by Professor Mary V. Cook, their 
Corresponding Secretar}', was a concise and comprehensive paper. 
She left the well-beaten tracks of most of the lady vSpeakers and dealt 
entirely with facts, and wnthout sentiment traced the Convention from 
its incipiency until the present time. It was an interesting paper, 
brimful of information, and was well received. Miss Cook is never 
more in earnest than when saying a word for the women's work. 

She has often spoken and read papers before the pub- 
lic with much credit, viz.: At Mobile, Ala., she read a 
paper before the American National Baptist Convention, 
August 27, 1887, subject, "Woman's Work in the 
Denomination." The same year she appeared before 
the National Press Convention at IvOuisville, Ky., and 
read a paper, "Is Juvenile Literature Demanded on 
the Part of Colored Children?" September 25, 1888, 
at Nashville, in the great meeting of the American 
Baptist Home Mission Society, she read a paper on 
" Female Education." September, 1890, she was invited 
to prepare a paper on "Woman's Work for Woman," 
to be read before the Foreign Mission Convention, but 
sudden illness in her family called her home before the 
programme of this body was called. September, i§9i, 
before the National Convention at Dallas, Texas, she 
read a paper on "Women in Medicine." She has 
appeared before the State Teachers' Association three 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 12r> 

times, viz.: In 1887, at Danville, on "Woman a Potent 
Factor in Public Reform " ; 1890, Hopkinsville, "Pro- 
fessional Women and Their Achievements," and 1892, 
Henderson, "The Colored Women in the School-room." 

Miss Cook made \\^x debut in journalism in 1886. Her 
contribution, "Nothing but Leaves," \w \\\^ American 
Baptist^ was one of her best productions. Having been 
converted in 1876, she showed in this article a noble 
Christian heart and a soul deeply affected by Divine 
grace. In 1887 she was editor of a column of the 
South Carolina Tribune and also a column in the Ameri- 
can Baptist. She has recently written for the Georgia 
Sentinel. Her position as editor of the "Educational 
Department" of Our Women and Children gave her 
wide scope in editorial work, in which she took much 
pleasure. In the " Negro Baptist Pulpit," by Dr. B. M. 
Brawley, Miss Cook has an article on " Woman's Work," 
and is the only female writer in the book. Dr. J. M. 
Pendleton highly commended the article in his criticisms 
on the book and recommended it to the Northern Socie- 
ties in their missionary work. Miss Cook is a terse, vig- 
orous writer, who loves her race as she loves herself, as 
her articles will show. 

September 5, 1889, she visited the New England 
States by invitation of the Board of the American Bap- 
tist Woman's Home Mission vSociety, Boston, as a repre- 
sentative of the colored women South and the State 
University in which she was teacher. The president 
and trustees granted her a leave of absence, and they 
(the president and trustees), in connection with the fac- 



12() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

ulty, students, board of maiiag-ers of the Baptist 
Women's Educational Convention of Kentucky, the 
Union District Sunday-school Convention and the State 
Street Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Ky., of which 
she is a member, sent to the New England Societies tes- 
timonials bearing- upon her worth as a Christian and 
cultured woman. These appeared in the American 
Baptist^ Louisville, September 6, 1889. She was away 
four months and spoke in all the important cities and 
towns of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Con- 
necticut. She was everywhere well received and every 
comfort and pleasure they could give were hers. News- 
paper encomiums were profuse as to her ability. One 
clipping' we give from the Journal^ Augusta, Maine, 
September 24th: 

In accordance with a notice on Saturday a large audience on Sab- 
bath evening in the First Baptist lecture-room greeted Miss Mary V. 
Cook, Principal of the vState University, of Louisville, Ky. Possessing 
a clear, musical voice, and with modest, refined manners, the speaker 
was well calculated to hold the close attention of her listeners for the 
hour occupied by her address. She spoke of her gratitude in being per- 
mitted to visit Maine and to look into the faces of the many friends of 
her people. She spoke of the colored people generally and of their 
schools. She told how rapidly the race is increasing and said the only 
remedy for the fear that power in the hands of an ignorant people 
would prove disastrous to the country was a Christian edvication that 
would include the head, heart and hands. She pleaded for this and for 
an educated ministry, and for better homes that better citizens might 
be given to the country. She was glad to note the Christianity here 
that recognized its brother though he be clothed in black. She spoke 
of her agreeable surprise in finding, as she entered the previous meet- 
ing of Christian Endeavor, that a colored brother led that meeting, and 
the eagerness that was depicted on each face as he spoke to them. She 
prayed that God would speed the time when men all over this broad land 



WOMEN OV J)ISTIX(TI()X. 127 

should be known not b}' the color of their faces, but by their intellect 
and moral standing. After the meeting she received the warm grasp 
of many a hand, and as she goes forth again to her work she may be 
assured she leaves behind her an added circle of friends to remember 
her in prayer and kindly interest. 

For four years the children of that State had paid her 
salary as teacher in the State University; so she found as 
well as made many warm friends not only for herself and 
work, but for the race. A private letter to a friend in 
Maine, in which Miss Cook spoke x>f the oppression of 
her race, was published in the Home Mission Echo^ 
Augusta, Maine, August, 1892. When she returned to 
her work the teachers and students received her with an 
ovation which she nor they will ever forget. 

May, 1890, she was requested by the same women of 
Boston to come to the Baptist Anniversaries, which met 
in Chicago, and represent their w^ork. She did, much 
to their satisfaction. The best accommodations in that 
city were hers at their expense. 

In 1890 she resigned her position at the State Univer- 
sity, against the protest of the trustees, but she thought 
of taking a course in medicine after needed rest was 
taken. But, alas! that boon was not to be hers, for in 
September, while attending the National meeting in 
Louisville, she was stricken with the sad intelligence 
that her mother had been paralyzed. Being compelled 
to give up her plans for studying medicine, she accepted 
a position with Rev. Robert Mitchell as teacher of Latin 
and science in the Simmons Memorial College, Bowling 
Green, Ky. Her burdens seemed to increase, for shortly 
after the affliction befell her mother her father sickened 



128 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

and died, leaving to her the care of mother and grand- 
mother. Under all she keeps cheerful and faithfully 
discharges her dut3\ The Lord has blessed her in many 
ways. As general solicitor for Eckstein Norton Univer- 
sity, Cane Spring, Ky., she has been able to visit many 
Southern States and has learned a great deal about the 
race by observation and immediate contact. 

Miss Cook has been offered many positions as teacher 
within the last year, viz.: In Mississippi, New Iberia, 
La., Indian Territory, Florida, and four in her own State. 

iVpril 15, 1892, she, with three other ladies, was 
called to Frankfort, the State capital, to address the 
legislative conmiittee against the enactment of the 
Separate Coach Bill. That event will be a bright page 
in the history of the colored people of Kentucky. 

She has been asked to prepare a paper for the National 
Educational Convention, which meets at Savannah, Ga. , 
September, 1892. 

Miss Cook is an all-round scholarly woman. Her 
judgment may be depended upon. She is favorably 
known by almost all the leading men and women of the 
race in the country, and is more widely known, possibly, 
in the New England States than any other colored 
woman. She has done and is still doing much for her 
race, and it is hoped that what she has done is simply an 
introduction of what she is yet to do. She lives com- 
fortably in her own home. Let all who read be encour- 
aged to go forward, and success is theirs. 



WOMEN OF J)LSTJN(;TI0N. 129 



CHAPTER XXX. 

MISS LIIvUAN A. LEWIS. 

The well-known and highly respected "Bert Islew " 
of the Boston Advocate is a remarkable young woman, of 
whom the race may be exceedingly proud. Pleasing as 
a writer, stylish as a lady, able as a thinker, fascinating 
as a speaker and wise as an editor, apt as a scholar, true 
and reliable as a stenographer and rapid as a type- 
writer, Miss Eewis, though young, is, nevertheless, des- 
tined to become a potent factor in the advance lines of 
the march of the race towards that higher and more 
refined plane of civilization to which she is striving, as 
a leader to carry her followers. 

She has filled many important positions as an aspiring 
young woman; in all her efforts to labor for the race 
she has been admirably successful. Her temperance 
lectures have been received with satisfaction, and so has 
her "Gossip," and her newspaper articles have all been 
read with much interest by the reading public. 

Some of her writings are the following: "Man's. 
Weal and W^oman's Woe," "Dead Heads and Live 
Beats," "The Mantle of the Church Covereth a Multi- 
tude of Humbugs," "Idalene Van Therse. " She has 
contributed to a large number of Afro- American jour- 
nals. It is said that the Advocate was on the way to a 
collapse until the energy of this young woman was 
placed at the helm. Now the paper is again alive. So 
we may say she is the resurrection of the Advocate as 

well as a part of its life. 
9 



130 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Miss Lewis is a veiT pleasant lady in disposition and 
in appearance, and is destined to become a power, invin- 
cible and active^ in the affairs that make for the greatest 
good of the race. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

LADIES OF THE FISK JUBILEE SINGERS. 

As this volnme is exclnsively devoted to the Distin- 
guished Women of the race it is hardly necessary, in the 
beginning of this chapter, to offer any apology for onr 
exclusion of the male members of the Fisk Jubilee 
Singers. Therefore, let it be understood that we have 
no intention whatever to detract in anv wav a sinfjle 
one of the many honors due these gentlemen for the 
valuable and indispensable part which they played in the 
accomplishment of that great work. As we must neces- 
sarily be brief, suffice it to say, "Honor to whom honor 
is due." 

The following are the names of the ladies who are 
said to have been members of that /anions clnb of sin- 
gers: Misses Ella Shepherd, Maggie Porter, Jennie 
Jackson, Georgia Gordon, Maggie Carnes, Julia Jackson, 
Eliza Walker, Minnie Tate, Josephine Moore, Mabel 
Lewis, A. W. Robinson, Pattie J. Malone. 

We quote the following from the valuable little book, 
"The Story of the Jubilee Singers," by Mr. J. B. T. 
Marsh : 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. VM 

At different times twenty-four persons in all have belonged to the 
company. Twenty of these have been slaves and three of the other 
four were of slave parentage. 

Whether the company was equally composed of twelve 
males and twelve females does not appear from the above 
quotation. 

Mr. J. B. T. Marsh also makes the following state- 
ment with reference to their first three years' work, which 
furnishes another link to the chain of evidence that 
an hinnble beginning is by no means an assurance of fail- 
ure in large and difficult undertakings of the Afro- 
American: 

They were at times without money to buy needed clothing; yet iu 
less than three years they returned, bringing" back with them nearly 
one hundred thousand dollars. They had been turned aw^ay from 
hotels and driven out of railway waiting-rooms, because of their color; 
but they had been received with honor by the President of the United 
States ; they had sung their slave songs before the Queen of Great 
Britain, and they had gathered as invited guests about the breakfast 
table of her Prime Minister. Their success was as remarkable as their 
mission was unique. 

It is but just to state here that the ostricism which 
they received at "hotels" and "railway waiting-rooms'* 
all, possibly, took place in our liberty-loving America, 
as w^e have never known of the denial of rights to colored 
ladies of x\merica when traveling in foreign counties. 

A letter just received from Rev. E. M. Cravath, D. D., 
President of Fisk University, contains the following, in 
answer to questions by the author: 

The University raised through the Jubilee Singers iu the seven years' 
work one hundred and fifty thousand dollars net in mone}^ and secured 
books, paintings and apparatus to the value of seven or eight thousand 



l:V2 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

dollars more. The Jubilee Singers sang in England, Scotland, Ireland, 
Holland, Switzerland and German3^ Mr. Lowden, who was a member 
of the company while under charge of the University, took a company, 
on his own responsibility, to Australia, India, Japan and around the 
world. 

Some idea of what these young women zvillingly and 
bravely encountered, that their less favored brothers and 
sisters might in after years enjoy the advantages of an 
education, may be gathered from the following words of 
Mr. Marsh: 

At Zanesville, also, their concert did not meet expenses; but a friend 
paid their hotel bill, which amounted to twenty-seven dollars. What 
figure it would have reached had not the six girls been put into a 
single room over a shed, where the bed-clothing was so offensive that 
they were constrained to roll the most of it in a bundle and lay it on 
the porch while they slept wrapped in their water-proofs, is not 
known. 

The gross receipts of the last seven days of their tour 
through Connecticut amounted to more than $3,900. 

The total receipts of one month's work in England 
amounted to nearly $20,000. These two items alone 
are arguments, strong and forcible, in favor of what 
great things the race may accomplish by concert of 
effort. ^ 

On their return from New York to Nashville, having 
secured a first-class passage, they were ejected from the 
waiting-room for ladies in lyouisville by some local 
prejudice which it seems the superintendent of the rail- 
road could not overcome. Thereupon he placed at their 
disposal and for their own special comfort an extra coach. 
This he has willingly done every time since when they 
have traveled that road. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 1'53 

However many and severe the difficulties they had to 
meet, one thing is certain — that the results of their work 
have been far more elevating and inspiring; far more 
beneficial to themselves as matters of actual experience 
and travel; far more beneficial .to their race as adjuncts 
to their education and helpers in the destruction of preju- 
dice, than the indignities heaped upon them and the 
thrusts made at them can ever tear down or destroy. 
While we have spoken mostly of their financial success, 
we have been none the less mindful of their rounded 
and fully well-developed success in every direction. Had 
we the available space many newspaper clippings would 
here appear which would do great honor to any com- 
pany. 

It will also be seen that we have said nothing of the per- 
sonal history of these twelve young women, simply for 
want of space. The Supplement to the Jubilee Singers 
contains much valuable information as to their success 
under the new (colored) manager (F. J. lyOwdin, its 
author, also), who deserves unmicasured credit for his bold 
and arduous undertaking, which was most wonderfully 
successful. Now, when it is remembered that the songs 
they sang originated, not in some musical conservatory 
of the North, or of the West, but are the promptings 
of religious zeal in the untrained minds of the slave in 
the cotton fields, or in midnight secret prayer-meeting 
on the sugar farms of the South; or they were the pro- 
ductions of untrained minds of the ex-slave in the heat 
of camp-meetings or in their lonely and loathsome huts in 
the '^ Sunny South." And then when it is remembered 



V^4 WOMEX UF DISTINCTIUX. 

that the'v- who san^^ them were uot o:raduates of our best 
musical conservatories, but were the luimble ex-siaves and 
the children of former slaves, whose gifts were the real 
and mysterious endowments of the all-wise and ever 
good God, then the glory of their accomplishments 
heightens and expands as it could not otherwise do. 

In speaking of them, after they had spent some time 
in Germany, the Berliner Musik-Zeiliuig^ a very critical 
jouriiaL in passing its final sentence upon them, said: 

Not only have we had a rare musical treat, but our musical ideas 
have also received enlargement, and we feel that something may be 
learned of these negro singers, if only we will consent to break through 

the fetters of custom aud long use. 

Ivong after this great building, ''Jubilee Hall," which 
is dedicated to their memor\-, shall have crumbled to 
dust and shall no longer mark the spot upon which it 
now rests; long after its present occupants and the Jubi- 
lee Singers, who gave it birth, along with this humble 
author, shall all have returned to their mother, dust, and 
be no more among the living creatures of earth, still the 
deeds of this most wonderful company of self-sacrificing 
singers and ex-slaves will ever live as imperishable monu- 
ments to their memory. And then may they, with all 
the just made perfect, sing jubilee songs, even more 
gloriously triumphant than the songs of earth. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. I'io 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

HISTORY OF FISK UNIVERSITY FOR 
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. 

Fisk University, the fame of which is world-wide, 
owes its origin and foundation to the generous and Chris- 
tian efforts of the American Missionary Association 
under whose fostering care it still^^mains. 

At the close of the war this noble Association felt itself 
especially called and providentially prepared to diffuse 
knowledge among the lately emancipated negroes of the 
South who had already showed such a surprising thirst 
for it. For this purpose various small schools were 
established in different sections of the South. In Sep- 
tember, 1865, the Association commissioned Rev. E. P. 
Smith as District Secretary at Cincinnati, and Rev. E. M. 
Cravath as Field Agent, with instructions to undertake 
the opening of Christian schools for the freedmen of 
Kentucky, Tennessee and portions of Georgia and Ala- 
bama. The two men reached Nashville October 3d and 
found General Clinton B. Fisk in command of Tennes- 
see and Kentucky, as Commissioner of the Freedmen's 
Bureau, with Professor John Ogden on his staff as Super- 
intendent of Education. 

Messrs. Smith and Cravath decided that Nashville was 
the natural and strategic center for the extensive educa- 
tional movement which they had been sent to inaugu- 
rate in Tennessee and adjoining States. In searching 
for the location their attention was called to the United 



13G AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

States Hospital, west of the Chattanooga depot, which 
w^as about to be sold as no longer needed for the use of 
the army. x\fter due consultation the ground on which 
the building stood was purchased for $16,000. General 
Fisk secured the transfer of the hospital buildings from 
the Department of War to the Freedmen's Bureau and 
placed them at the disposal of the societies for school 
purposes. 

January 6, 1866, the Fisk School was opened wnth 
appropriate public exercises and was placed under the 
joint charge of Professor John Ogden, of the Western 
Freedmen's Aid Commission, and Rev. E. M. Cravath, 
of the American Missionary Association. 

Three years later the former society transferred its 
interest to the American Missionary Association. The 
school was named in honor of General Clinton B. Fisk, 
who had both personally and officially aided in every 
practicable way in its establishment. 

As there were then no public schools in Nashville for 
colored children the number in attendance upon Fisk 
University the first year was over twelve hundred. Fisk 
University was incorporated under the laws of Tennes- 
see, August 22, 1867, with a board of nine trustees, and 
opened for advanced pupils, the city of Nashville having 
started school for colored children. 

The first normal class of twelve was organized in 
November of the same year. Early in the year 1868 
$7,000 was received from the government, and repairs 
were made in the buildings so as to accomuiodate board- 
ing students. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. \:M 

In 1869 ^^^ government buildings, then in use for the 
school, having been transferred to the Association, per- 
manent foundations were placed under them. A dormi- 
tory building was also erected and a Gothic chapel. In 
1870, Professor Ogden, who was especially interested in 
normal work, resigned, and Professor Spence took charge 
as principal, with the idea of developing college prepara- 
tory and college work. The new idea made better 
accommodations imperative, as the old government build- 
ings were fast going to decay. 

A resolute band of singers, afterwards known through- 
out the civilized world as the "Jubilee Singers," under 
the guidance of Professor George L. White, started out 
October 6, 1871, on their marvelous career, with little 
money and no experience. Space does not permit me 
to relate the struo:o-les of this little band. But after 
many months of hardships the clouds began to lighten, 
and as a result of their labors, after seven years' singing 
in the United States, Great Britain, Holland, Switzer- 
land and Germany, they realized a net income to the 
University of $150,000, besides many valuable gifts of 
apparatus, paintings, etc. With this money Jubilee Hall 
was built. January i, 1876, the University was trans- 
ferred to this building, which is situated on the former 
site of Fort Gilliam, one of the most commanding and 
beautiful locations about Nashville. 

Soon after the erection of this hall Rev. E. M. Cra- 
vath, who was elected as president of the school in 1875, 
came personally to manage the work. His labors, sec- 
onded by those of the college faculty, five in number, 



l:^S AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

resulted in the rapid development of the higher educa- 
tional courses. In 1875 the first college class was gradu- 
ated, and also the first normal class, and regularly from 
that time students have graduated from the college and 
normal departments. 

Livingstone Missionary Hall is the other large build- 
ing connected with Fisk University. The plan for the 
erection of this hall took shape in 1876 with the Jubilee 
Singers, who were then in England, and the first con- 
tribution to the fund, outside of the Jubilee Company, 
was given by Mrs. Agnes Livingstone Bruce, of Edin- 
burgh, daughter of the great African explorer. 

The honor of completing the work and securing the 
erection of the building is due to Mrs. Stone, of Maiden, 
Massachusetts, who gave $60,000 through her agent, 
Rev. W. H. Wilcox, D. D. This beautiful building 
was dedicated October 30, 1882. 

The building for the gymnasium and mechanical 
department had its origin in a gift of $4,000 by Colonel 
Howard, for years a distinguished citizen of Nashville. 

I am pleased to note that the Theological Seminary, 
so long talked of, hoped for and prayed for, has at last 
been erected, at a cost of $25,000. This building con- 
tains three large lecture-rooms, a library and reading- 
room, and thirty-seven dormitory rooms. Two profess- 
ors, newly elected, are at present conducting the work. 
Others will be added as the growth of the Seminary 
demands. 

The legacy of $28,000 left by General Fisk is to be 
used in erecting a memorial chapel during the present 
year. 



WOMEN OF DJkSTINCTKJN. VV.) 

Thus from the old o-overnnient buildino^s has arisen 
Fisk University, one of the leading universities in the 
country for educating the colored youth of America. 
Fisk sustains to the colored youth of this country the 
same relation as the leading white colleges to the white 
youth of this country. Even in the Dark Continent some 
of her number are sowing the seeds of truth and Chris- 
tianity, which shall spring up after many days. 

Fisk University seeks to instill within her pupils a 
desire for higher education, thereby enabling them to 
cope with the scholars and the thinkers of the age. In 
this she has not been disappointed, for over one hundred 
and ninety-one graduates are making honorable records 
and winning great favors as educators, ministers, physi- 
cians, lawyers and business men. 

The estimated value of the property of Fisk Univer- 
sity is $300,000, with an additional amount of $21,000 
endowment. 

Probably more than 7,000 young people have regis- 
tered, from time to time, as students. 

Lena T. Jackson, A. M. 



f' 



140 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 
MRS. JULIA RINGWOOD COSTON. 

"Let us ever glory in something, and strive to retain our admira- 
tion for all that would ennoble, and our interest in all that would 
enrich and beautify our life." 

It will be a source of much g-ratification and genuine 
pleasure to the many readers and admirers of RingiJDOod^ s 
Journal to be formally introduced to the editress of this 
excellent mao^azine. 




MRS. JULIA RING WOOD COSTOX. 



Beautifully situated in the town of Warrenton, Va., 
is the "Ring-wood Farm," so called because of its 
resemblance to an ancient homestead of the same name in 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 141 

Colchester, England, in fulfillment of a promise made to 
his young wife by its owner that their home should be 
called "Ringwood" if the first-born were a girl. 

Upon this farm and after it Mrs. Coston was named. 
She was brought to Washington, D. C. , when an infant, 
and having been reared at the nation's capital, it is 
naturally reg-arded as her home. Her education was 
commenced in the public schools, which she attended 
until reaching the highest grade, when her mother's 
health failed and she was compelled to leave school. 
Accepting the position as governess in the family of a 
general of the United States army, she found time and 
received both assistance and encouragement in the prose- 
cution of her studies. In the spring of 1886 she became 
the wife of Rev. W. H. Coston, B. D., then a student 
at Yale University, the Right Rev. J. M. Brown offici- 
ating. Two little ones have been born to them, the 
oldest a lovely little girl of five years, the youngest a 
boy of three years, named, respectively, Julia R. and 
W. H. Coston. So far along the journey of life this 
esteemed couple have proved that marriage is not a 
failure. They are mutually and justly proud of each 
other. Mr. Coston has found in his wife a helpmeet 
"in whom his heart doth safely trust"; that pearl of 
pearls, a good woman, ' ' whose price is far above rubies ' ' ; 
a faithful, aft'ectionate, earnest, Christian wife, who fills 
her position in his household and congregation w^ith the 
dignity and grace which appertain thereto. From the 
fact that Mr. Coston is the author of "A Freeman and 
Yet a Slave" it will be seen that ambition has led him 



142 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

to venture forth upon the treacherous sea of literature; 
happily, however, without making shipwreck. By 
reason of the consonance of their literary tastes Mrs. 
Coston has received much sympathy, encouragement and 
help from her husband, whose practical experience has 
enabled him to suggest plans and methods for the reali- 
zation of that cherished desire of her heart which will 
forever distinguish her among Afro- American women. 
As a girl, Mrs. Coston felt deeply the ostracism of all 
the Anglo-Saxon journals of our common country as 
displayed toward anything of interest or credit concern- 
ing the colored people; she longed to see a colored face 
upon the pages of a magazine, and to enjoy the privi- 
lege of reading about its owner. This intense desire 
culminated in the conception and ultimate execution of 
Ringwood^ s JoiirnaL the success and growing popu- 
larity of which amply prove her wisdom in launching 
bravely out upon an untried sea. That the readers of 
Ringivood .\\\^y duly appreciate and understand Mrs. 
Coston 's purpose and motives the following quotation 
from the initial editorial of \\\^ Journal {<$> subjoined: 

Ringwood's Jouvjial of Fashion, pul^lished by Mrs. J. R. Coston, 
makes its advent to satisfy the coninion desire among us for an illus- 
trated journal of our own ladies. The injury of the absence of the 
cultivating influence which attaches to a purely published, illustrated 
journal devoted to the loving interests of our homes, and to the weal 
of our daughters, was felt by me when a girl, and is recognized by me 
now when a woman. Knowing that this injury of absence could only 
be overcome b\' \.h.e. presence of such a journal, without measuring the 
intellectual ability required, we have published Ring wood' s Journal. 

The quality of her fidelity to her age and her earnest 
ambition in behalf of her race are still further portrayed 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 14:3 

in the kind and connnendatory words of one of her dearest 
friends: 

There is nothing masculine or egotistic in the character of Mrs. 
Coston. She is a lovable woman, whose actuating desire is to serve 
the highest interests of the women of to-day, that their lives may be 
made more helpful b}' giving them modest publicity, and thus present 
them as worthy models for the emulation of our growing woman- 
hood. 

Woman, "last at the cross and first at the sepulchre," 
is always to be found in the van of progress. The noble 
enterprise to which Mrs. Coston is devoting hand, brain 
and heart deserves to be the pride and joy of all her 
sister women. Her success will depend mainly upon 
their sympathetic co-operation. Let them then rally 
loyally to her support. The Afro- American race must 
learn to respect and esteem the efforts of its own repre- 
sentatives if it would compel the regard of others. 

But whether Mrs. Coston succeeds or fails, the very 
endeavor to elevate the race by creating and maintain- 
ing a refined ladies' journal will be an enduring stone 
in the "Temple of Human Culture." She may not 
have a monument of bronze or marble erected to 
perpetuate a grateful memory, but she will live, not 
only in the hearts of her two precious little ones, who 
will rise up to call their devoted mother blessed, but 
likewise in the pure and exalted lives of the grand 
women of the dawning future. "Pilot Buoy." 



144 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

MRS. JOSEPHINE ST. PIERCE RUFFIN 

Was born in Boston at a time when her fair- haired 
English mother and swarthy Negro-Indian father conld 
not walk together nnmolested even in the streets of the 
liberal (?) minded old Bay State. Her primary educa- 
tion was begun in the common schools, but after that 
she ran against a snag in the shape of a State law which 
prohibited the commingling of white and colored chWdrQu 
in the higher schools. Josephine, unconscious of any 
law or reason to prevent this, had boldly and proudly 
entered the Franklin Grammar School, but at the end 
of six happy, triumphant months was brought face to 
face with that hydra-headed evil, race prejudice, the 
monster which has bruised the heart and broken the 
ambition of so many aspiring colored youth. Then 
began a contest; the law and the school committee on 
one side, and the then widowed mother and eight-year- 
old child on the other; it is needless to say which side 
won in this unequal fight (albeit the sympathy and 
moral support of the full corps of teachers of the school 
and that of the chairman of the school board was given 
to the legally weak side), for did not the law stand on 
the statute book and had not a saintly, philanthropic, but 
short-sighted soul, by the name of Smith, given a building 
to be forever set apart for the benefit of colored children 
solely? 




MRS. JOSEPHINE ST. PIERCE RUFFIN. 



WOMEN (5F DISTINCTION. 145 

Strange to say, at this time none of tlie cities and 
towns adjacent to Boston made any discrimination on 
account of color in the schools; so the next four years 
of the girPs life were spent in the schools of Charlestown 
and Salem, Mass. ; then after two more years under pri- 
vate teachers in New York, she returned to her home 
just in time to celebrate the triumphant termination of 
the untiring efforts of the loyal men and women of 
Boston (white and colored) to blot out from the book the 
obnoxious law of a State whose founders were supposed 
to be nothing if not just. And so it came about that 
the child who had helped to bury the old law was on 
hand at the birth of the new order, and led the delega- 
tion of waiting^ o^irls who entered ''old Bowdoin on the 
hill," when her doors swung open to all and the glorious 
reign of the now truly free common schools of Massa- 
chusetts began. Before she was sixteen Josephine 
St. Pierce was married to George L. Ruffin, who, at the 
time, was a recent graduate of the Chapman Hall School. 
The high-spirited young couple, with a keen apprecia- 
tion of the pains and penalties of being "colored" in 
slavery-cursed America, decided that they would not begin 
their married life in the miscalled "land of the free," 
so they went straight from the altar to New York, and 
from thence sailed away to England. After five months 
of foreign travel and observation Mr. and Mrs. Ruffin 
returned to America, satisfied that, with all her advan- 
tages, America was the one place for young people v/ith 
more ambition than money ; then, too, at that day every 
person was needed to take his place and go down into 

10 



14() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

^'the valley of the shadow of death" that through a 
blood}' war the nation might rise to freedom, and these 
voung people determined to dedicate themselves to the 
service of their people and the strict performance of 
every duty, the young wife and mother even giving her 
consent to the urgent request of the husband to let him go 
to the front with the afterwards famous Fifty-fifth 
Massachusetts Regiment, but when he presented himself 
as a volunteer he was rejected because of chronic near- 
sightedness. They afterwards became active members 
of that home guard who, through the medium of the 
Sanitary Commission, worked incessantly at home and 
at church, making, mending and praying for the soldiers 
at the front. 

With the return of peace and prosperity came the 
opportunity to devote themselves to the making of their 
own and their children's lives an example and a stimu- 
lus to others ; it was then (at the close of the Civil 
War) that Mr. Ruffin entered the Howard Law School, 
and at the same time such education of their children 
was begun as would enable them (the children) to com- 
pete for and hold an honorable place in the moral, intel- 
lectual and industrial life of their native city. The 
father lived just long enough to see his children all 
started on their different careers, and died one year after 
he had been made Judge of the Charlestown Court. 
Five years after the death of the husband and father 
the eldest born followed. 

During the life of her husband Mrs. Rufifin's inter- 
ests were so identified with his that the historv of one is 



WOMEN OF DLSTlNCTlOiX. 147 

the history of the other. In the useful and progressive 
career of Judge Ruffin the counsel and support of his 
wife were great factors, and through him the two were 
in turn councilman, legislator, lawyer and judge. Since 
the death of her husband Mrs. Ruffin has been more 
than ever active in the charities and philanthropies 
which fill so large a place in the life of the true Boston 
woman. For fifteen years she has been one of the 
Board of Directors of the Moral Education Association 
of Massachusetts, and at one time its treasurer. She is 
also a member of the Board of the Massachusetts School 
Suffrage Association, one of the earliest and first of the 
members of the Associated Charities of Boston, and was 
recently made a member of the N. B. Women's Press 
Association. For one year Mrs. Ruffin was editor-in- 
chief of the Boston Coiirant^ but lately felt compelled 
to resign the active management of this paper, the 
following being among the newspaper notices of her 
retirement. The Woman^ s Journal ^?Cs'S oi her: 

Mrs. Josephine St. P. Ruffin, who for some time was editor-in-chief 
of the Boston Courant, is taking a long vacation, rendered necessary 
by prostration from overwork. Mrs. Ruffin has unusual editorial 
ability and she made the Courant a leader among Afro-American 
papers and a credit to weekly journalism. It is announced that "it 
is not expected that Mrs. Ruffin will again resume the active manage- 
ment of the Courant, although it is her intention to be a contributor 
to its columns; the starting of a new and very comprehensive charitable 
work, together with her growing business of the care of the estates of 
widows and maiden ladies, promising to consume all her time this com- 
ing season." 

The Boston Conrant^ September 3, 1892, also speaks 
as follows: 



us WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

RETIRES FROM ACTIVE SERVICE. - 

It is due the many inquirers as to whether Mrs. Ruffin is the editor 
of the Courant to state that early in June, owing to prostration from 
overwork in man^^ directions, Mrs. Josephine St. P. Ruffin was com- 
pelled to take a long vacation from all work. Since that time the 
paper has been in the very efficient hands of Mr. Robert T. Teamoh, 
of the Boston Globe. 

It is not expected that Mrs. Ruffin will again resume the active 
management of the Courant, although it is her intention to be a con- 
tributor to its columns; the starting of a new and very comprehensive 
charitable work, together with her growing business of the care of the 
estates of widows and maiden ladies, promising to consume all her time 
this coming season. 

In personal appearance Mrs. Ruffin bears the reputa- 
tion of being one of the handsomest women of Boston, 
her regular, commanding features, abundant black hair 
(now plentifully sprinkled with gray) and olive com- 
plexion making a noticeable and pleasing appearance. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

THE GREAT PART TAKEN BY THE WOMEN 
OF THE WEST IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF 
THE A. M. E. CHURCH. 

In reviewing the annals of our past history we can 
discover no agency that has contributed more to the 
moral and religious development of the colored women 
of the United States than that of African Methodism. 
To her it was an open door by which to enter the arena 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 149 

of public action. Long had she waited for moral and 
intellectual recognition from the world. Too long had 
the vail of obscurity, like the gall of death, shut out the 
knowledge of her existence from the sisterhood of earth. 
Her patience and sacrifice in trials and her fortitude and 
heroism in adversity had never been recorded by the pen 
of a writer that others might read and admire her virtue, 
her patriotism and her piety. Her soul had never been 
stimulated by the genial influences of fraternity and hope 
of honor to grasp after higher attainments and that 
moral elevation which enables her to look above the 
common things of life to a nobler and more exalted 
existence. Though her capabilities for intellectual 
expansion and mental development were as ample as 
were those of the more favored daughters of earth, yet 
was every bud of hope which expanded in ' her soul 
blighted by the withering blast of scorn, and when fancy 
spread its wings for an exalted flight the chilling winds 
of adversity brought her to the earth, where it drooped 
in sadness and pined in solitude. But she was not alto- 
gether discouraged with outward circumstances with 
which she was surrounded. She prayed, and trusted 
and waited until the "day spring from on high visited 
her" and through the rifted cloud she could discover a 
brighter era. In religion she had always found a solace 
for a wounded heart and the ordinances of the Church 
had been precious to her soul; but even in these sacred 
rights she had been made unwelcome, and though will- 
ing and ready to perform the most arduous duties, with 
contempt she was pushed to the background. But w^hen 



150 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

African Methodism appeared, bringing an array of obli- 
oations and dnties in which she could bear an active and 
untrammeled part, she hailed it with that joy and readi- 
ness wliich only the spirit of God can impart. Many 
intellioent Methodist women seemed to take it as a God- 
sent blessing. They flocked to its standard and enlisted 
heartily into the work. In the early days of the Church 
when its ministers were illiterate and humble, and her 
struggles with poverty and proscription were long and 
severe, and it required perseverance, and patience, and 
fortitude, and foresight, and labor, the women were ready, 
with their time, their talent, their influence and their 
money, to dedicate all to the upbuilding of the Church. 
No class of persons did more to solicit and bring in the 
people than they. They raised money to build churches 
and to support the ministers. They assisted in the 
prayer-meetings and class-meetings and Sabbath-schools, 
and taught there to love the ordinances of the Church and 
to respect the ministry. Where there were no churches 
built they opened their doors for public worship and 
gladly received the care-worn and weary traveling preach- 
ers into their families and provided bountifully for their 
necessities. Thev were not onlv zealous in labors, but 
were talented in speech. Some were gifted in prayer; 
so much so that persons were often convicted by hearing 
them pray, and were led to God and soundly converted 
and became useful members of the Church. Others car- 
ried great power with their religious experience when 
related in class-meetings or love-feasts. Many who had 
been hardened sinners dated their conviction and con- 



WOMEN OF DLSIM NOTION. 151 

version from the time of hearing the Methodist women 
talk in their closed-door meetings. There were notable 
preachers among their number also. In drawing off the 
Church from the white and establishing the A. M. E. 
Church in the West there was no one who took a more 
conspicuous part than Mrs. Jerrinna Lee; she was a 
preacher of great power and demonstration. The word 
of God from her mouth was like a sharp sword which 
pierced the sinner to the heart and like a healing balm to 
the heart of the believer; she \vas attractive in manners 
and pleasing in person and won the esteem of all who saw 
her. In the years of 1828, 1829 ^"^ 1830 she traveled 
and preached through the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio 
and Indiana. Great numbers of both white and colored 
people flocked to hear her. She sang well and prayed 
ferventh', and wdien after her sermon had closed and the 
doors of the church were open to receive members 
numbers would come forward and iovfullv cast their lot 
with the despised Methodist. The holding of camp- 
meetinos was one m-eat method of makino- African 
Methodism known to the world. In these the women 
bore the heaviest burden, they w^ould make great provis- 
ion to feed the multitudes that would gather there and 
hundreds would enjoy the hospitality of those good and 
pious w^omen, while their souls were being fed with the 
bread of eternal life from the sacred altar. They 
thought no sacrifice too great or labor too hard if it only 
tended to build up and expand the Church they so mucli 
loved. The freedom which they enjoyed in their wor- 
ship and the satisfaction arising from equal rights in 



!:):> WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

church privileges made the work more precious and 
secured to them greater hopes for future success. In 
raising funds with which to build churches no difficulties 
deterred them from their efforts and no dangers affrighted 
them from their purpose. Through heat and cold and 
storms and fatigue and hardships they gathered a little 
here and there, while the}' made what they could with 
their own hands, which many times was only the widow's 
mite; but when these small sums were put together they 
w^ere sufficient to raise a monument in the name of God 
to dedicate to His w^orship. Like Lydia of old they had 
long prayed for the time to come when they would be 
thought worthy to take an active part in the Master's 
cause; this was God's opportunity and well did they 
serve it. It is a significant fact that whenever there is 
especial work to do in any good cause God raises up and 
endows persons with peculiar abilities adapted especially 
for each department. Thus it was with Methodism; her 
notable women were not only filled with the Holy Ghost, 
but were possessed with the energy and zeal of the Apos- 
tolic ages, and their love for God and His cause made 
them as strong as giants. There were honorable women, 
not a fezv^ who deserve to be remembered by the 
Church; they are dead, but their works yet speak. 
There were Mrs. Barret, of Columbus, Ohio; Mrs. 
Reyno; Mrs. Woodson, of Chillicothe; Mrs. Leach, of 
Jackson, and Mrs. Broady, of Cincinnati; also Mrs. Bal- 
timore, of Missouri; Mrs. Elsworth, of Illinois, and 
many others who helped to build up the strongholds of 
African Methodism, whose names are recorded on high, 




■^^'.Jwt 



MRS. ZELIA E.. BALL PAGE. 



WOMEN OK DISTINOTION. iry.l 

and when the books are opened and their deeds of love 
for the Master made known, they will hear the welcome 
sentence, "Come ye blessed of my Father, enter into 
the joys of my Lord," and they, amid the swelling song 
of the redeemed and harps of angels, will enter in to 
come out no more. Mrs. Sarah J. W. Early. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

MRS. ZELIA R. BALL PAGE. 

It was in the old aristocratic city of Alexandria, Va. , 
that Zelia R. Page, ?zee Ball, first saw the light of day. 
She was not a slave. She was reared by her mother, a 
woman of remarkable ingenuity and foresight, who, 
during the dark days of slavery, helped many a poor 
bond-man on his way to Canada. At one time, while 
living with a wealthy Southern family in Washington 
City, she kept concealed for one week in the attic six 
slaves, waiting for the pass-word to march. This 
mother, seeino- and knowino- the deo-radation and miserv 
of slavery, was determined that her daughter should know 
as little of it as possible. She, having faith in the girPs 
future, was deeply interested in her education. Having 
many friends in New England, and knowing of the 
educational facilities that colored youth had in that 
section of the country, she made up her mind to take 
this child to New England, but the question was how to 



i:)4 AVOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. 

pass through Baltimore and Havre de Grace alone with 
her child. Being intimately acquainted with the family 
of the celebrated Dr. Peter Parker, who had recently 
returned to Washington City from China, and knowing 
that they intended to visit the East, she consulted them 
about the matter. Dr. Parker told her the only way 
she could travel with his family was to go as far as New 
York as their slaves, she and her child. She readily 
consented; and thus one Saturday morning in the month 
of June the mother with her child arrived in Providence, 
R. I. She found after reaching Providence that the 
educational facilities were not as good for the colored 
youth as those in Boston, so she sent Zelia to Boston to 
school. 

This girl possessed great dramatic and artistic powers. 
During her stay in the New England school she would 
always be called upon to declaim in the presence of 
visitors. She declaimed before the great educators, Bige- 
low and Green. They said to her, ''Go on; you have 
talent; improve it." But, alas! like many others, she 
had no one to depend upon but a poor mother for her 
support. Her mother sent her to Wilberforce in 1870. 
She was graduated in 1875. She returned to Provi- 
dence. In 1878, June 27th, she married Inman E. 
Page, the first colored graduate of Brown University, 
and now President of Lincoln Institute at Jefferson City, 
Mo. Her life has not been one of continual sunshine, 
and yet it has not been at all times the opposite. Hav- 
ing a strict moral principle, she could never wink at 
anything that was wrong or seemingly wrong. Perhaps 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCrnON. 155 

if she had been so constituted as to be able to close her 
eyes to what she supposed to be wrong-doing she might 
have prevented a good many hard statements that have 
been made about her. She is a diligent sttident, con- 
stantly seeking to add to her store of knowledge some 
new truths from the different departments of learning. 
She has written several excellent papers that have been 
read before the public and published by request. Before 
she was twelve years old she had read the works of 
Scott, Milton, Dante and other noted authors. She has 
been to Lincoln Institute fourteen years and during the 
greater part of that time she has served either, as matron 
or as teacher of natural science. 

She has been the means of doing much good in Jeffer- 
son City. She organized a Union Training School for 
the poor children, September 25, 1891, which meets 
every Saturday afternoon. The value of the instruction 
which she orives to these children will be seen in future 
years. She has often said, "Oh! if I were only 
rich. I do not want money for myself, but I would like 
to be rich in order to do some 2:ood in this world. I 
w^ould build an institution of learning simply for the 
poor colored young men and women of my race and have 
them to learn everything that would enable them to vie 
with the Anglo-Saxon race.'' 

She is a devoted Christian, and alw^ays seeking to do 
what good she can and to help others. Mrs. Page will 
long be remembered by the students of Lincoln Institute, 
and especially the poor students, for her deeds of kind- 
ness to them. 



irx) 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

JOAN IMOGEN HOWARD, A. M. 

This very excellent lady, of whom the race is proud, 
Joan Imogen Howard, was born in the city of Boston, 
Mass. Her father, Edwin F". Howard, is an old and 
well-known citizen of that city, and her mother, Joan L. 




JOAN IMOGEN HOWARD, A. M, 



Howard, now deceased, was a native of New York. 
She has one sister. Miss Adeline T. Howard, the princi- 
pal of the Wormley School, Washington, D. C. , and one 
brother, E. C. Howard, M. D., a prominent physician 
in the city of Philadelphia. Having a mother cultured, 



WOMEN OF DISTJN(;TI0N. IT)? 

refined and intellectual, her earliest training was received 
from one well qualified to guide and direct an unfolding 
mind. At the age of fourteen, having completed the 
course prescribed in the Wells Grammar School, Blossom 
Street, Boston, she graduated with her class and was one 
of the ten honor pupils who received silver medals. 
Naturally this souvenir of her girlhood is greatly prized. 
Her parents encouraged her desire to pursue a higher 
course of instruction, and consequently, after a successful 
entrance examination, she became a student of the Girls' 
High and Normal School, as it was then called. She 
was the first colored young lady to enter and after a 
three years' course to graduate from this, which was at 
that time the highest institution of learning in her native 
city. 

A situation as an assistant teacher in Colored Gram- 
mar School No. 4, now Grammar School No. 8i, was 
immediately offered. Here she has labored ever since, 
endeavoring to harmoniously develop the pupils of both 
sexes who have been committed to her care, so that their 
physical, intellectual and moral powers might be so 
trained as to produce human beings of a high order. 
Many of her pupils have become men and women of 
worth and hold positions of honor and trust. 

For several years an evening school, which was largely 
attended and of which she was principal, was carried on 
in the same building. 

As time advances more is required of all individuals 
in every branch of labor. Teaching is no exception, 
and in recognition of this she took a course in ''Methods 



i:)S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

of Instruction" at the Saturday sessions of the Normal 
College of New York City. She holds a diploma from 
this institution (1877), and thus has the privilege of 
signing "Master of Arts" to her name. This year 
(1892) still another step has been taken, for after a three 
years' course at the University of the Cit\' of New York 
she has completed the junior course in the Department 
of Pedagogy and received the degree of "Master ol 
Pedagogy." 

The position on the Board of Women Managers of 
the State of New York for the Columbian Exposition 
was entirely unsought by her. Her experience has been 
a very pleasant one thus far, as she has received the 
most courteous treatment from the other ladies with 
whom she is associated in this vast undertaking. Her 
special position on the Board is as one of five of the 
Committee on Education. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

MRS. HARRIETTE ESTELLE HARRIS 
PRESLEY. 

In calling His servants into the various fields of Chris- 
tian work God has not been partial in the distribution of 
the honors and sacrifices belonging thereto; nor has He 
had respect to person. 




MRS. HARRIETTE ESTELLE HARRIS PRESLEY. 



WOMEN OF I)LSTIx\(TI()N. 1.^) 

Althoiigh there have been some of His followers, in 
all ages of the world's history, who have laid their lives 
upon His altar as hearty sacrifices to the great cause of 
the propagation of His gospel, there have been man}- 
wdio coveted the '^^ honors^' but faltered ^^ViA^x the ^^sacri- 
fices. ' ' 

But He has not been unmindful of the good deeds of 
His faithful servants, and has so ordained that their mem- 
ory shall be perpetuated as living examples of faithful- 
ness for the benefit of posterity. 

So we well remember the deeds and are impressed with 
the character of this devoted young woman, Hattie E. 
Presley, who was born in Buckingham county, Va. , in 
1862, of humble parents. 

When quite young she was taken by an aunt to Rich- 
mond, Va. , and adopted. She was well cared for and 
reared with most beautiful manners and a lovable dispo- 
sition — not only "pretty" in person, but in manners. 

She was a pupil in the public schools of Richmond for 
many years, standing well in classes and in the favor of 
teachers and school-mates. When quite young she became 
a Christian and united by baptism with the First Baptist 
Church, of which Rev. J. H. Holmes, the model Chris- 
tian, was pastor. Some time after becoming a Chris- 
tian she entered the Richmond Institute (now Richmond 
Theological Seminary), and was for awhile in the classes 
taught by the writer, who was then a "student-teacher." 
She was a consistent Christian, and w^as always engaged 
in some good work, either among the poor and wretched, 
or in the Sabbath-school or in the church. She seemed 



!(>() WOMi:X OF DISTINCTION. 

to have an ever sympathetic heart, ready to bestow a 
blessing wherever it was possible for her to do so. In 
her classes she was always obedient, meek, kind and 
gentle. While thus a student in the Richmond Insti- 
tute she and Rev. J. H. Presley, who was also a student, 
became fond friends, and this friendship grew into bloom- 
ing love for each other. Rev. Presley was preparing to 
go to Africa as a missionary. Hattie began also to pre- 
pare to go with him, they having so agreed. In June, 
1883, they were united in the bonds of matrimony, and 
sailed for x\frica on December ist of same year, accom- 
panied by Rev. W. W. Colley and wife, Revs. McKin- 
ney and J. J. Cole. The gathering at the First Baptist 
Church on a Sunday evening in November, 1883, was a 
memorable occasion, for it was here that hundreds, if 
not thousands, of Christian people met to bid ''farewell " 
to the missionaries ; and, in the case of this dear woman, 
it was a "farewell " until these Christians shall meet her 
in heaven. When they had been in Africa only a short 
while Rev. Presley, her husband, was taken quite ill, 
and remained so for some considerable time. 

She was ever faithful to him in this great trial, and 
even when all was as dark as night, when all hopes for 
his recovery were fast fleeing, she still was true, and when 
high temperature and the infected poison of fever deprived 
him of consciousness, and hopes yet fleeing, she was also 
true to him, and, like a clock, she was ever on the watch 
for a chance, an opportunity, to supply some necessity. 
During this severe trial of her faith and strength the 
little infant that had been born to them was laid in the 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. HJl 

cold grave, and yet she stood by an afflicted companion 
far in a heathen land. Finally, while he is still sick, 
her nerves take on a reaction from the great strain to 
which they had been subjected, and now her own strength 
fails, and she, in the midst of a terrible crisis, dies like a 
hero in the heat of battle. 

Thus one of the fondest of our missionaries died at 
her post, giving up her life that she might be of service 
in leading some poor heathen to forsake his idol and 
turn unto the Lord and live. The writer delights to 
think of her as he knew her, a pure and faithful Chris- 
tian woman. We cannot lay hands upon any credita- 
ble statements as to her real work as a missionary apart 
from that already referred to, but knowing her as we did, 
we are confident that it was all well done, kindly and 
freely done, with willing hands and heart. 

In her death the mission has lost a vigorous and ener- 
getic worker. How her place will be filled we know 
not, nor by whom, but some good seeds have been sown 
that may yet make our hearts glad with the sight 
of a fruitful harvest. "My word shall not return unto 
me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please" 
(Isa. lv:ii), are very consoling words in this case as 
we think of our mission and its loss, but we may be sure 
that she is 

" Gone to the rest of the ever blessed, 

To the New Jerusalem; 
Where the children of light do walk in white, 

And the Saviour leadeth them." 



11 



1()2 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 



MRS. SUSIE ISABELLA LANKFORD SHORTER. 



This very modest lady is the daughter and oldest child 
of Clarissa and Whitten S. Lankford, and was born at 
Terra Haute, Indiana, on the 4th day of January, 1859. 

When she was fourteen years old, attending Wilber- 
force University, her mother died, leaving the care of 




MRS. SUSIE ISABELLA LANKFORD SHORTER. 

a father and five children to Susie, as housekeeper. 
However, her father soon married, and she went as teacher 
to Rockville, Ind., where she labored with encouraging 
success for two years, and thence to Richmond, Ind., 
where she taught another year with satisfaction, as is evi- 
denced by the fact that at this place she was married. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. KKi 

Ringzvood^ s Afro- American Journal of Fashion gives 
the following very amusing account of Mrs. Shorter 
in March number, 1892: 

Soon after the death of her mother the family moved to Baltimore, 
Md., where her father was pastor of Bethel A. M. E. Church. A little 
iucident occurred which no doubt helped shape her future course. 
One evening near sunset a minister called to see her father; he had 
every look of a traveler — dusty, weary, hungry, almost forlorn. How- 
ever, he was soon made presentable, and in the meantime Susie had 
spread a refreshing meal. He enjoyed it very much, he said when he 
had finished, and pronounced the biscuit excellent (he had managed to 
consume eleven, though they were not very large). Tlie young house- 
keeper was delighted that her father's guest, a stranger to her, had 
been made so welcome. 

The minister was a Professor of Theology, and resided with his 
family near Xenia, O. Chief among his friends there was a bachelor 
professor, to whom, as soon as they had welcomed each other, he 
related the little incident in Bethel Parsonage, and recommended at 
once the little girl who could inake such good biscuit as a suitable 
companion for a wife. Soon after this the second marriage of her 
father took place, and what with a new wife and fashionable hired 
girl it was plainly seen that Susie was not needed; so she was allowed 
to return to Wilberforce, where, in spite of herself, she must come in 
contact daily with this bachelor professor, and he taught her all about 
the verb "love" and "to be" loved. The}^ were married in 1S78 by 
this same professor and minister who had enjoyed her hospitality so 
long ago. Dr. T. H. Jackson, assisted by Dr. B. F. Lee. It was many 
years afterward e'er Susie knew anything of this revelation, when the 
Doctor mentioned it in her presence, in general conversation with Pro- 
fessor Priolean and wife, at their residence. Early in life she was 
inclined to write. She wrote a poem on the death of her mother, at 
the age of fourteen years, which was highly complimented. For many 
years she wrote occasional papers for the Christia?i Recorder, and is 
at present the contributor to the "News Column " of the same. She is 
possessed of a missionary spirit, and aids willingly any enterprise that 
has for its object the bettering of humanity. 



164 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

For many years Mrs. Shorter was President of the 
Ladies' College Aid Society of Wilberforce University, 
and did mnch, in a quiet, unostentatious way, to help 
worthy students through school. She is the author of a 
work entitled "Heroines of African Methodism." 

She is a real "doer," and not merely a hearer and 
talker. She is a very modest creature, and therefore 
mnch of the writing that has dropped from her pen has 
never reached public print. 

She now edits a corner in RingwoocT s Afro- American 
JoiLrnal of Fashion for the especial benefit of our girls. 



WOMEN OF J)ISTIN(;TJ0N. 



165 



CHAPTER XL. 



MISS IvUCY WILMOT SMITH. 

One reads with a glow of enthusiasm the life and 
career of such women as Miss Smith. Great was her 
work for the race, and her noblest efforts were put forth 
in raising the standard of womanhood. She was the 
daughter of Margaret Smith and was born in lycx- 
ington, Ky. 




MISS LUCY WILMOT SMITH. 



Like the difficulties that come to many colored girls, 
she found it no easy task to satisfy her soul with the 
culture for which it lono-ed. Her unusual brig^htness 
attracted much attention. Friends of the family took 
an interest in her and directed her reading by placing in 



1G() AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

her hands books which should prove the most beneficiah 
The result was at maturity she was considered among 
the best informed of the race. Seeing how hard her 
mother had to labor for the support of her children, 
Miss Smith felt that she must lend a helping hand. 
Though young she took a position under the Ivcxington 
School Board, where she labored faithfully and satisfac- 
torily. In 1881 she was elected teacher in State Uni- 
versity, taking charge of the model school as principal. 
She was a model teacher as well as an exemplary Chris 
tian woman, and left a lasting impression upon those 
under her care. She lifted the men up to the apprehen- 
sion that a noble character and a cultivated intellect are 
more enduring graces than mere beauty of form — that 
to be manly was their first duty. She taught the young 
women to despise mediocrity, to trust their own brain 
and to aspire towards all that is noble and grand. Her 
indomitable will, perseverance and originality gave her 
success in all her undertakings. For some time she 
served as private secretary to Dr. William J. Simmons, 
by whom she was led into prominence. She was pains- 
taking and accurate and sacrificed much of her pleasure 
and time that his work might not lag. All that she did 
was with that cheerfulness of spirit that not only sweet- 
ened her own life, but made life easier for others. 

Dr. Simmons often spoke of her worth and helpful- 
ness. Though burdened as teacher and private secre- 
tary, she took up the studies of the normal department 
and graduated in 1887. Out of her means she supported 
a sister in the University; after this sister's graduation 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 107 

she assumed the education, in the same school, of a sis- 
ter's daughter and tliat of one of her own brothers at the 
same time. She never forgot her mother's comforts and 
provided for them. One loves to think of her as he 
knew her, and to know her was but to admire her. 

In 1884, Miss .Smith left the State University to try 
the West. She there filled a position in Wyandotte, 
Kansas. Here her efficiencv was recoo:nized and hon- 
ored, for she became President of the Sewing Circle of 
the Wyandotte Baptist Church, also of a society con- 
nected with the Methodist Church, and Secretary of the 
Women's Christian Temperance Union. Upon the 
urgent request of president and trustees she returned to 
her old position at State University, September, 1885, 
where she served as financial clerk and city missionary 
for the Young Men and Women's Christian Association; 
she also served this body as president. She became a 
Christian, December, 1872, under the influence of Rev. 
James Monroe, and lived a consistent member of the 
Baptist Church. It was a point of her life to give one- 
tenth of her means to the Lord, and her large-heartedness 
never allowed her to turn her back on any worthy cause. 

When the call was made in 1883, by Dr. Simmons, for 
the Baptist women of the State to come together and or- 
ganize for the benefit of the educational work. Miss Smith 
was among its foremost workers and was secretary of the 
organization. Her interest in that w^ork never weakened 
from the first, and she was willing to serve wherever 
placed. She was a member of the Board of Managers 
for years and was Secretary of Children's Bands, an 



1()S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

auxiliary of that body. She wrote a pamphlet of thir- 
teen pages, setting forth the work, constitution, order of 
business and work children could do to earn their own 
money, which proved beneficial and was quite instruct- 
ive to the little ones. She was of a national disposition, 
and every such meeting she could reach was greeted by 
her smiles. The first National Baptist Convention, which 
met in St. Louis in 1886, listened to a paper from her 
on "The Future Colored Girl," which is published in 
the "Journal" of that meeting. She was also elected 
at that time as Historian of that body, and served it sev- 
eral years as one of the Executive Committee. In 1888 
she again appeared before this body with a paper which 
showed carefulness of thought and looical arrano-ement. 
Her newspaper work began in 1884, when she con- 
trolled the "Children's Column" in The American 
Baptist^ of Louisville, Ky. In 1887 she accepted a posi- 
tion on the staff of The Baptist Journal of which Rev. 
R. H. Coles, of St. Louis, was editor. She furnished 
sketches of newspaper writers, among the women of the 
race, for the New York Journalist^ in the interest of 
artists, authors and publishers. Her work was very 
much praised and also reproduced in the Boston Advo- 
cate^ the Indianapolis Freeman and other papers. She 
was a forcible writer, using good English, and always 
produced something readable. She edited the depart- 
ment of "Woman and Woman's Work" in Our Women 
and Children^ a magazine of Louisville, Ky. In this 
work she took much pride. She was greatly interested 
in the elevation of woman and was always outspoken on 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. IGl^ 

woman suffrage, as a clipping from one of her articles 
will show: 

It is said by many that women do not want the ballot. We are not 
sure that the 15,000,000 women of voting age would say this, and if 
they did, majorities do not always establish the right of a thing. Our 
position is that women should have the ballot, not as a matter of expe- 
diency, but as a matter of pure justice. 

It was her intention, had life been spared her, to 
establish a female seminary that a more thorouo:h edu- 
cation might be given the girls of head, heart and 
hands. She had also begun a book on "Women and 
Their Achievements," which her friend, Miss M. V. 
Cook, would gladly finish and publish if the manuscript 
could be gotten. Miss Smith was a warm enthusiast on 
temperance, and was always ready to talk or write on 
that subject. 

She felt that the mortality of women is due to their 
timidity in expressing themselves freely to male physi- 
cians, and with this fact in mind, she determined to alle- 
viate their suffering by making herself proficient in medi- 
cine, especially to that part which pertained to female ills 
and their remedies. Like all else she did she threw her 
whole soul into it, having a private teacher from among 
the best and most skilled physicians of lyouisville. 
What woman, who reads this sketch, will take up the 
work she so nobly began and make the most of it for the 
good of the race and humanity at large? 

As a writer the following is said of her: 



'& 



She frequently writes for the press, and wields a trenchant pen; is 
ambitious to excel, and will yet make her mark. — T/ie American 
Baptist. 



170 WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 

Mrs. N. F. Mossell says: 

Miss Smith writes compactly, is acute, clean and crisp in her 
acquirements, and has good descriptive powers. Of strong convic- 
tions, she is not slow in proving their soundness by a logical course of 
reasoning. Her style is transparent, lucid, and in many respects few 
of her race can surpass her. 

But, alas! "Death loves a shining mark — a signal 
blow." 

In the fall of 1888 overwork began to tell on her 
features, then a dreaded cough set in. Her friends 
became alarmed from the first and begged her to give up 
work and take rest. She only smiled at such requests 
and said, "It will be all right." Bverything was done 
for her, yet deeper and deeper fastened the disease upon 
her. Physicians were consulted and assured anxious 
friends that all would be useless unless she gave up work. 
Yet she worked right along without a complaint, with- 
out a frown, without a murmur, but with a smile she 
would greet all. Summer came, she went off for vaca- 
tion, but too late then to do much good. September, 
1889, when school opened, she was found at her post of 
duty, feeble and emaciated, but with the same iron will 
and bright mind. She knew what the result would be 
and requested Dr. Simmons to preach her funeral; 
selected hymns and passages of scripture for the occa- 
sion, though to others she never hinted death, but talked 
of her future work for her sex, etc. Her mother came 
to be with her and if possible have her go home, Lex- 
ington, Ky., but she stoutly refused. October 15, 1889, 
she consented to go home, and was accompanied by the 




MTSS ADA C. HAND. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 171 

matron, Mrs. Jane McKamey, and Rev. C. H. Parrisb. 
Before leaving she said to the matron, "I waited to see 
Miss Cook," who was then in the New England States, 
"but I must go now." She arose every morning, 
dressed and received her friends till the morning of her 
death, December i, 1888, at 5 A. M. , when she rested 
from her labors. 



CHAPTER XLL 

MISS ADA C. HAND. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Westmoreland 
county, Va., December 25, 1862. When she was but little 
more than a month old her parents braved the perils of 
that unsettled period, and moved to Washington, D. C. , 
so that for all practical purposes she is a child of our 
capital city. Her mother Vv^as free, but her father was a 
slave. This latter fact, however, had little effect upon 
the child's career, for both were practically free when 
she was born, and during all her life with them she 
was able to enjoy the full benefit of what time and abil- 
ity they were capable of bestowing upon her. Her 
father was said to have been a man of uncommon natural 
ability, but of course had been denied all advantages 
which schooling would have afforded. Her mother was 
one of those amiable characters which seem filled wuth 
love for all, and bred to innate nobleness and purity of 
life. She had learned to read and write a little, and 



172 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

what she knew was carefully imparted to Ada. She 
not only confined her teaching to what could be gained 
from books, but the fundamental principles of house- 
wifery were carefully taught, and although to the negro 
the term and use of the kinderoarten were absolutely 
unknown, this mother intuitively grasped the idea in 
teaching Ada to plan, sew, cut and fit for a large doll of 
her own and to make all of the stitches common to ordi- 
nary needle-work, thus indelibly impressing upon the 
child's mind the practical bearing and relation which 
these things would have upon the necessities of real 
life. 

When Ada was nine years old her mother died, leav- 
ing three children, an older sister and a younger brother. 
The sister soon married. Many persons were anxious 
to adopt Ada, because of her known usefulness and 
capability in household lines. The father, however, kept 
her and her brother together, Ada being housekeeper 
and "maid of all work." This condition of affairs 
obtained but for three brief years, when the father was, 
in the wisdom of God, called to his final rest. 

Ada and her brother then went to live with their sis- 
ter, whose husband was particularly cruel and overbear- 
ing. Not desiring either of the children to secure the 
advantages of an education, he ordered that Ada should 
be put to service as a nurse. Her independent spirit 
revolted at the indignity, and justly so, as she supported 
entirely her brother and herself and only needed his 
roof as a protection. Her present knowledge of books 
enabled her to secure several adult pupils at night, who 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 17:^ 

paid her fifty cents per month each, thus giving her 
the scanty means of securing for herself and brother the 
degree of comfort which they enjoyed. 

The failure to crush Ada's spirit was spent upon the 
brother, who was taken out of school and subjected to a 
street education, which Ada's good sense deemed hurtful. 
Finding herself unable to thwart the strong will of this 
brother-in-law, who seemed unrelenting in his course 
towards her brother, she planned to steal him away and 
place him in the charge of an aunt who resided at least 
sixty miles off in the country. Accordingly she started 
with him, took the steamer down the Potomac River, 
traveling all night, and reached the place to which she 
was destined about three o'clock in the morning. 

No inkling had been given to the aunt of the coming 
of the children, nor had Ada any idea of the time the 
boat would land her at the Dlace she desired to reach; 
but the watchful care of that Father who never sleeps 
was around and about these precious treasures, and they 
were fortunate in finding their aunt's husband waiting 
at the landing to meet friends whom he expected by 
the boat. He conducted them safely to his home, where 
they remained for two months, Ada studying from the 
books which had composed a necessary part of her trav- 
eling outfit. 

Having reached the high school course of our city 
schools, there were of course no schools sufficiently 
advanced to which she could go in the country. Her 
determination to have an education induced her to return 
to Washington, leaving her brother to the care of her 
aunt. 



174 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

She enjoyed the hospitality of a friend for one night 
after her arrival and was the next day invited to live 
with a cousin. This she did, but the struggle to get an 
education was not here appreciated, and Ada still had 
to strive against the burdens heaped upon her, which, 
at times, seemed greater than she could bear. Having 
arrived just in time for the examination in the high 
school, she was admitted, and, notwithstanding the loss 
of two months of actual training, led her class. This 
being her first year in the high school, and with such a 
record, nothing could now daunt her. Many a day she 
sat and drank in the instruction imparted without hav- 
ing had a mouthful of food, as the little money she was 
able to earn was not sufficient to provide shoes, clothing, 
lig^ht and fuel. These were necessities which her fins^ers 
and brain had to earn after her household tasks were 
completed, for the latter were required as a bonus for a 
shelter. 

Five years of care and deprivation had now passed, 
and with the class of 1879, ^^ ^^^^ high school for 
colored children of the District of Columbia, Ada was 
graduated and subsequently passed very creditably the 
examination for admission to the Miner Normal School, 
of which Miss M. B. Briggs was principal. 

With the close of the school year 1 879-' 80 Miss Ada 
C. Hand was graduated with honors from the normal 
school, having passed successfully the entire curriculum 
of the public school course of the District of Columbia, 
and stood among the first for admission to the grammar, 
high and normal school. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 17rj 

At the opening of the school year i88o-'8i she was 
placed in charge of a first grade (primary) school, where 
she distinguished herself through the native ability and 
aptitude shown for her chosen profession. So marked 
was her strength in the school-room in every point of 
her work that she was made training teacher in the 
normal school the second year she taught, which posi- 
tion she has held consecutively for ten years, shooting 
clear above all others in methods and plans of work. 

She has attained considerable prestige as an artist, 
particularly at portraits; paints, draws and sketches any 
object she desires for use in connection with the object 
or language lessons in her school-room. In 1878 she 
received a medal for the best original design. She has 
made a complete set of charts to facilitate the work of 
teachers in presenting in the most attractive and pleas- 
ing way the text-books required by the first year 
course of our school. 

Miss Hand has for ten years taught one hundred pupils 
a day — a school of fifty (first grade) from 9 to 12 a. m. , 
and another of fifty pupils (second grade) from i to 4 
p. M. — besides keeping accurately the complicated 
record book required for each school. She is held 
responsible for the methods given pupil-teachers of the 
normal school in four subjects during the year. 

Her manners in the school-room are decidedly pleas- 
ing and attractive, and her school is a model of excellence 
in every particular at all times. There is a great demand 
for admission to her school, and many parents gladly 
take their children from remote sections of our city to 
have them enjoy the benefits of Miss Hand's experience. 



176 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

She spares neither time nor money in making her 
school first-class in every particular. This year she has 
purchased, at her own expense, a symphonion which 
will play an unlimited number of pieces, for the purpose 
of meeting the want she felt of a piano to conduct her 
classes in writing and calisthenics. 

She is very unassuming and her unpretentious man- 
ners have endeared her to many hearts in our city. 
She has a few friends whom she has tried and to these 
she is true, but she has no fondness for society or noto- 
riety. 

Having been properly directed in her earlier years as 
to the value of work, the child of ten years was a fair 
index of the woman of to-day, for the tidy, lady-like 
appearance which she always made when her own hands 
washed and ironed the spotless garments she wore as a 
child still follows her, and it can now be said to her 
credit that, although she has not earned less than $80 
per month for the past six years, she still makes every 
article of clothing she wears, such as dresses, cloaks, 
underclothing, etc., which most young women regard 
as such an irksome task. 

Miss Hand is a member of the Presbyterian Church 
and has had charge of the infant department for the 
past eight years. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 177 



CHAPTER XUL 

CAROLINE V. ANDERSON, A. M., M. D. 

Caroline V. Anderson, A. M., M. D., the daughter of 
Hon. William Still, of "underground raih'oad" fame, 
was born in 1849. Reared in the "Quaker City" at a 
time that "tried men's souls," she early gave evidence 
of an aspiring mind and intellectual powers not of the 
ordinary. As a graduate from Oberlin College in 1868, 
at the age of eighteen, she had, in a measure, realized 
the rich promise of her early girlhood. She entered 
actively thence into the work for which by nature and 
accomplishments she was especially fitted. The work of 
teaching engaged her attention for a few years. Her 
instructions in the class-room were always clear, com- 
prehensive, progressive, embellished by all the lights 
and graces which admirable common sense, observation 
and extensive reading could give. Her geniality was 
inspiring although it did not prevent her from being 
firm to her convictions, when convictions had to be 
maintained against assaults. In 1875 and '76 she held 
the position of teacher of music and instructor in draw- 
ing and elocution at Howard University, Washington, 
D. C. The movement in the direction of greater free- 
dom to women, opening up avenues before closed and 
widening those already opened, found an earnest advo- 
cate in Dr. Anderson. In 1876 she entered the Medical 
Department of Howard, completing her course at the 

Women's Medical College in Philadelphia. Independ- 
12 



178 AVOMEX OF DISTINCTION. 

ent as she was resolute, the young physician by her 
unaided efforts built up a practice which was of several 
fold importance to her, to her sex and to her race; 
important to her not only from its pecuniary stand- 
point, but also in her deservedly receiving the respect 
and high esteem of her brother and sister practitioners 
of both races; for her sex and race it is a vindication; 
In several of the hospitals of the city she has served as 
resident, visiting and consulting physician. As the wife 
of Rev. Matthew Anderson, pastor of the Berean Pres- 
byterian Church, she finds a special channel for various 
other energies in that work that is doing the most to 
humanize and elevate mankind. She is ardent in all 
Christian work, public-spirited and affectionate, and as a 
teacher, physician, mother and wife her life has been 
rich in incident, and with a modesty equal to her talents 
she invariably ascribes the attainment of her distinctions 
to persevering attention rather than to unusual mental 
capacity. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

ST. AUGUSTINE SCHGOU, RALEIGH, N. C. 

St. Augustine School, Raleigh, N. C, was founded in 
1867 by the Rev. J. Brinton Smith, D. D. , and has thus 
already completed its first quarter century. It is under 
the care of the Protestant Episcopal Church, which has 
always taken great interest in the support of higher 



X 



z 

X 



2; 




WOMEN OF J)LSTIN(TION. 17!) 

schools for the Christian training of young men and 
women. It embraces Preparatory, Normal, Collegiate 
and Theological departments. At the present time 
instruction is also given in carpentry, in tinsmithing, in 
shoemaking, in bricklaying for the young men, and in 
sewing, cooking and the care of the household for the 
girls. It is hoped that industrial instruction may be 
extended in other directions very soon. 

The girls and young men are together in the recita- 
tion-room, at their meals and in occasional social reun- 
ions, but otherwise the girls^ department is managed 
separately and in a different building. Each girl is 
provided with her own dressing-room, furnished with a 
bureau-closet, each provided with a separate lock and 
key. Trunks are all kept in a trunk-room. Beds stand 
in the dormitory just outside of each girl's dressing-room. 
The grounds of the school are situated on an eminence 
just outside the city of Raleigh and particularly well 
situated with regard to health and beauty. Especial 
care is taken of the health of the students. In order to 
discourage extravagant dressino- and cultivate taste for 
neat and tasteful dress the girls wear uniform dress of 
dark blue. 

While every effort is made by those in charge of the 
school to make the students happy and contented, there 
is yet, an earnest belief in such strictness of discipline, 
compliance with regular duty, vigorous work with mind 
and body as shall train the character and fit the students 
for the important work that is before them in actual life. 



180 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Several hundred students have already been trained as 
teachers and a number of young men have been prepared 
for the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 

The grounds of the school, embracing some forty-two 
acres, are devoted to a campus, surrounding the various 
school buildings, and to a garden in which supplies of 
fresh vegetables are raised for the school table. The 
whole property is situated on the outskirts of Raleigh, 
near enough for convenience and far enough out to be 
away from the distractions of city life. 

While every effort is made to inculcate a respect for 
manual labor, yet nothing is allowed to interfere with 
progress in the various studies of the school. The fac- 
ulty is an able one of ten teachers. Three of them are 
college graduates, four are graduates of the school, one 
of another normal school, and the author of this book is 
lecturer on physiology and the laws of health. 

The invested funds of the school at present amount 
to something over $30,000, the income of which, along 
with the aid received from the Church, is used in carry- 
ing on the school. Total value of funds and school 
grounds, with buildings, is $65,000. The school charges 
$7 a month for board and tuition. All of the stu- 
dents are able to reduce this to about $5 per month or 
somewhat more, in needy cases, by manual work on the 
school grounds. 

Progress is now a watchword of the school, but it is a 
progress that is conservative of the past as well as hope- 
ful of the future. No progress is of any avail which 
does not lay its foundations in the moulding of Christian 



WOMEN OF DISTIXO/riON 



]H] 



character, in teaching young- men and young women to 
help themselves rather than depend on others, to be 
gentle men and women in word and manner, to hate 
sham and respect truth. 

The present principal is the Rev. A. K. Hunter. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 



MISS EDNORAH NAHAR. 

The race has produced few young women possessing 
more push and real energy than the courageous little per- 




:n[iss edxokah nahak. 



sonage whose name marks the beginning of this chapter. 
Born in the city of Boston, Mass., she quite naturally 



1SL> WO^^IEN OF DISTIXCTIOX. 

attended the most excellent public schools of that great 
city, where she necessarily laid a broad foundation upon 
which she has built a more recent and most tasty struc- 
ture. She is of foreign and American parentage, and 
has always given evidence of that thrift which is now 
an important characteristic of her. 

After spending sufficient time in the public schools 
she entered Fort Edward Collegiate Institute, New York, 
where she was further prepared for lifers duties, into 
which she has so earnestly entered. She began public 
service on the i6th of November, 1886, by reading for 
a concert of \-oung talent. It is needless to say more of 
her first effort than that it was a success. Since that 
time up to September, 1892, she has given nearly eight 
hundred concerts in tliirty-one States of the Union and 
has also appeared with much acceptance in Halifax and 
St. John, New Brunswick. She has appeared before 
the public in Boston, Mass., more than sixty times with 
great satisfaction and credit; at the Boston Theatre twice^ 
before aboutyir'^ thousand persons. She has also appeared 
in Philadelphia, and was there greeted by an audience of 
over five thousand on the 17th of November, 1890, at 
the Academy of ]\Iusic. At Fanueil Hall she read for 
the Irish League after a speech made by Ben Butler. 
In the National Pageant, given by Cora Scott Pand, she 
took part in four speaking tableaux in the Boston Thea- 
tre, at Newport, R. I., and Union Square Theatre, N. Y. 
She spent one season at Bouccicault's Dramatic School in 
New York, and was pronounced by him a genius as an 
actress, as well as by ex-Secretary Noble, Hon. Fred. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 18;i 

Douglass and many other x\fro-American and Caucasian 
men who may be regarded as fittingly competent to 
judge. 

She always manifests an interest in the cause of 
humanity and has given many hours of her valuable 
time and much talent in this direction. 

The very high esteem in which she is held in her 
native city and the large crowds that have so repeatedly 
thronged to hear her at home, on more than sixty differ- 
ent occasions, in less than six years of her early public 
life, are strong and weighty evidence of her sterling worth 
and ability in her chosen profession. 

MISS NAHAR AS A MANAGER. 

With the exception of twenty-one concerts, managed 
by J. C. Price, for Livingston College, Miss Nahar has 
been her own manager, and has successfully managed a 
few church concerts in Boston, but lately has entered 
the manatjerial field as a full-fled o-ed manager. In 
Chicago, where she now resides, in January, 1893, ^^^^ 
signed a contract with J. B. Pond, the Black Patti's 
manager, for the Madam for four concerts, $600, two of 
which she gave to Bethel Church, Chicago, on February 
6th and 7th, and two in New York, March 7th and 8th, 
to Zion Church — a brave venture for a little woman and 
so young a manager. Both were grand successes; each 
church was packed both nights. Bethel Church receiv- 
ing as its one-half net profits more money than from 
any other concerts ever held in the church by auy man- 
ager. On February 27th and 28th, before leaving for 



1S4 WOxMEX OF DLSTINCTION. 

the New York concerts, just three weeks after the 
"Black Patti" concerts, Miss Nahar filled Bethel again 
almost to suffocation two nights with a children's can- 
tata and a pantomime. She has at present many engage- 
ments to manage both concerts and dramas during the 
Word's Fair. 

The height of her ambition is to build and put into 
active working order a home for friendless girls — not a 
refuge, but a home, with all that the word means — that 
hundreds who otherwise would be thrown out upon the 
world friendless and alone, and might drift into vice, 
may find a shelter where Christianity, self-respect and 
self-support will be taught. Chicago will probably be 
the place chosen to build. The present prospects are 
also in favor of her becoming an actress under one of 
the best managers in i\merica. 

It pleases those who have heard her to hear her again. 
Her appearance is most excellent; her manner of gesticu- 
lation is graceful; she has the ability to get out of her- 
self into her author's spirit, feelings and thoughts — a 
good imitator of the sublime. She is kind and inter- 
esting in the social circle and very much at home with 
those with whom she converses. We may predict for 
her a life of great usefulness. 

The following are some of the sayings of the press 
concerning her: 

Miss Ednorah Nahar is a reader of talent. Her gestures are easy, 
graceful and to the point, while her stage presence would do credit 
to man}' a professional actress. — Boston Daily Advertiser. 

Her general style is good, her manner pleasing ; added to this she is 
most fortunate in the possession of a voice which is a marvel of sweet- 
ness and purity of tone. — Boston Evening Traveler . 



WOMKX OF DISTIXC^MOX. 185 

Miss Nahar's rendition of the "Chariot Race," from "Hen Hur," 
was a revelation, and too much cannot be said in praise of it. With a 
clear, resonant voice, full of fire and dramatic action, she electrified 
her hearers and held them spell-bonnd to the end. vShe has a fine 
voice, and an earnest and expressive face. — The Boston Pilot. 

Miss Nahar in her description of the "Chariot Race," from "Ben 
Hur," showed a notable dramatic skill. — Boston Evening Transcript. 

Miss Nahar has won for herself the title of " Boston's favorite elocu- 
tionist." — Boston Advocate. 

Her art is no art, but nature itself. She is both elocutionist and 
2iC\.vQS,?,.—N'ezvpori (R. 1.) Daily News. 

Miss Ednorah Nahar, in her dramatic readings of the "Sioux 
Chief's Daughter, " made a strong hit, and her two encore pieces 
showed a versatility rareh' seen. — Halifax (N. B. ) Morning Herald. 

As a dramatic reader Miss Nahar has few equals. Of her readings 
we can say nothing but words of praise. — St. John (N. B.) Globe. 

Miss Nahar as an elocutionist is superb. Her voice is well modu- 
lated, her enunciation is verv clear and distinct, and she possesses 
perfect control over her vocal organs. Her recitation of the "Organ 
Builder" and the " Pilot's Story " were pathetic, while the curse scene 
of "Leah, the Forsaken," was a piece of stage work hard to be beaten. 
Miss Nahar's humorous pieces took the house by storm. "Aunt 
Jemima's Courtship" and "The Lords of Creation " were charming, 
while the rich Irish brogue she brought out in her rendition of "Low 
Back Car" was perfection itself. — Danville Daily Register (Deni.). 

Miss Nahar is an elocutionist of rare abilit}- and power. Her diction 
is clear and her gestures full of grace. Her selections are the best. 
It is not saying too much of her to sa}- she reminds one very much in 
her stage movements and eas}- manners of Modjeska. — Greensboro 
North State. 

IMiss Nahar's appearance here was a success in ever}' particular. She 
made herself a favorite in her first piece, "The Pilot's Stor}-," and the 
enthusiasm kept up during the entire readings. Her manner is 
decidedly easy and graceful on the stage. In the curse scene from 
"Leah" she not only sustained her reputation as a clear reader, but 
gave evidence of considerable histrionic power — Washington Corre- 
spondent of New York Age. 



186 WOMEN OF DISTIXCTIOX. 

]Miss Ednorah Xaliar received a great amount of applause, and lier 
rendition of the curse scene from "Leah, the Forsaken," was as fine 
a bit of acting as we have seen. — Charlotte Chronicle. 

Miss Xahar, of Boston, was particular!}- greeted to the. echo in her 
almost perfect rendition of dramatic selections. — Xorfolk Eve7iing 
Telegram. 

"Aux Italiens," by Miss Nahar, was interpreted with a newer and 
subtler meaning than ever before ; it was pathetic, tender, loving, fire- 
full, fervid and dramatic, each following in place with a sequence that 
only comes with genius. — The Philadelphia Weekly Sentijiel. 

Miss Nahar is prepossessing in appearance, graceful in movement 
and confident in bearing. She possesses decided dramatic powers, 
has a fine voice, strong, pure, flexible and quite voluminous — Cleve- 
land (O.) Gazette. 

In "Aux Italiens" Miss Xahar displayed original conception as 
well as extraordinary powers of execution ; she has command of her 
voice, and her renditions are more like interpretations than recita- 
tions. — St. Louis Advance. 

Miss Ednorah Xahar as an elocutionist is superb. — The Daily Record 
(Columbia, S. C). 

The honors of the evening were properly awarded Miss Nahar, who 
is a great favorite in St. John; her " Chariot Race," from "Ben Hur, " 
was a masterpiece of stirring power, while in " Cleopatra " in Egyptian 
costume she brought out fully the tremendous passion of that poem. — 
Daily Telegraph (St. John, X'. B.). -. 

In the "Chariot Race"' and "Cleopatra"' an elegant Egyptian 
costume afforded every opportunity for displaying to the best her 
wonderful abilities. — The Daily Sun (St. John. X'. B. i. 

Her voice one always remembers with pleasure. It is said the charm 
of Booth"s voice remains with one who has heard him ; this is not too 
much to say of Miss Xahar. — Cincinnati Enterprise. 

Miss X'ahar is a talented lady whose "Sioux Chief's Daughter," 
given in Indian costume, was finely rendered, while the "Chariot 
Race," from Wallace's "Ben Hur," was a revelation. — Xeiu York 
Mail a7id Express. 

Her gestures are easy and graceful and she possesses rare gifts and 
powers as an elocutionist. — Durham (X. C. ) Daily Sun. 




MRS. LUCY ANN HENRY COLE 



WOMEN OF DLSTJN(;nON. 1«7 

At the Hyperion Theatre about one thousand people attended the 
concert given by the Dixwell Avenue Church. Besides the Yale Banjo 
and Apollo Club, Miss Nahar, of Boston, a highly gifted elocutionist, 
was received with great applause. — The Palladium (New Haven, 
Conn.). 

Miss Nahar is a reader of wonderful talent, very graceful and 
expressive; her selections are particularly re^\\Q(\— Philadelphia 
Advance. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

MRS. LUCY ANN HENRY COLE. 

This devout young lady is the daughter of Mary 
Elizabeth and Philip Henry, who resided at Rose Hill, 
three miles north of Richmond, Va., where the sub- 
juct of these lines was born on the 31st day of March, 
1865. Her father was drowned when she was nine years 
old, leaving the entire responsibility of a large family 
upon her mother. Like most Afro-Americans, in those 
days, scarcity of means for support was an every-day 
reminder at this widow's house. However, there w^as 
o?ie bright character in that gloomy home — Lucy Ann 
was always cheerful and ever with a book in hand seek- 
ing to know the contents thereof. 

She exhibited such an aptness to learn and teach that 
she received the name of "teacher" among the children 
with whom she used to play. When she entered the 
Richmond public schools at ten years of age (the family 
having moved into the city) the little "teacher" had 
learned to read and write. The mother being com- 



18S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

pelled to work for "daily bread," and "Annie," being 
the next dependence for a nurse, could not enter school 
as early ps most children do, and now entering at ten 
years, she could not expect to remain very long. Sure 
enough, when she had been to school only six short 
years, mother's health failed and the faithful child bade 
her school adieu to become the only sick-nurse to an 
afflicted mother. 

However, by faithful study, she had finished the gram- 
mar grade. Although the mother's health was, after a 
long illness, partially restored, yet Lucy Ann could not 
return to school; being the oldest of several children, she 
was bound, by a sense of duty, to remain at home and 
lighten the burdens that fell heavily upon a disabled 
parent. She was never idle, though sometimes in poor 
health herself On becoming a Christian she united 
with the Hbenezer Baptist Church, of Richmond, and 
ever afterwards lived a devoted, faithful, Christian life. 

There is one memorable fact that we here note: From 
the very hour she was converted she declared that Africa 
was the field of labor to which her attention, in some 
mysterious way, had been turned. At various times she 
would ask her mother if she (mother) thought Africa 
would ever be reached by this anxious seeker for truth. 
Her mother, scarcely believing that she (daughter) ever 
could get to that far-away land, would carelessly reply, 
"The Lord, will open the way." However dark and 
discouraging the way then seemed to Lucy Ann, she 
still cherished a fond hope in her breast that the Lord 
would open the way. In all this she had not failed in 



WOMEN OF DJHTINCTION. ]>^U 

her devotion to her domestic duties, while, at the same 
time she taught a subscription school as a means of 
help in supporting herself. This school lasted two 
years, during which time she was also assistant mission- 
ary to Miss Helen K. Jackson. Possibly we are now 
reaching the point in this history when God, in ''His 
own way," is ready to satisfy the desires and answer the 
prayers of this saint-like child of His. A tea-table is 
spread at the house of one of her brethren in Christ; 
she is invited, as were several other respectable citizens, 
among whom was Rev. J. J. Cole, a missionary to that 
land — 

"Where Afric's suiiuy fountains 
Roll down their golden sand." 

That land so far away, where — 

"The heathen in his blindness 

Bows down to wood and stone." 

Here she met, for the first time, him whose wife she 
was evidently sure to become. This was not a fixed 
plan of any naan or woman. Certainly none of the 
parties on either side dreamed of any such results as did 
come. However, Miss Lucy Ann Henry and Rev. J. J. 
Cole met for the first time; they beheld each other; they 
liked each other, and finally they loved each other. 
Rev. Cole in a few days (or possibly the next day) found 
his way to the Henry residence, and again and again he 
made his way there. Her mother saw that God was 
about to "open the way." She became anxious about 
things, and one day when she thought that Rev. Cole 



190 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

was coining to get her consent to the marriage of Lucy 
Ann she left home, saying, "I will never consent." 

During this opposition of the mother this brave and 
Christian girl said to a friend, "I will not marry until 
1 get my mother's word, however anxious I am to go to 
that great land to labor." In the meantime God came 
to the mother and changed her about so that she freely 
consented, and all was well. 

Lucy Ann felt the need of some further training for 
the great work now before her, so she entered the Harts- 
horn Memorial College at Richmond, Va. , where she 
spent a short while and then turned her face towards 
the "Dark Land," and gave herself in marriage to Rev. 
J. J. Cole, on the 21st day of December, 1886, at the 
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Revs. Richard Wells and 
J. A. Taylor officiating. 

Who can solve this mystery? Who can fail to see the 
hand of God in this marriage of the happy couple that 
sailed on the 3d day of January, 1887, for Africa, where 
they have successfully labored for so many years? Truly 
the Lord is great. His word is everlasting. Surely — 

"God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform ; 
He plants His footsteps in the sea, 
And rides upon the storm. 

"Deep in unfathomable mines 

Of never-failing skill, 
■ He treasures up His l)right designs 

And works His sovereign will." 

In her first letter after reaching Africa Mrs. Cole 
says : 



WOMEN OF mSTINCTlOX. \U\ 

Dear Mother, Home and Friends :— I feel that I must j^rasp tlie 
first opportunity to write you concerning our voyage across the sea 
and our safe arrival in Africa. After thirty-five days at sea, of which 
I shall write later, we arrived at Grand Cape Mt., W. C. Africa, I-'eb- 
ruary 7, 1887. The bark "Cardena," in which we sailed, cast 
anchor February 7th, about three miles off land. We were then car- 
ried in a boat, which was rowed by four men, to Cape Mt. Landing. 
The boat came within forty or fifty feet of land. 

One by one we were carried ashore in the strong arms of the naked 
heathen. Rev. H. McKinney was first to greet us, after which the 
natives came one by one to bid us welcome. -' "'-' ■' After spending 
some time at the Episcopal mission, they left for their own special 
field some way off across the lake (Bendoo Mission). 

Looking downwards we could see the bottom of the lake all covered 
with rocks. Mr. and Mrs. Topp began to sing "Let us build on a 
rock," and as we were nearing our last landing we all bravely sang 
" Hold the fort, for I am coming." Nearer and nearer we came to the 
shore, the last verse rang out loud and strong: 

, " Fierce and long the battle rages, 

But our help is near; 
Onward comes our Great Commander, 
Cheer, my comrades, cheer." 

And as the chorus died away and was lost upon the breezes we stepped 
upon the field " whereunto we are called." 

As the day wore on evening came, and with it came family worship. 
In the little sitting-room we met in company with about fourteen 
natives, most of whom were naked; some had on their cloth. They 
sat on chairs, sofas, and the floor. As the organ poured forth the 
beautiful melody, "There is a fountain filled with blood," we sang it 
as w^e never sang before. '■- '''' ""' Some day you may see me when 
3'ou looketh not for me. "'-" * ^ Come over and help us dispel the 
darkness. Yours in Africa, LuCY A. CoEE. 

Rev. D. N. Vassar, D. D. , who has very recently 
returned from a visit to the Vey Mission as Commissioner 
of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention of the United 
States, published the following account of Mrs. Cole and 
her work: 



1112 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Mrs. Cole is a Christian lady of great integrity; she is indeed a help- 
mate to her husband. She is a hard worker, and is going from morn- 
ins until late at night. A look at the mission house would convince 
any one that a woman's gentle hand played a daily part in the arrange- 
ment of everything around. The floors are kept perfectly clean. The 
bedding is thoroughly aired ever}' da}-. 

Little tidies and what-nots are so skillfull}" arranged that one almost 
forgets that he is in a heathen land. Indeed, everything is inviting, 
and when her husband returns after a walk or boat-ride through the 
hot tropical sun from his labors among the heathen he finds his wife 
waiting and everything in readiness to make him happy and to give the 
rest so necessary in that climate. Often, too, she accompanies him 
and leads the singing before and after preaching. Mrs. Cole has her 
school of sixteen children to teach. They love her as if they were her 
own children. None of them want to leave her, and when the parents 
of the children come for them to take them home they cry and beg to 
stay with "daddy and mamee," as they call Rev. Cole and Mrs. Cole. 
When these children are brought to the mission they come without 
any clothes. Not even a rag or string around the waist. Of course it 
would be out of the question for them to be naked. What is to be 
done ? There is no appropriation for this school, and the little money- 
sent by the few friends cannot go far. The question is answered in the 
reality of the case, that these children are all neatly dressed and well 
fed. How is it done ? The parents of the children do not give a sin- 
gle penny's worth to dress them, nor as much as a grain of rice to feed 
them. Indeed, it is a general thing that these children must be ran- 
somed from slavery or a price paid to the parents to get them in school. 

How is it done? It is done by self-denial and industry by Rev. and 
Mrs. Cole. All the clothing is made by Mrs. Cole with the needle and 
thread. She has no sewing machine. 

It is wonderful how fast she can make the needle fly, even when her 
mind is not on her sewing. Would you look on the picture? Look! 
far over the lake you see yonder cloud as black as midnight; it is the 
sign of a hurricane. When it comes it will be furious. The waters of 
the lake dash like a heavy sea. A little boat five miles away is bat- 
tling with the waves; you do not know who are in the boat, but if your 
eye was as well practiced as another's eye who is watching, you would 
see that they are Rev. Cole and three or four native Africans. They 
are pulling at the oars with all their might, lest the storm overtake 



WOMEN OF DLSTJNCTION. 19:3 

them. But here at your side ou the mission pia/.za stands Mrs. Cole. 
Look in her face and you will see deep care and anxiety seated there. 
Look in her hands. She holds a little dress half finished for one of 
her school-girls. The needle and fingers have never stopped. How 
fast they fly! Stitch after stitch until the thread is used up, and then, 
for a moment the eyes are moved from the boat to re-thread the needle 
or to change to another seam, and the work goes ou. Now the boat is 
at the landing; all jump out and pull the boat to the shore. Mrs. Cole 
heaves a gentle sigh as if a silent prayer is answered, and continues 
her work. — African Missions, March, i8g2. 



CHAPTER XIvVI. 

MRS. CHARLOTTE FORTEN GRIMKEE. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Philadelphia, 
of which city her granvdfather, James Forten, was an old 
and well-known resident. As the facilities for educating 
colored children were at that time very poor in the city 
of her birth, she was taught privately for some time by 
an aunt, and then sent to Salem, Mass., where she 
attended the grammar school, and was afterwards 
admitted into the normal school, in which she was the 
only colored pupil. She was treated with great courtesy 
and kindness by teachers and pupils, and was appointed 
by her class to write the poem for one of the graduation 
exercises. Just before graduating she was, greatly to her 
surprise, offered a position as assistant teacher in one of 
the public schools in which there happened to be not a 
single colored pupil. After her graduation she took the 
1 '> 



11)4 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

position with many misgivings, for she knew that Salem, 
althongh far in advance of Philadelphia at the time as 
to liberality, yet was not entirely free from prejudice 
against color, and she feared also that some of the pupils 
might be insulting or rebellious, especially as the school 
contained some very unruly members — large boys who 
worked in the country during the summer months and 
came to school in winter determined to get as much 
"fun" out of it as possible. Some of these were larger 
than herself, hence there was some room for fear in case 
of conflict. 

But very soon she had the satisfaction of seeing these 
riotous spirits^ like raging billows, calm dozvn^ and never 
did she hear a disrespectful word or the slightest allusion 
made to her color. Her relation to the pupils was a very 
pleasant one, and after teaching there for some time it 
was with much regret that she was obliged to resign the 
position on account of extreme ill health brought on by 
the severity of the New England climate, and return to 
Philadelphia. When she had, after a long period of 
invalidism, regained her health, she returned to Salem, 
where she had a position in the school which she had 
first attended. The principal, one of the finest teachers 
and noblest women she had ever known, was her dearest 
friend. The position in this school, in which there were 
only girls, was an extremely pleasant one, but after 
teaching there some months she was again attacked by 
severe illness and obliged on her partial recovery to 
return to Philadelphia on account of the milder climate. 
During her residence in Salem she had written articles 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 10r> 

for the Anti-Slavery Standard and other papers, at the 
same time indulging very earnest youthful hopes that she 
might become an authoress. During the war she was 
sent, with a friend, by the Freedmen's Aid Society in 
Philadelphia, to teach the freedmen at Port Royal, on 
the coast of South Carolina. 

They were located on St. Helena Island. vShe spent 
several years there and found the work most interesting. 
While there she held correspondence with Mr. White 
and his sister, with whom she had spent many happy 
hours during her school-days. It was at a suggestion by 
Mr. White that she published some articles on their life 
among the freedmen in the Atlantic Monthly^ for which 
she was liberally remunerated. 

On her return North she went to Boston, where she 
was engaged for several years in the work of the New 
England Freedmen's Aid Society. Here she enjoyed 
her correspondence with . the freedmen's teachers, 
although suffering much from ill health. She was, 
however, able to do some literary work, translating some 
novels for Messrs. Scribner & Co, and also short stories 
for Scribner^ s Magazine. She also wrote articles for the 
Boston Cormnonwealth and other papers. 

Upon the breaking up of the Freedmen's Aid Society 
she went to Charleston, S. C, and taught school for one 
vear, after which she returned to the North and remained 
in ill health for a long time. Upon improving in health 
she again attempted to teach in Washington, D. C, but 
after a short while she was thoroughly convinced that 
teaching was too great a taxation upon her strength. 



11)6 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

She resigned and took a clerkship in the Treasury 
department. While thus engaged she again wrote arti- 
cles and verses for the papers, the Christian Register^ of 
Boston, especially. In 1878 she was married to Rev. 
Francis J. Grimkee, pastor of the Fifteenth Street Pres- 
byterian Church, of Washington, D. C. After a service 
of nearly eight years here Rev. Grimkee resigned on 
account of poor health, and accepted a call to the Pres- 
byterian church in Jacksonville, Fla. He remained 
there (she with him) for about three years, and being 
much improved in health he accepted an urgent recall 
to his former charge in Washington, D. C. , where he 
still resides. Her life in the District has not been an 
eventful one, much of her time being spent in church 
work, and therefore she has not done as much literary 
work as she had hoped to do. She sometimes tries to 
find some consolation in the thought that possibly this 
is why her long-cherished dreams of becoming an 
authoress have never been fully realized. Few Afro- 
American women have been more useful than Mrs. 
Grimkee. 

She was faithful to the race when faithful friends were 
fezu and much needed. She came to the front in those 
dark days when it tried every nerve to the uttermost for 
one to be an aggressive defender of the rights of an 
oppressed people. Mr. G. W. Williams, the historian, 
says of her: 

She comes of one of the best colored families of the State. * * * 
She proved to be a student of more than usual application. * * * 
She wrote both prose and poetry, and did admirably in each. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 197 

CHAPTER XIvVII. 

MISS LUIvU C. FLEMING. 

Miss L. C. Fleming was born in Hibernia, Clay 
county, Florida, in 1862, at the time the great hostile 
armies North and South were gathering for the mighty 
conflict over slavery. Her mother was half Congo and 
her father half Caucasian, under the voke of bondage, 
but not without deeply throbbing hearts for freedom. 

When little Lulu was only about six weeks old her 
father resolved to go to the war. Thus taking his wife 
and children and as manv youno- slaves as were willino^ 
to join the army and fight for liberty, he bravely 
attempted to carry into execution his bold resolve. 

Concerting with the captain of a Union gun-boat, 
who had deserted from the Rebel army, the father not 
only found his own dear little band seeking refuge in 
the ship, but many others who were under bondage 
were of a similar spirit, and in a short time the gun- 
.boat was well loaded with fugitives. But the bright 
hopes of the father only lasted for a very brief space of 
time. The captain now deserted the Union side and 
landed all the fugitives in Jacksonville, prisoners — Lulu's 
father in irons — and narrovv^ly did he escape being 
hanged (some did not escape). Thus again he with 
wife and little ones were reduced to slavery, although 
Lulu was too young to know what her father suffered in 
the days of slavery, for very soon after he was released 
from his imprisonment he was found in the Union army 



IDS WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

fighting against slavery, and for two years he was in the 
service, and was only released by ,death without ever 
seeino- his wife and children ag-ain. 

The life of lyulu up to fifteen was marked only by the 
trials common to poor slave children generally, except 
being fortunate in having a mother, although a slave 
without education, who was deeply concerned for the 
welfare of her children, and doubtless her influence had 
good effect upon Lulu. 

Touching her conversion, she must bear witness in 
her own happy w^ords as copied from a private letter to a 
friend, and here introduced. After speaking of the 
"kind Heavenly Father's care" over her mother and 
children, she adds: 

At the age of fifteen He drew me unto himself, and after passing 
through the shadow of doubts, I entered into the blessed light of His 
love, wherein to walk is fullness of joy, December, 1877. I was a 
missionary like Andrew of old from the very day I found the Lord. 

Six years ago, while engaged as public school teacher in St. Augus- 
tine, Florida, I met in my Sabbath-school Dr. Kellsey, of Brooklyn, 
N. Y., who became deeply interested with the manner in which I 
expounded the Word of God to my class, which consisted of the 
pastor of that church, the licensed ministers and the adults generally 
of the school. 

This gentleman, who was then in the rear of the room, came up and 
introduced himself to me, asking if I were a Floridian, and then he 
asked where I was educated. I told him. He thought I should have 
a higher course, as my heart was so much interested in missions, I 
told him my mother had educated me to the extent of her means, and 
that I was now on life's ocean for myself. He said, "I will see if I 
can't help you if you care to attend college." Accordingly he inter- 
ested a company of young ladies in his church in me, and by them I 
was educated, graduating from Shaw University, Raleigh, N. C, May 
27, 1885, with the honor of class valedictorian. 



WOMEN OF DLSTINOTJON. 199 

While teaching in Florida, before going to college, 
sympathizing deeply with the two most needy and 
lowly classes in the community where her field of labor 
belonged, instead of devoting her leisure time to such 
amusements and recreation as are generally hailed with 
delight by the average young and thoughtless teachers. 
Lulu was found with a devotion which was as rare as 
it was Christ-like, doing with all her might what her 
hands found to do, in aid of the aged and infirm and 
the poor little orphan children. On this line, for a time, 
she concluded that her mission work was to be con- 
summated. 

In 1883, she claims, while in school, Africa was laid 
on her soul, but she then yielded only to the extent of 
trying to have others become interested and go. After 
finishing her collegiate studies, with renewed zeal she 
returned to her former field in Florida. 

Here again the narrative would not be complete if her 
own graphic language was omitted: 

But the Lord had need of me in Africa, and the happiness that I 
used to enjoy in the work at home was marred from time to time with 
the shadow of the darkness of the "Dark Continent," and it was 
not until June 27, 1886, when I answered a personal request, coming 
from the Woman's Baptist Foreign Missionar}^ vSociety, asking me to 
go as their first representative to that far off dark land, that I felt 
happy and free from the sin of omission of duty. I was truly happy 
then, and since I have set sail for the benighted country I am happier 
(she was on her voyage when these words quoted were penned) ; when 
I reach the doleful shores I shall be happiest. What comfort comes 
to us from doing the perfect will of God concerning us ! 

In due time the voyage came to an end; the desired 
haven was reached. Other than some very rough 



200 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

weather on a part of the voyage nothing- occurred on 
the journey to mar her prospects, being providentially 
preserved from sickness all the way from the land of her 
nativity to her destined mission field in the Congo Valley. 
The unbounded sight of heathenism everywhere now 
to meet her gaze, turn whichever way she might, with- 
out the face of a familiar human being or friend to 
cheer her as she entered into her mission work, her faith 
in God was thus to be tested, and thus it was tested to 
the fullest extent. 

But on this ground there is no tale of disappointments 
or wavering, or of homesickness to relate, for this 
young missionary had sat down and thoroughly counted 
the cost before starting on this dreadful mission. In 
such an attitude as this to commence service for Christ 
and humanity it is about as hard to comprehend how 
this delicate young disciple could brave the peril before 
her as it is to comprehend how by having "faith as a 
grain of mustard seed " a mountain could, be removed. 
Truly her life seemed to be hid with Christ in God, and 
she was simply happy in the faith that she was doing 
her duty, and that she had nothing to fear with the firm 
promises of her Heavenly Father to rest upon. All her 
letters from the mission field that came under the writer's 
notice were carefully examined and re-examined, not 
only to see the progress she was making from time to 
time, but to see if there were not spells wdien she would 
find herself overwhelmed in a state of dreadful horror. 
But, strange as it may appear, there was no evidence that 
she was ever given to such moods. Her letters were 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 201 

exceedingly instructive and interesting, and would occa- 
sionally find their way into public print, where, both in 
this country and England, they attracted considerable 
attention. But the space allotted for this sketch will 
barely admit of more than one-fifth of one of her pri- 
vate letters, dated " Palabala Station, Congo Inde- 
pendent State, S. W. Africa, June 6, 1890," which 
must suffice to indicate her attitude in the midst of her 
labors after having been in the field for more than three 
years. 

Having a knowledge of photography and being 
equipped with instruments, which she had carried with 
her from Philadelphia, in writing home to friends she 
would occasionally send some original photographs for 
them to view. In the following extract containing 
reference to "pictures" it will readily occur to the 
reader what was signified in the allusion: 

You must excuse the poor pictures ; really they are not worth keep- 
ing a letter for. However, such as the}^ are I gladly send you. I 
have made the study of the language and my mission work ni}- first 
duty. Photography practice comes far apart, so I am proportionately 
far from perfection. Take the meaning they bring you and hope to 
get better ones next time. 

When we parted in 1887 I hoped we should meet again this 3'ear. 
Well we never know to-day what to-morrow will bring forth. 

Having been so well all along I began in time last 3'ear to entreat 
my Board to allow me to stay out five years. No lady has ever stayed 
out so long, but I am sure it can be done; I have only begun my real 
work. Until Miss Gordon came I had to be mother for our mission 
girls and teach our station school. This work she has taken and I 
have been able to do work among the town folks. My town school is 
not in a town, but by the public road-side, where the children from 
four towns have access to it. This takes up my mornings. In the 
afternoon, until lately, I teach an hour and give the rest of the time 



202 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

to preaching the Word. The past two months I have had a native 
helper, who takes the afternoon class. This gives me ni}' afternoons 
to preach in three towns, taking one an afternoon. I hope to get off 
on another jungle tour through this dry season ; yet it seems too bad 
to have to close my school again, as it has already been twice closed 
for health reasons. 

My native helper I will need with me. I am praying that the God 
of all missions will show me my duty in the matter. Out here we 
often wish it possible to divide ourselves and let half go on one mis- 
sion and a half on another. Truly the harvest is great, and the labor- 
ers are few. There are coming more into the vineyard, praise the 
Lord, and in our day we may see many great changes. You know of 
your Church in the South beginning a mission out here? This makes 
three new societies to enter the field since I have been here. 

The signs of the times say that the "coming of the Kingdom draw- 
eth nigh " in Congo Land. We have a mission house two miles awa}^ 
where I work mornings in the capacity of preacher, teacher and 
doctor. All is very poorly done, but is done for the love of Christ and 
in His name. I hope to be allowed two years home in which to study 
medicine, so as to be better able to help this suffering people. They 
do trust so fully in my skill — poor creatures — and I know so little to 
do for them. 

Thus, after laboring hopefully and incessantly for 
about four years she returned for much-needed rest and 
recuperation and to obtain medical knowledge. After 
all, however, she has found no great amount of time or 
opportunity for leisure or rest. Being a very interesting- 
speaker, with a well-stored mind on missions, in par- 
ticular, and Africa, likewise, she has been much in 
demand, solicitations coming from different denomina- 
tions (from white and colored. North and South). It 
may not be out of place here to state that on one occa- 
sion she had the honor to be heard in Spurgeon's great 
chapel, in London, and to be very cordially greeted by 
that wonderful man. Let the young women of the 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 2()'5 

race take courage and with the faith, earnestness of pur- 
pose, trust in God, with a willingness to do with all 
their might whatever their hands find to do, as charac- 
terized in the brief and simple sketch of the life of 
Ivulu C. Fleming. 

Press on, working in this faith and trusting in Christ 
the Lord; no obstacles or mountains in the wav will be 
too difficult to be removed. 

And it is to be greatly desired that among the many 
FAITHFUL and TRUE wouieu whose portraits may be found 
sketched in this volume may issue a never-failing source 
of inspiration which shall prove of lasting benefit to 
millions of our struggling young women who are aim- 
ing for a higher and nobler womanhood. 

William Still. 



CHAPTER XLVIIL 

KATE D. CHAPMAN TILLMAN. 

This lady of much ability was born in Mound City, 
Illinois, February 19, 1870. Her mother was a faithful 
and gifted school-teacher and writer, from whom her 
daughter received much inspiration in early life. 

This daughter of poor parents, Charles and Laura 
Chapman, has gained quite a reputation with the pen. 
She has written in both prose and poetry for the leading 
race papers. Her first published poem appeared in the 



204 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Christimt Recoi^der in 1888, entitled "Memory." Her 
first story appeared in Our Women and Children. Since 
then she has continued to write. Her education was 
obtained in the public schools and in the State Univer- 
sity of Louisville, Kentucky; also in the high school at 
Yankton, South Dakota, and in Wilberforce University, 
in Ohio. 

Some very praiseworthy statements concerning her 
have appeared in The Statesman^ Appeal and Torchlighl^ 
all of which did honor to this worthy young woman. 
The first poem that came from her pen, when only thir- 
teen years old, was occasioned by a severe illness, and 
was entitled "The Dying Child." A sketch of her life 
has appeared in a leading New York journal, and also in 
the very excellent book by Mr. I. G. Penn, "Afro-Ameri- 
can Press and its Editors." She is now preparing a vol- 
ume of short stories for girls. Ill health has caused a 
laxity in her progress as a writer, but there is yet hope 
that she may become one of our greater lights, being- 
yet young in years. The following is one of her poems 
on the condition of the race: 

A QUEvSTION OF TO-DAY. 

" And shall our people, long oppressed 
By fierce, inhuman foe. 
Not seek to have their wrongs redressed ? 
No! by their manhood, no! 

" You men do call us women weak. 
By Him who ruleth all, 
For what was ours we'd dare to speak, 
Menaced bv cannon ball. 



WOMEN OF J)LST1N(JTJ0N. 20.^ 

" Human we are, of blood as good, 
As rich the crimson stream, 
God-planned, ere creation stood, 
However it may seem. 

" Oh! sit not tamel}^ by and see 
Thy brother bleeding sore; 
For is there not much work for thee. 
While they for help implore ? 

" From Wahalak came the news, 
Our men are lying dead. 
Did it not hatred rank infuse 
When word like this was read ? 

" And now White Caps, with hearts as black 
As hell — of Ku-Klux fame. 
Still ply the lash on freedom's back; 
And must he bear the same? " 

Thus said a woman, old and gra}^ 

To me, while at her door. 
Speaking of what so heavy lay 

And made her heart so sore. 

"What, woman! dost thou speak of war. 
The weaker 'gainst the strong ? 
That, surel}', would our future mar, 
Nor stop the tide of wrong. 

" We must be patient, longer wait; 

We'll get our cherished rights." 
"Yes, when within the pearly gate, 

And done with earthly sights," 

Replied the woman, with a sneer 
Upon her countenance. 
"You men do hold your lives too dear 
To risk with spear or lance." 

"Naomi, at Fort Pillow fell 

Three hundred blacks one day; 
The cannon's roar their only knell, 
In one deep grave they lay. 



206 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

" Our men have bravely fought, and will, 
When'er the time shall come; 
But now we hear His 'Peace, be still! ' 
And stay within our home. 

" Let but our people once unite, 

Stand firmly as a race, 
. Prejudice, error, strong to fight. 

Each here in his place. 

" And not a favored few demand 
Bribes of gold, position. 
While many freemen in our land 
Bewail their hard condition. 

" Liberty, truly, ours will be. 
And error pass away; 
And then no longer shall we see 
Injustice hold her sway. 

" As Americans we shall stand, 
Respected by all men; 
An honored race in this fair land. 
So praised by word and pen. 

" And those to come will never know 
The pain we suffered here; 
In peace shall vow, in peace shall plow. 
With naught to stay or fear." 

Said Naomi: " You may be right; 

God grant it as you say. 
I've often heard the darkest night 

Gives way to brightest day." 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. ' 201 



CHAPTER XLIX. 

MRS. A. J. COOPER. 

If we should be asked to-dav to name the o^reatest 
female educator the race has produced in North Carolina, 
we would be most certain to mention that one that 
marks the beginning of this chapter. She is not only 
the greatest that we know of as a North Carolinian of 
color, but she is possibly the peer of any the State has 
produced, of whom we have any account, as a female 
educator in either race. 

Our more favored neighbors can well boast of many 
good and eminent women, such as Lydia H. Sigourney, 
Alice Carey and Phoebe Carey, etc., but they all came 
through onlv a part of the gj'eat storm that negro zvomen 
of eyninence have to contend with. It is simply remarka- 
ble, when one contrasts the two roads leading to enii- 
nence, to behold the difference. ..-^ 

In the pathway along which negro wonien have to 
travel may be found almost every conceivable difficult}' 
to be overcome alone by the traveler; from poverty.^ 
through himiiliation {even npon public thoroughfares)^ to 
almost a sacrifice of friends and life. A long, up-hill 
and lonesome journey, and therefore the more remarka- 
ble, especially in the South, when compared with the 
easy pathway of our more favored sisters. When an 
Afro-American woman dees arrive at any eminence it is 
well known that she has fought a fierce and bloody battle 
almost every step of her zvay. Despite all the opposition 



208 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

and conflicts within and without the ranks of the race, 
some of our women are eminent^ among whom is Mrs. 
A. J. Cooper, who was born in Raleigh, N. C. , August 
lo, 1858. 

x\t a very early age she entered St. Augustine Nor- 
mal School, being among the first boarding pupils at 
that institution. When she was possibly about eleven 
years old she was given a class as student-teacher, which 
was the beginning of her career as teacher, in which 
profession she has continued to this day. She was mar- 
ried in 1877 to Rev. G. A. C. Cooper, of Nassau, New 
Providence, West Indies, who was, at the time of mar- 
riage (1877), ^ teacher in St. Augustine School and pas- 
tor of the St. Augustine Church at Raleigh, N. C. In 
1879 her husband died and left her a widow^ only twenty- 
one years old. 

After filling with much credit in this school many 
positions, such as pupil-teacher, teacher, matron, and 
lady in charge of female department, etc., she left in 
1 88 1 for Oberlin College, where she entered the sopho-- 
more class, upon examination. While thus engaged in 
study in the classical department she taught classes in 
the preparatory department, and the Students in the 
classes taught by this Afro-American lady were white 
students. 

She was also the private teacher of a class of white 
students outside of school hours. She graduated in 
1884, and spent one year at Wilberforce University 
( 1 884-' 85) as professor of modern languages and science. 
Then she returned to St. Augustine Normal School at 






WOMEN OF I)ISTIN(;T10N. 201) 

Raleigh, N. C, and taiiglit two years. In 1887 she was 
elected to a position in the High School of Washington, 
D. C. , where she has been engaged in teaching ever 
since. She has just published a book entitled "A 
Voice From the South," which we have not as yet had 
opportunity to examine. That Mrs. Cooper is a lady of 
rare ability is acknowledged by all scholars who know 
her. 

As great and as learned, as refined and popular as she is, 
she is still not exempted from humiliation on public rail- 
ways in some parts of the South. Just a few days ago 
(the last days of 1892) she chanced to visit her old home 
and peep in upon her friends in Raleigh, N. C, and 
when leaving even this city of her birth she was insulted 
in a waiting-room at the depot, and ejected from the 
room. For what? Simply because she was a colored 
ivomait. 

Insulted and ejected (with a first-class ticket in her 
hand) by a* white man who is by far her inferior in every 
respect. [Note. — I mention this treatment here as sim- 
ply an opportunity to place it upon record, and let it go 
down in history to posterity.] Indeed, it is true that 
great negro women work hard and go through much 
that is far from being pleasant after as well as before 
achieving greatness. 

However the storms, and whatever the difficulties, the 
w^omen of this race have bright prospects of a better 
future in such pioneers and representatives as Mrs. A. J. 
Cooper. 



14 



210 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

CHAPTER h. 

MRS. LUCRETIA NEWMAN COLEMAN. 

A woman of good talent and refined manners, up with 
the age in which she lives and an advocate of sound 
doctrines in all matters of morality and religion, a 
writer of thought and ability, are characteristics of the 
lady whose name heads this section of Women of Dis- 
tinction. 

Born in Dresden, Ontario, the immediate descendant 
of William and Nancy Newman, her father having 
died while she was quite young and her mother soon 
following him into the grave, necessarily left much 
responsibility upon this lady of whom we pen these 
lines. 

Educated very largely in the common and high schools 
she graduated from the scientific department of Law- 
rence University and immediately began the work of 
teaching what she had learned to others. It was about 
1883 when she was assistant secretary in the financial 
affairs of the A. M. E. Church, having already been a 
store clerk and teacher in music and in the common 
English branches. 

The AmeiHcan Baptist^ w^hich was at this time so 
ably edited by our lamented friend and brother, W^illiam 
J. Simmonds, D. D. , contained the following, in Sep- 
tember, 1884: 

As a writer her fame is fast spreading, not only in one or two States, 
but throughout the United States. Should she continue with the same 
success in the future as she has had in the past, she will be equal to 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 211 

Harriet Ward Beecher Stowe, if not her superior. Her posm, " Li:cilla 
of Montana," and her novel, "Poor Ben," have been very highly 
spoken of by competent critics and newspapers. 

She has contributed some very fine articles to the 
A. M. E. Revieiv^ and in all matters to which she has 
applied herself she has well succeeded. 



CHAPTER U. 

MISS A. L. TILGHMAN. 

This lady was born in Washington, D. C, and is a 
graduate from the normal department of Howard Uni- 
versity; has taught more than ten years in the public 
schools of that city. As a teacher and disciplinarian 
she bore a high reputation. Upon one occasion she 
desired to exchange her school of a higher grade for 
one of a lower, because of the latter being nearer her 
home. She did so, but in this exchange she entered a 
school that had been noted for bad order and being 
extremely unruly. 

When she had been there a few weeks the superin- 
tendent called one day and said with regard to the excel- 
lent condition of the school, "Miss Tilghman, how am 
I to account for this change?" 

As a child she exhibited great talent for music, and 
possessed a wonderfully sweet and sympathetic voice that 
touched every ear that heard it. Once when Bishop 



212 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Payne had heard her sing, at a memorial meeting, a 
song called ''Departed Days," he arose and said. 
"That child's parents had better spend a hundred dol- 
lars on her voice now than leave her a fortune when 
they die." 

For several years Miss Tilghman was leading soprano 
of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church choir, and 
was one of Washington's favorite prima donnas^ appear- 
ing in concerts with Madam Selika, Madam Nellie 
Brown Mitchell, Miss Adelaide G. Smith, and other 
prominent singers, although at that time she was very 
young. In December, 1880, she was engaged to sing in 
New York, and the National Era ^ a paper published at 
that time, in speaking of her singing, said this: 

Miss Tilghman's appearance in New York City was the bursting 
forth of a musical star of the first magnitude, whose brilliancy com- 
pletely captured the praise and admiration of the critics, and forced 
from the many talented vocalists of the great metropolis a concession 
of her richly earned title, "The Queen of Song." 

In June, 1881, Miss Tilghman was communicated 
with and engaged as prima donna of the Sangerfaest, 
held in the Grand Opera House in lyouisville, Ky. , where 
she sang four consecutive nights amid great applause, 
and won for herself and her race laurels as a singer that 
can never fade. It was there that Miss Tilghman first 
saw the cantata of Queen Esther rendered, and she came 
back to Washington, gathered together the best musical 
talent and presented it upon the stage at Ivincoln Hall, 
taking the character of Queen Esther, accompanied by 
nearly one hundred voices, full orchestra, and beautiful 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 21.'5 

stage costumes. The entire cantata was magnificently 
rendered, and it is said that never before had the colored 
people of Washington produced anything upon the stage 
to equal it, either in stage costumes and settings or in 
the perfect rendition of each part. 

The presentation of the cantata entailed an immense 
amount of hard zvork upon Miss Tilghman and, coupled 
with the regular duties of the school-room, proved too 
much for her physically, and within two months she 
was stricken with a severe illness that prostrated her for 
Jive months. The following summer she was urged 
upon to go away as soprano leader of a company of 
singers, and it was during that engagement, and while 
scarcely more than half recovered from months of illness, 
she was again stricken down, and this time with a fear- 
ful accident, from which she has not fully recovered, and 
possibly never will. It was during the engagement with 
this company, while singing in Saratoga, that the terri- 
ble accident befell her which disabled her for teaching 
and possibly changed the whole current of her future 
life. Many are familiar with the story of that sad acci- 
dent, and many more may learn of it for the first time. 

While passing down Broadway, Saratoga, a brick fell 
thirty feet from the scaffolding of the Collamar building, 
striking Miss Tilghman on the head, felling her to the 
ground and fracturing her skull. From this fracture 
sixteen pieces of bone were removed. There are some 
lives into which it seems that all kinds of afflictions are 
thrust and still they are borne with such patience as is 
to many simply remarkable. And even with this our 



214 WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 

afflictions seem as nothing when compared with what 
Christ suffered for us. Why not be patient? 

Miss Tilghman attended the Boston Conservatory of 
Music expressly to study the Conservatory methods of 
teaching piano, and that she learned the system well 
and is a most efficient teacher is shown by the following- 
letter: 

What was said some months ago by Dr. C. N. Dorsette of Miss 
Tilghman's work in Montgomery is true in every sense, and she is 
truly building monuments of music in the homes of the colored peo- 
ple. A few years ago there were no colored pianists in Montgomer}^ 
and in no house where colored people lived did one hear in passing the 
artistic rendition of music as is now heard in almost every two or three 
squares. Nowhere had such a thing as a musical recital ever been 
heard of until Miss Tilghman went to Montgomery and parents sat 
and listened to their own children perform in public on the piano, and 
their hearts swelled with pride as they looked and listened. This 
young lady is doing a grand and noble work in that city. She has 
not been without her trials and afflictions in life, but no woman has 
ever fought through them more nobly and womanly than she. No 
woman has ever taken a truer stand for the right. She has won the 
highest esteem and respect of all who have met her and witnessed her 
work, and in years to come the young ladies who have been under her 
instruction and watched her womanly learning will rise up and "call 
her blessed." — The Southern Christian Recorder (1888). 

In 1886, while teaching music in Montgomery, Ala., 
Miss Tilghman first began the publication of the Musical 
Messenger^ the first and only musical journal ever pub- 
lished by any one of the Negro Race. That the Messenger 
was well edited and was a credit to the race is fully 
attested by the following complimentary comments: 

Miss A. Iv. Tilghman is the editress of the Musical Messenger, the 
only paper of the kind ever published by our people. Miss Tilghman 
is a young lady of much talent. — New York Freeman. 



^ WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 215 

The Musical Messenger is the finest journal of the kind ever issued 
in the South. It is full of good matter, v/ritten ])y some of the best 
people in the country. — Herald (Montgomery). 

Miss A. L. Tilghman, the well-known Washington />^w/rt donna, is 
the editor and proprietor of the Micsical Messenger. — Washington 
Critic. 

We welcome to our exchange list the IMusical Messenger, by Miss 
A. L. Tilghman. Another woman joins the profession. May it be 
hers to enjoy much prosperity. — Virginia Lancet. 

Miss Tilghman publishes the Musical Messenger, the first paper 
devoted to music ever published by the rsice..^ People's Advocate. 

Miss Tilghman, editing the Musical Messenger, and formerly a 
teacher in the public schools of Washington, possesses musical talent 
of no mean order. — New Orleans Pelica?i. 

The Musical Messenger is the name of a monthly journal published 
by Miss A. L. Tilghman. She is a graduate of Howard University, 
and was a successful teacher at Washington for several years. — A. M. 
E. Church. 

The colored race have several newspapers of first-class merit ; but, 
musical as they are, none of them, until now, have started a musical 
journal. The new venture is the Musical Messenger, a monthly of 
considerable promise. — AniericaJi Machinist (N. Y.). 

We are in receipt of the Musical MesseJiger, a monthly published iu 
Washington, D. C, by Miss A. L. Tilghman, and devoted to "the 
highest moral, social and intellectual interest of the people." That 
the race stands sadly in need of such a journal should be freely 
admitted. It is our earnest hope that the editor's hands may be 
strengthened and her soul fortified in this very creditable venture. — 
Tribune (Philadelphia, Pa.). 

Miss Tilghman was correspondent for Our Women 
and Children^ published by the lamented William J. 
Simmonds, who was a faithful and energetic worker for 
the race. As a writer, as well as a singer, Miss Tilgh- 
man stands in the front rank of our young Afro- Ameri- 
can women. She has composed several very fine poems. 



216 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

In closing this sketcli we feel that it is fitting to give 
our readers the poem which she composed in honor of 
Queen Victorians seventieth birthday and which was pub- 
lished in the Musical Messenger: 

DEDICATED TO HER GRACIOUS MAJESTY, QUEEN 
VICTORIA, OF ENGLAND. 

Reign on ! most glorious Queen ! 

And let thy sceptre svva}-. 
Till Ireland's people are redeemed, 

Their darkness turned to da}-. 

Reign on ! till right shall rule. 

And wrong shall buried be. 
Reign on ! most generous, noble soul ! 

The world needs such as thee. 

Reign on ! ne'er let thy power 

Be ever rent in twain. 
Thy life so noble, good and pure, 

Be tarnished with one stain. 

Reign on ! for God doth guide 

Thy sovereigns at His will. 
And He who stills the raging tide 

Will bid thy foes be still. 

Reign on ! unequaled Queen, 

Till man to man is free. 
Till not one shackle shall be seen. 

And nowhere slaves shall be. 

Reign on ! reign ever on ! 

Not in this world alone, 
But may thy pure and holy life 

Be echoed at God's throne. 

Reign on ! till Heaven is gained, 

And thou with the redeemed 
Shall there receive the victor's crown, 

Most noble, glorious Queen ! 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 217 

CHAPTER UI. 

MISS N. ANTONIA GORDON. 

The subject of our present sketch was born to James 
and Sarah Gordon, August 25, 1866, at Augusta, Ga. 
She stands third oldest in a family of nine children, and 
was always the personification of gentleness and kind- 
ness to her brothers and sisters. As a daughter she 
loved and obeyed in a way which most children never 
attain. As a younger sister she fondly served and looked 
up to her brothers, making them her ideals of youthful 
manliness ; while as an elder sister she never sought 
her rights. Often the younger members of the family 
imposed slaps or other childish freaks on her without 
her even reporting them to their parents. The mother 
soon noticed in this child a peculiar domestic turn. 
Whatever the mother attempted to do her oldest daughter 
would be on hand offering help. At the age of six 
years she completed a patchivork quilt which excited 
much attention in the neighborhood, and the mother 
was pressed to place it upon exhibition at the State Fair. 

At an early age this child was in school, and soon 
proved herself to be above the average aptness. Her 
book was put before everything in her mind, even her 
food. As she grew larger this love for books deepened. 
At her domestic duties she would have her book open 
on a table or chair so her hands and head could both be 
called into action at once. Her parents' pastor, Rev. 
A. W. De Lamotta, saw in this child something out of 



218 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

which there could be made a great woman, and advised 
her parents to send her to a school for women and girls, 
then just opening in the basement of the Friendship 
Baptist Church of Atlanta, Ga. In the fall of 1882 
this child took leave of home and dear ones for the 
above school, which afterwards became Spehnan Se7ni- 
imrv. Misses Packard and Giles, the founders of this 
now famous institution, soon discovered this child's rare 
qualities, and, as was their habit, they inquired of her 
w^hether or not she was saved. On receiving an answer 
in the negative, these two soul-winners set out to win 
this precious soul for Christ. And, in the midst of her 
term w^ith them, their hearts were made glad by her 
salvation. With her birth into the kingdom came her 
call to Africa; this desire burnt upon the table of her 
heart from the very day she was converted. The ye 
that followed in her career at Spelman were full indeed, 
and mioht of themselves fill a volume with verv inter- 
esting facts. But as our space is so limited suffice it to 
say that she stood foremost as a soul-winner and a scholar. 
As a student-teacher she often had the joy of seeing 
scores of her pupils saved under her teaching. As a 
teacher she is winsome, firm and gentle. Wherever she 
has taught she could teach again, so greatly loved is 
she. At Spelman she was and is still their pride. 
Here she graduated with the honor of Class Poet in 
1888, when a position was offered her in the Mitchell 
Street Graded vSchool of Atlanta, Ga. Her plans for 
beginning work in Africa were fast formulating, but 
being pressed she consented and served at said school 




WOMEN OF DLSTINCJTION. 219 

till Christmas, 1889. By this time the ladies of the 
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the West had 
selected her to be their second representative in the 
great Congo Valley. Then came the task of giving up 
a devoted grandmother, who declared she could not live 
through a separation from her, as well as Misses Pack- 
ard and Giles, who had endeared themselves to her 
beyond mention, and a host of others who formed a circle 
of as true and fond friends as ever lived. This trial 
daunted not the frail, beautiful girl's faith, but she 
attended the tearful farewell services arranged at Spel- 
man, and took a joyful leave of this host of dear ones 
for Africa on the loth of March, 1889. After a long 
journey from Atlanta to Boston she looked out for the 
first time in her life upon the sea and thought what 
other than a divine call to Africa could induce her to face 
the perils of the sea. On the i6th day of the same 
month she embarked by the Cunard Line from Boston. 
While waiting for an African bound ship in Ivondon this 
"Daughter of the King" had it revealed to her that it 
was even as the grandmother had said — her parting was 
too much and had proved God's means to gather her to 
Himself. She mentioned this to Miss R-oyal, her travel- 
ing companion, with a sweet peace and resignation that 
she herself could not understand. This was no longer a 
vision when, on her arrival in the Congo, she found a 
letter there awaiting her telling her what she had for 
weeks known. Still this peace was hers, and she set her- 
self about learning the language and the work with 
cheerfulness. Her father had been for years a deacon 



220 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

in the Baptist Church. She loved him above all earthly 
objects. He delighted in his child's devotion and sent 
her from him with a fatherly, devoted "God bless you, 
my child, and use you to save the heathen, God bless 
vou ! " In less than eio;hteen months after she had be<jun 
this work of "saving the heathen" this dear father was 
o^athered with those found worthv to wear the crown. 
This news was enough to caUvSe our heroine to say, 
"This is harder than I can bear," and give up in heart, 
but the brave heart said, "Though He slay me, yet will 
I trust in Him." In speaking of her sainted father she 
would say, "I miss his prayers so much!^^ She kept 
joyfully at the task of winning the heathen to Christ. 
And ere her heart had time to heal came the startling- 
news that her mother in the Lord, Miss S. B. Packard, 
had also joyfully gone up to wear the crown. This news 
found her just taking up new work at Lukunga Station, 
where more than five hundred lambs of God had been 
gathered in and awaited her devoted service. In two 
short years three of her dearest were heavenly! This 
urged her on to greater devotion, and to-day finds her in 
charge of a large press-work on the Station, a teacher in 
the first Congo Seminary, she being one of the founders, 
and having the oversight of three district schools taught 
by native teachers. Of the family of girls she took 
charge of at Palabala we see naught but what gladdens 
our hearts, as all have been saved through Christ. 
Africa has never had given her a purer life, a heart more 
devoted to her welfare and the salX'ation of her millions 
than is this devoted missionary. May her life be long 



WOMEN OF i)ISTlN(rriON. 22] 

spared to lift up this benighted nation by the press and 
by personal contact with the word of Ood! The follow- 
ing is the last poem that she wrote for the press, and 
explains itself: 

MISS PACKARD'S BIRTHDAY. 

This is the holy Sabbath, 

The third day of the year, 
The birthday of Miss Packard, 

Whose memory is dear. 

Our Alma Mater, Spelman, 

Will celebrate this day, 
And we will join in spirit, 

Though we're so far away. 

Our hearts will always praise Him 

That she was ever born to save 
The girls of our dear Southland 

By ignorance enslaved. 

Of all her noble life-work 

I need not tell to you ; 
Seven years we shared together 

Her love and care so true. 

Alas ! our hearts are stricken, 

To speak of it gives pain ; 
We've lost our benefactress. 

But O, to her what gain ! 

We do not mourn as others. 

Our hope gives joy and peace. 
For we have this assurance : 

Pier work shall never cease. 

Rest on, our weary loved one, 

Secure in Jesus' arms ; 
Earth's sin and toil and trials 

Can never do thee harm. 



222 WOMEN OF" DISTINCTION. 

Your work shall live in thousands 

You've taught the way of life ; 
We'll spread the glorious message 

Despite opposing strife. 

And she whom thou hast left us, 

We'll keep with jealous care, 
Lest Heaven takes her from us 

Your joy and bliss to share. 

Oh, God ! do hear our pleadings, 

And spare our dear Miss Giles, 
That she may bring more lost ones 

To know Th}' love and smiles. 

And daily bless our Spelman, 

Enrich her by Th}^ love ; 
Grant that her girls and teachers 

All meet in Heaven above. 

Palabala Station, Congo Ind. State, S. W. Africa, January 3, 1892. 

Iv. C. Fleming. 



CHAPTER IvIII. 

MISS MARY A. BURWBLIv. 

In condescending to choose human beings as his mis- 
sionary messengers of love and mercy to the countless 
millions of earth God has not assigned them all to a 
circumscribed pulpit or church, either in heathen lands 
or in civilized countries, but has been pleased to send 
some of them to the poor in every land, even unto little 
children in our own "land of liberty." 

He has said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not." 




MISS MARY A. BUKWELL. 



i 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 2i^:5 

For the especial care of orphan cliildren there is a 
peculiar fitness, not at all possessed by the majority, either 
as an acquired or as an inherited possession. 

As an earnest laborer in this field among the poor, 
needy children of the race few of our young wofnen 
have been more active, according to opportunity, than 
"Little Mary" Burwell, who was born in Mecklenburg 
county, Va. , of (recently) slave parents living in humble 
circtim stances. 

Her mother, though in very poor health, was never- 
theless kind and affectionate, and no doubt would have 
willingly done all possible in the discharge of her duty 
towards her only child. However, an uncle of this 
"only child" came on a visit and was so attracted by 
the lovable disposition of Mary, asked for her and, upon 
promise of educating her in the city schools of Raleigh, 
his request was granted, and he and little Mary were 
soon in the "City of Oaks," where she entered the 
Washington School at about eight years of age. i\fter 
spending some time in the primary school she entered 
Shaw University, from which she graduated after 
remaining therein six years, taking a diploma from the 
Estey Seminary course. She was a member of several 
classes taught by the author, while upon the faculty of 
Shaw University, who was always impressed with her 
meek yet earnest disposition as a student. After gradu- 
ating she taught for several years in the public schools. 

She was then called as lady teacher to the orphanage 
at Oxford, N. C, which position she accepted and gave 
up her school out of a desire to do something to help 



224 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

that struggling asylum, notwithstanding she knew it to 
be heavily burdened with debt and without one dollar in 
its treasury. She said, ''Any assistance I can render in 
the work it will be my pleasure to do so." 

Did she expect pay from this institution in the shape 
of a big salary? No; none was offered, as there was 
nothing to offer her as an inducement. In June, 1890, 
she entered upon her new work without any. promise of 
earthly reward. Then the asylum consisted of one wood 
building of three rooms, containing eight little children. 
It w^as indeed a poor home. Finding talent among these 
children, she began to train them for concerts with a 
hope of getting better quarters for them. In July, just 
about one month from the time she went there, she took 
them out to travel. They created much interest through 
the State. The General Assembly of North Carolina 
gave the institution $1,000, and up to November, 1892, 
less than two and one-half years, she has raised an addi- 
tional sum of more than $1,500, and has also solicited 
many annual contributors who will continue to give. 
So she has done much to help furnish and build addi- 
tional rooms. Now, instead of one building with three 
rooms containing eight children, there are many new 
additional rooms, well furnished with comforts, enjoyed" 
by forty children. Miss Burwell has given new life to 
things in general at the Colored Asylum at Oxford, 
N. C. She is yet young in years, and has visited most 
points of interest in the State with these children, hold- 
ing concerts and soliciting aid for the school, having not 
a dollar with which to start (except previous savings of 




IDA GRAY, D. D. S. 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTIOX. 225 

her own). She has been able to receive only some very 
small compensation for her work, and yet she is as 
earnest and as determined as ever. Her fntnre is evi- 
dently bright, and her chances to do good are many. 

She became a Christian when fourteen years old, and 
was baptized into membership with the First Baptist 
Church, Raleigh, N. C. She is an active, energetic, 
Christian worker, regarding no task too hard. 



CHAPTER UV. 

IDA GRAY, D. D. S. 

(a practicai, dentist). 

As a library deprived of some one of its necessary 
books, or a machine without one of the component 
parts, or a chemical laboratory that is void of a most 
important reagent, is incomplete and, therefore, inade- 
quate to fully fulfill the ends of its existence, so a nation 
without a full system of government, or a navy without 
a cannon, or a race of people who have not the diversi- 
fied acquired facilities essential to achieve greatness, must 
strive in vain to become great. The Afro- American, 
like all other races, the conditions being the same, is 
affected similarly by his environmenis. He now enters 
every avenue into which his brethren have been going. 
In this spirit of push and pluck our present subject 

affords a living example. 
15 



L>2() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Dr. Ida Gray, a practical as well as a scientific dentist, 
was born in Clarksville, Tenn., March, 1867. 

Her parents subsequently moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, 
where this very excellent young lady has since lived 
and where she now has an office and is regarded as a 
first-class dentist. She serves a large number of the 
best colored and white citizens of her city. So far as 
we are able to find out Miss Gray is the only female 
Afro- American dentist at the time of this writing. Her 
example is indeed one of great importance to our young 
women, who may take notice and find 2. field that is not 
only useful and already ripe for the harvest, but in which 
they, as laborers, may reap a rich and an abundant crop. 

Riiigzuood^ s Afro- American JoiLvnal of Fashion^ J^^bs 
1892, makes the following very pleasant statement con- 
cerning this professional lady: 

The accompanying portrait is of Dr. Ida Gray, the onU^ Afro-Ameri- 
can lady dentist. Miss Gray resides in Cincinnati, and was one of 
the very many who received their educational start in Gaines High 
School. On leaving this school she entered the dental department of 
the University of Michigan, from which she graduated in 1890. On 
returning to her home she opened a very cosy office on Ninth street, 
and has, in these two years, built up a large practice, having as many 
white as colored patients. 

Miss Gray is a very refined little lady, of whom the editor of the 
Planet s.Siys : "Her blushing, winning way makes you feel like find- 
ing an extra tooth anyway to allow her to pull." 

As a result of strict attention to business and the thoroughness of 
her work she is kept constantly busy. Ciucinnatians are proud of 
their Afro-American lady dentist, and she in every respect proves 
herself worthy of their confidence and admiration. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 227 



CHAPTER LV. 

MARY CHURCH TERRELL, A. B., A. M. 

A daughter of Robert R. Church, a very popular man 
of Tennessee, and a resident of Memphis, Mrs. Terrell, 
at an early age, was sent to Ohio to be educated. She 
graduated from the famous Oberlin College in 1884 with 
the degree of A. B., being the youngest member of her 
class. She has since that time been further honored by 
her Alma Mater with the degree of A. M. In 1891 the 
registrarship of the college was extended to her, which 
honor she declined for private reasons. 

She has, at one time, occupied a place upon the fac- 
ulty of Wilberforce University and has also been con- 
nected with the High School at Washington, D. C. , as 
teacher in the department of modern languages. The 
period from 1888 to 1890, inclusive, was spent in study 
and travel in Europe. 

As a resident pupil in Paris, Berlin and Florence she 
became quite proficient in French, German and Italian, 
and also cultivated herself in the fine arts. Mrs. Terrell 
is a musician of creditable rank and an art critic of dis- 
criminating taste. The Bethel Literary and Historical 
Association, of Washington, D. C. , recently honored 
Mrs. Terrell with the position of president, this being 
the first time this well-known and influential society has 
elected a woman to that position. 

Mrs. Terrell was married to Mr. Robert H. Terrell, a 



228 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



bureau chief of the United States Treasury, in October, 
1891. 

She is evidently a worthy wife and a well-qualified 
helper to her race, having filled many positions of trust 
and honor with great credit to herself. 



CHAPTER LVI. 



MRS. GEORGIE COLLEY. 

Mrs. Georgie Colley was born at Portsmouth, Norfolk 
county, Va. , October 25, 1858; is the older of two daugh- 




MES. GEORGIE COLLEY. 



ters, the only children of her mother. She was educated 
under missionary teachers from the North, all of whom 
were ladies. Chief among them was Miss Julia M. Bart- 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 229 

lett, at one time a teacher in the Wayland vSeminary, 
Washington, D. C, and afterward the principal of the 
Colored Orphan Asyhim of the same city. 

Mrs. Colley was very carefully reared and trained by 
a faithful Christian mother, who spared no pains nor 
means to rear this child to be an honor to the home and 
community, and to be a faithful worker for God when 
converted. 

She was converted at the age of eighteen, under the 
ministry of Rev. E. G. Corprew, who baptized her into 
the Zion Baptist Church, Portsmouth, Va., first Lord's 
day in December, 1876. 

Mrs. Colley grew up in the Sunday-school of Zion 
Baptist Church, and became a teacher in that school at 
the age of fourteen years; was elected teacher of the 
most advanced class of young women in the school; was 
also elected assistant superintendent of the same school, 
which position she held for one year. 

Before the organization of the Virginia Baptist State 
Sunday-school Convention, while the work of Sunday- 
schools w^as reported to the State Convention of Churches, 
Mrs. Colley then, from twelve to fourteen years of age, 
competed for prizes in the conventions, winning the 
second prize in the convention at Lynchburg, Va. , and 
the first prize in the convention at Danville, Va. , for the 
greatest number of scriptural verses, repeated from 
memory, with the fewest mistakes, before "judges" 
apppointed by the Baptist State Convention. The first 
prize was won at Danville, Va. , when she repeated the 
119th Psalm without making a single mistake, several 



230 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

of the judges on this occasion being of the white Bap- 
tist ministers. Rev. Henry Williams, Jr., now pastor 
of the Giffield Baptist Church, Petersburg, Va., pre- 
sented the medal. 

I\Irs. Colley, before she was married, taught public 
schools, holding good certificates from the County Super- 
intendents, teaching five years in Norfolk and Nanse- 
mond counties, Va. 

APPOINTED MISSIONARY TO AFRICA. 

''Miss Georgie'^ became Mrs. W. W. Collev, bv mar- 
riage, November i, 1883, in the Zion Baptist Church, 
Portsmouth, Va. , Rev. C. H. Corey, D. D., President of 
the Richmond Theological Seminary, officiating, assisted 
by the pastor. Rev. J. M. Armistead. A large number 
of ministers were present and took part in this solemn 
service. 

The Foreign Mission Convention of the United States 
had a few weeks before this closed its meeting in the 
First Baptist Church, Manchester, Va., where it was 
voted that Rev. W. W. Colley, the founder of the Col- 
ored Baptist Foreign Mission Convention in America, 
and their mission work in Africa, might take unto him- 
self a wife and be ready to leave for Central Africa, in 
company with other missionaries, to open the Colored 
Baptist Mission in the "Vye" country. 

The subject of this sketch had been duly consulted on 
the question of becoming a wife and a missionary. 

Dr. S. H. Dismond and Mr. J. B. Cable were chosen 
as first and second " best men," and in thirty days from 



I 



WOMEX OP^ DISTINCTION. 2:51 

marriage she was on the Atlantic Ocean sailino- as mis- 

CD O 

sionarv to Central Africa, nnder the Baotist Foreifrn 
Mission Board of the above convention. 

Their union has been blessed with four children, two 
of whom were born in Africa. 

]\Irs. Col ley stood the climate of Africa better than 
any of the six missionaries who went out with her. 

One writer has said that ''A woman's best qualities 
do not reside in her intellect, but in her affections. She 
gives refreshment by her sympathies rather than by her 
knowledge." She enjoyed her work among the heathen 
and they were devoted to her. 

]\Iuch might be said in this sketch that would make 
friends for African missions, but space will not permit. 
The work of the missionary's wife and the unmarried 
woman, as teacher, not only of the Bible, but ever\-thing 
that comes in the line of woman's work, makes woman's 
presence in all heathen lands, as a missionary, as indis- 
pensable as that of the minister of the Gospel. 



CHAPTER LVII. 

MISS ELLA D. SPENCER. 

Ella Spencer was born in New York City, her parents 
being well-known and highly respected residents. From 
a child she possessed an eye for beauty in color and form, 
particularly in birds and flowers, and when as she grew 
older and entered old Grammar School Xo. i, over which 



232 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

presided with gentle rule John Peterson, whose memory 
the children of a decade ago, though clothed in trailing 
skirts and lengthened trousers, revere with touching ten- 
derness, her drawing teacher, Miss Newbery, noted 
with delight her aptness in that direction and devoted 
special attention to developing her very evident talent. 
After leavino- school Miss Newberv, who had become 
not only her guide in drawing but a warm personal friend 
as well, feeling proud of the splendid promise of her 
pupil, registered her name at Cooper Union Art School. 
The first year the class of applicants was so large that 
Miss Spencer was obliged to\yait for the following year. 
Though the authorities of the school did not know the 
young lady was colored, with the exception of a little 
show of surprise her work was so commendable no par- 
ticular attention was paid to her from a prejudiced stand- 
point. Indeed, she was popular from the beginning of 
the term. From the drawing class she passed to that of 
casts, photo-color and crayon, the entire course covering- 
six years. She received her diploma from the hand of 
that grand philanthropist, Peter Cooper, himself From 
the moment she emerged with her treasured testimonial 
she has occupied a proud place in the hearts of New 
Yorkers, where her work is well known and much sought 
after. It is a rare thing to enter a New York home with- 
out finding some specimen from Ella Spencer's brush 
and pencil, and now that her work stands for itself she 
quietly pursues the even tenor of an artist; works con- 
tinuously, almost forgetting the social world around her, 
perfectly happy and contented with the result of her 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCrriON. 233 

labor. And while she is well known as a crayon artist, 
she is kept busiest, especially holiday seasons, decorating 
a miscellaneous assortment of goods, Christmas and 
Easter cards, porcelain placques, fancy cushions, screens, 
plush and velvet draperies, sachets, fancy boxes, mirrors, 
etc. Among the portraits that established her reputa- 
tion are a life-size crayon of Richard Allen, the founder 
of African Methodism, drawn for and exhibited at the 
centennial anniversary of the A. M. K. dispensation held 
in New York at Bethel Church, 1887; a life-size portrait 
of Bishop Dickerson, now in the possession of Mrs. 
W. B. Derrick. Her work is not confined to our people, 
for some time ago she made a fine likeness of Augustus 
Schell, the well-known financier, which was so well liked 
by his family that Mrs. Schell ordered it at a handsome 
price. Ever since she has been working among these 
people, one lady introducing her work to another, in 
such a way as to keep her employed all the time she 
cares to devote to the work. 

Miss Spencer painted for the New Orleans exhibition 
a large water-color, entitled "A Summer Day in Pom- 
peii." The rare delicacy of the work of this one pict- 
ure has been claimed by many to be sufficient to sustain 
the name "Timid Footsteps." "The Alsatian" and a 
portrait of her cousin, all in water-color, are well known 
and admired by all who see them. A short while ago 
Miss Daly, her last teacher, attested her high regard for 
Miss Spencer as an artist by appointing her as her (Miss 
Daly's) assistant at her studio. Unfortunately her 
health, which has never been robust, failed her, and a 



234 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

trusted physician told her she would have to relax her 
labor else serious consequences would follow. About 
that time her mother purchased a commodious dwelling 
in Flushing, Long Island, a pretty rural town seven 
miles out of New York, and after a short rest she is fast 
regaining her health. Not yet in the prime of life, and 
judging by the work already accomplished, there is no 
reason that the race at large should not expect many 
brilliant things from her. She expects to have some 
work represented at the World's Fair. 



WOMEN OF J)ISTIN(;TIOx\. 



235 



CHAPTER LVIIL 



MRS. ULUAN MAY THOMAS. 



Lillian May Thomas was born in the city of Chicago, 
111., in 1857, and was the oldest child of Rev. Byrd 







MRS. i.ILLIAN MAY THOMAS. 



and Jane Jeanetta Parker. When but nine months of 
age her parents removed to the city of Oshkosh, Wis- 



23G WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

cousin. Her father was a man of great native ability 
and a historic character in the story of "Negro Method- 
ism in America," being pastor to Quinn Chapel, 
Chicago, many years ago, followed by pastorates at 
St. Paul's, St. Louis, and Bethel, Indianapolis. Her 
mother was a graduate of the well-known Quaker insti- 
tution of learning, Spiceland University, of Indiana, 
and long before the public school system of Indiana was 
created became the first pay-teacher of the colored 
youth in Indianapolis, afterwards teacher in St. Louis 
and other cities. 

Lillian inlierited to a marked degree her father's con- 
trolling traits of mind and at a very early age gave 
signs that she was the worthy offspring of a superior 
parentage. Her school-days were spent in her adopted 
city of Oshkosh, but she was not permitted to finish 
what from the beginning gave abundant promise to her 
preceptors of being a very brilliant course of study and 
application. Her favorite studies while at school were 
grammar and composition, although not behind the 
average student in all of the English branches. With 
completion of the junior course of the Oshkosh High 
School her days of schooling ended, in a palpable sense, 
by her marriage, which, in lieu of her youth and the 
probable distortion, from a practical stand-point, of a 
brilliant literary career, was regarded by her friends as 
a lamentable incident, but while she was no longer 
found in the school-room, in "reality her studies had 
but just begun, since, from that time to the present, she 
has been a most unflagging delver after knowledge, and 



WOMEN OF I)ISTIN(;TI0N. 'I'M 

a veritable "book-worm" on learning's humid page. 
She early became a creature of luminous ideas and a 
much solicited contributor to that great dissemination 
of public opinion, the weekly and daily press. Among 
the first papers to solicit and publish contributions from 
her pen was the Northwestern^ of Oshkosh, and the 
Evening Wisconsin^ at Milwaukee, at about which time, 
in the event of the United States Supreme Court declar- 
ing the Civil Rights Bill unconstitutional, her column 
and a half article on "The Rights of Colored People," 
or "A Plea for the Negro," which appeared in the 
Northwestern^ secured for her at a leap, as it were, no 
mean place in the galaxy of women writers of either race, 
and distinctive encomiums for her quaint diction and 
rare logical disseminations, an idea of which may be 
gleaned from the following excerpt from the article men- 
tioned above: 

When a man quits his home and goes upon a public street, enters a 
public car or hotel, we say he becomes one of the public and has no 
exclusive right of occupancy. He has no right to sa}- that a man tall 
or short, white or black, shall not receive the same civil treatment as 
himself. This we call a civil right ; and we hold that to be in a car or 
in the same hotel does not make one man society for another any 
more than to occupy the same air makes all birds of one feather. 

And public practice does not accord with this theory, as can be 
readily shown ; for instance, what lady or gentleman would avoid any 
of the first-class hotels upon it becoming known that a Frank James, 
or even a Guiteau, had taken quarters there? And if the propriet}^ of 
their sharing the same roof was questioned they would quickh' say, 
" It is a public house ; we do not call it associating with them," and 
indignantly recoil at the mere mention of these characters as their 
associates. But under precisely the same circumstances when it 
comes to the black man it is called "social equality," and the ques- 
tion arises. Who shall be blamed? If we question the ticket-seller or 



238 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



hotel-keeper they profess to only conform to the wishes of the public 
(meaning white, of course), or, in other words, are governed by the 
spirit of the times, implying that to the American people the negro is 
obnoxious and to insure the prosperity of their business he must be 
excluded. But we ask, is this the sentiment of the people or of a 
few rebel-hearted men who would inflict their outrages under the plea 
of a public necessity? If not, why stand by and with the cr}' of 
"unconstitutional" permit this human wrong to go unmitigated? 
Or, if we accept the theory that the negro is obnoxious, how shall we 
explain his presence in all dining and sleeping cars, in the largest 
hotels in our countr}', and at all pretentious receptions and parties ? 
We have known instances in this city where the presence of the 
negro was so essential to the dignified aspect of entertainments to be 
given that the}' were brought from other cities for the occasion, the 
odium imported. And yet we cannot see why these persons courting 
the approval, in the matter of railways and hotels, of the most 
fastidious public, and in the elegant social gatherings of their most 
esteemed friends, would mar the equilibrium of their guests by hav- 
ing the negro present. 

"But," you say, "we have always considered them invaluable as 
servants, and are willing now as ever to concede to them the highest 
position as menials; it is only when they rise above what we consider 
their natural sphere that we protest — when they w"ould become our 
equals." But we say to you, this is despotism and hardl}^ consonant 
with true American principles. You have adopted as a fundamental doc- 
trine that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights, 
namel}-, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You pity England, 
with her Lords and Commons ; Russia, with its Czar and subject, and 
yet practically acknowledge that \'OU have a people among you 
of American birth whom you consider by God created for your ser- 
vants, your inferiors by nature rather than by condition. We would 
ask also, if not in the land we have enriched with our labor, where 
would you send us that we may enjoy the civil treatment we ask ? 
Would you say to England, France or Ireland, "Though in times of 
oppression in your countries we have afforded your oppressed an 
asylum on American soil, strange to say we have a people among us 
who, because of a color which to us is a badge of inferiority, we 
cannot suffer equal rights with ourselves, and we would ask you to 
take them from us, and give them what they ask " ? And you might 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. '2:>>U 

add, by way of proviso, " If you find them to be possessed of qualities 
which would promote our national welfare you may return them to us 
at such a time as our prejudice shall have abated toward them, but for 
the present we pray you take them from our midst." 

After a lapse of several years, being thrown on her own 
responsibility for maintenance, she came to Indianapolis 
about the year 1885, where she soon attracted the notice 
of the literati of the city and was accorded that consid- 
eration due her intellectual gifts. Being a lady of fine 
voice and attractive personality, through inclination 
coupled with the suggestions of friends, she took a series 
of instructions in the art of elocution under Madams 
Prunk and Lucia Julian Martin respectively. During a 
professional tour extending through six weeks her recep- 
tion was a flattering one, and would have turned a less 
balanced head. In September, 1891, her old love for 
journalistic work asserting itself, she was offered and 
accepted a position on one of the race's great journals. 
The Freeman^ as correspondent editor, feature writer, 
etc. Her " friendly reminders" which appeared weekly 
in that splendid publication dedicated to the women of 
the Afro-American race, have been read wherever the 
negro is found and will be accorded a positive and last- 
ing place among the refined literary creations of her day. 
As a writer Mrs. Thomas' strength lies in her acute and 
very rare power of discrimination and analysis. Pos- 
sessing a keen sense, of what might be termed intel- 
lectual intuition of the eternal fitness of things, she is 
quick to detect the grain and discard the chaff. 

Writing with her is not indulged in for the reason 
urged by the mere literary dilettaiite^ viz., pastime or 



240 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

mental diversion, but for a purpose, and that the Hfting- 
up of her fellow-man, the directing of human thought 
forward, as far as it lies within her power, and onward 
to those idealistic spheres where lofty souls find solace 
and assuagement, and where the coarse and uncanny sel- 
dom confront. In ideas and thought she is original, in 
treatment and application much so, and in order to pre- 
sent in their most invulnerable guise the children of her 
pen's creation she does not hesitate to waive those lit- 
erary rules that intellectual inconsequentials shudder to 
violate and mediocrity pays abject court to. Being a 
most womanly woman, she is, however, the possessor of 
a dual intellectual composition, in that she reflects the 
grasp of the best masculine minds on the one hand, and 
all the sympathy of touch and deftness of treatment of 
gentle woman on the other. A remarkable growing- 
woman, an honor to her race and her sex, and in consid- 
eration of her superior attributes of nature, Pollock's 
lines suggest themselves to our minds, which we quote 
with slight transposition: 

With nature's self, 

She seems an old acquaiutance, 
Free to jest at will, 

With all her glorious majesty, 

•yt Tr -X- -Jf -Jf -<f -/S- ^ 

Then turns, and with the grasshopper. 

That sings its evening song, 
Beneath her feet converses. 




MRS. DELLA IRVING HAYDEN. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 241 

CHAPTER LIX. 

MRS. DEIvIvA IRVING HAYDEN. 

At the close of the Civil War we find the subject of 
our sketch in the town of Tarboro, N. C. , without a 
mother's care, her mother having in the early days of 
the war moved to the Old Dominion. 

In her incipiency she knew the care of none but a 
grandmother, to whom she was devoted with all of the 
devotion a child could bestow. Though separated for 
years by landscape, there continued in the mother's 
breast that love and devotion that are peculiar to her sex; 
hence she returned in search of her lost child in 1865, 
finding her in vigorous health. She, as the shepherd 
doth the lost sheep, took her child upon her breast and 
over rocky steeps and swollen streams wound her way 
back to Virginia. 

As the infant grew she proved to be of a brilliant 
mind, and even when but a child exhibited great tact in 
the management of little folks around her. There being 
no free schools in operation at that day for colored chil- 
dren, she was taught to spell by a white friend who con- 
sented to teach her at the request of her mother. From 
the old Webster spelling-book she made her start, and 
soon learned as far as baker — a great accomplishment in 
those days. After getting a foretaste of an education 
she, then a young miss, became very anxious for an 
education. Free schools were not yet in existence, so 

she entered school seven miles away in Nansemond 
16 



24-2 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

county. This school was under the control of the 
Freednien's Bureau, and taught by a Mr. A. B. Colis, of 
New Jersey. The next year her parents moved from 
Nansemond county to Franklin, Southampton county, 
Va. , where she entered the public school. 

In school she was obedient, docile, kind and punctual, 
Out of school she was the delight of her playmates and 
apparently the life of the school. Early in her life she 
was converted and joined the Baptist Church. As a 
Christian she was a shining light and an ardent worker 
in the cause of Christianity. 

Years and deeds having hastened her near the verge 
of womanhood, she became a faithful teacher and an 
earnest worker in the Sabbath-school, to which work 
she became very much attached. She was secretary for 
Sunday-school and church clerk for several years. 

In 1872 she entered the Hampton Normal and Agri- 
cultural Institute with verv limited means, with none 
to look to but a widowed mother. But she was not too 
proud to do any work assigned her to assist her in pay- 
ing school bills. 

Lapse of years having brought her to womanhood, we 
may now call her Miss Irving. 

During her school-days at Hampton she stood high in 
the esteem of both her school-mates and teachers. In 
her second term in school she made the acquaintance of 
Mrs. G. M. Jones, of Philadelphia, who gave some 
financial aid and has ever since been a warm and devoted 
friend. 

In 1874, Miss Irving (as she was then), having a deter- 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 243 

mined will of her own and hearing- the continual appeal 
of her people to "come over in Macedonia and help us," 
could no longer resist the pitiful cry, and laid down the 
pursuit of her studies, and, with that burning zeal of a 
missionary, laid hold of the work that she had so long 
desired. By so doing she did much to dispel the gloom 
which overshadowed her people, and financially enabled 
herself to resume her studies in 1875. Her first school- 
house was a little log cabin in a section of her own 
countv known as Indian Town. Her first term was 
marked with great success and she filled the first place in 
the hearts of the people among whom she labored. 
There she organized a Sunday-school, for which she 
acted as teacher, chorister and superintendent. So great 
was the love of the people for her that they said they 
didn't believe the county paid her enough for the valua- 
ble services she rendered them, and as a unit came 
together and made up the deficiency as nearly as they 
could, for they thought that currency could not compen- 
sate for the great good and the blessings that she had 
been the means of bestowing upon them. 

Her second term was taught four miles from this place, 
wdiere it was difficult to find a family near the school 
with sufificient room to board a teacher, most of the 
houses having only one room. She was sent to such a 
house to board. This was too much for the young- 
teacher. The people looked upon her as a jewel and 
would do anything to please her, so she called the 
parents together and they willingly united and built 
another room to the house, the teacher furnishing the 
nails. 



244 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Ill 1875 she returned to Hampton Normal and Agri- 
cultural Institute and resumed her studies. 

In 1877 she graduated with honor and was the winner 
of a $20 prize offered to the best original essayist of the 
class. On her return home to resume the work among 
her people, to which she felt so closely espoused, she was 
elected prinicipal of the town public school. Here she 
met with some competition for the position, but energy, 
push and competency always hold sway over all opposi- 
tion, where fair play is granted. She outstripped her 
rivals, and filled the position with credit three years. 

She was looked upon as the spiritual, educational and 
political adviser of her neighborhood for the colored 
people. In the church and Sunday-school she had no 
peer, for both minister and Sunday-school superintend- 
ent sought her advice as to the best means of spiritual- 
izing the church and enlivening the Sunday-school. 

She stands in the ranks among the best educators of 
her race. Through her influence and recommendation 
a great many young men and women have gained admis- 
sion into some of the best institutions of learning in the 
United States. Many of them she assisted financially, 
while in school, from her scanty income, which was a 
sacrifice but a pleasure. Quite a number of them have 
graduated and are filling honorable positions. 

As a politician she was so well informed and could dis- 
cuss so intelligently the public issues of the day that 
in her town, in the campaign of 1884, she was styled 
the politicians' oracle. She, as did Paul, ceased not day 
nor night to warn her people of the danger that awaited 



WOMEN OF 1M8T1NCTJ0N. 245 

them. While teaching she did not fail to practice 
economy, for she saved means to lift a heavy debt off her 
property which she mortgaged to secure means to finish 
her education. 

In 1880 she married Mr. Lindsey Hayden, an accom- 
plished gentleman, who was principal of the public 
school of Iviberty (now Bedford City), Va. Unfortu- 
nately for her Mr. Hayden lived only a few months after 
marriage. During his short illness Mr. Hayden found 
in her every requisite of a true wife and ever his admin- 
istering angel. After the death of her devoted husband 
she resigned the position as first assistant teacher in the 
school in which her husband had so recently been prin- 
cipal and returned to Franklin to live with her widowed 
mother. Notwithstanding all hearts went out in sympa- 
thy for her in her bereavement there was a sort of min- 
gled joy at her return to her old field of labor, since it 
seemed a matter of impossibility to fill her place as a 
worker among her people. In the fall of 1881 she was 
elected again principal of the town school, which posi- 
tion she held for nine years. 

As a temperance worker and lecturer in general the 
United States cannot boast of one more ardent. She 
served three years as president of the Woman's Chris- 
tian Temperance Union and the Home Missionary Soci- 
ety, organized by Mrs. Marriage Allen, the wonderful 
messenger of England, four years as recording secretary of 
the county Sunday-school Union, one year as correspond- 
ing secretary of the Bethany Baptist Sunday-school 
Convention. She has organized a great many temper- 



246 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

ance societies, and hundreds have taken the pledge. 
She is at present president of the Virginia Teachers' 
Temperance Union. 

In 1890 she was elected lady principal of the Virginia 
Norrnal and Collegiate Institute, which position she now 
holds. Says Gen. S. C. Armstrong, Principal of the 
Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute: 

Mrs. Delia Irving Hayden was at Hampton school four years and 
made a most excellent record. We all here, teachers and friends, 
expected a great deal of her, and have not been disappointed. She 
married a noble young man, Mr. Liudsey Hayden, who soon died — a 
great loss. Since her bereavement Mrs. Hayden has devoted herself 
nobh' to her people. We hope she may be spared many years. She is 
among the famous women of her race. 

Says Miss Maggie I. Stevens: 

Mrs. Delia Irving Hayden well deserves the name woman. I was a 
pupil in school under her thirteen years ago. It was through her I 
gained admission into the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. 
It is to her (through the help of God) I owe my success in literary 
attainment. She has no peer as a quick thinker and an earnest worker. 

James H. Johnston, A. M., President of the Virginia 
Normal and Collegiate Institute, says: 

Since Mrs. Hayden 's election as lady-principal of this institution 
she has exhibited unusual tact and ability in the performance of her 
duty, thereby gaining the love and esteem of the students and com- 
mendation of the Board of Visitors. As a temperance worker she has 
been exceedingly active, and has succeeded in getting hundreds of our 
students and teachers of the annual summer session to sign the pledge. 
* * ■''' She does not fail to use her pen and power of speech, which 
she possesses in no ordinary degree, to advance the Master's kingdom. 

Dr. J. F. Bryant, County Superintendent of South- 
ampton county, in speaking of her qualifications as a 
teacher, said: 




MRS. N. A. E. LESLIE. 



WOMEN OF J)]8TJN(TI0N. 247 

Mrs. Delia I. Haydeu taught twelve years in the public schools of 
Southampton to the entire satisfaction of patrons and school officers — 
the most of the time under my supervision. vShe was principal of a 
large graded school in this place. Her executive capacity is of a high 
order, and she manages a school of a hundred or more pupils with as 
much dexterity and ease as most teachers with twenty or twenty-five 
pupils. Her ambition in her chosen profession is unbounded, and she 
never tires. Beginning with a third grade certificate she was enabled 
to attend the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, teaching 
one year and returning to the school the other, until she graduated 
with distinction at that institute. She finally obtained a professional 
certificate, the highest grade, under the public school system, as a 
reward for her perseverance, energy and ability. 

The foreo:oino: statements will grive our readers a faint 
view only of the wonderful and useful life that Mrs. D. I. 
Hayden has lived for years among her people. 

Willis B. Holland, 

Principal of Public School^ Franklin^ Va. 



CHAPTER LX. 



MRS. N. A. R. LESLIE. 



Modest, zealous, aspiring and faithful to duty; eco- 
nomical and yet philanthropic; conservative and kind, 
are traits characteristic of this very devoted laborer in 
the cause of Afro-American education. 

She was born in Amelia county, Va., and is the fourth 
daug-hter of Nannie and Charles P. Coles. She has 
taught school most of her life, beginning with the Eng- 



248 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

lish primary branches, has gone upward from a mere 
teacher of moderate grade to the position of a founder 
and principal of a great enterprise in our educational 
work. 

She labored for some time under appointment of the 
Freedman's Bureau at a time when it took nerve and 
will to teach among our people, for in those days opposi- 
tion to negro education in the South was strong within 
our own ranks as well as without. 

Nevertheless slie began this work in 1865 ^^^ contin- 
ued in the same as long as the government supported and 
continued the schools in the South under its supervision. 
For quite a while she was jointly employed and paid by 
the first public school board in New Orleans and the 
American Missionary Association at a salary of $70 from 
the former and $25 from the latter per month, making a 
salary of $95 per month. She was married to Rev. R. A. 
Leslie in 1874. 

After teaching for some time in the State of Missis- 
sippi they moved to Indian Territory, the native home 
of her husband. They remained there awhile and then 
they returned to Mississippi, soon after which he died, 
April, 1884. She then returned to Indian Territory 
(after spending some time at the Boston Conservatory of 
Music). 

She, now having developed herself along musical lines, 
has done much for her race in giving instructions in 
music. 

The Texas Pioneer^ June 15, 1886, said of her: 

Mrs. N. A. Leslie, of Paris, Texas, is au educated aud accomplished 
lady and a successful teacher of instrume7ital music. 



WOMEN OF DISl^I NOTION. 240 

Mrs. Leslie has a large collection of newspaper clip- 
pings that are very complimentary to her and speak 
wonders of her work for the race. vSpace forbids 
us at this late day to quote many of them. She is 
now located at Corpus Christi, Texas, where she is doing 
a noble work as an educator and a musician. She has 
saved her earnings and is in possession of considerable 
property and cash. Mrs. Leslie is indeed a great woman. 



CHAPTER IvXI. 

MISS ALICE ELIZABETH McEWEN. 

Miss McEwen first saw the dawn of day in Nashville, 
Tenn., July 29, 1870. Her parents were Anderson N. 
and Elizabeth H. McEwen. She was taught the first 
principles of English by her mother. She entered 
Rodger Williams University and doubtless would have 
finished her course here, but moving from Nashville, and 
her parents feeling that better care would be taken of 
her, she entered Spelman Seminary the fall of '85. It 
was also in this year that her first article for publication 
appeared. She was a regular correspondent for the 
Montgomery Herald i^Lom. this time until its editor was 
forced to leave Montgomery. 

Three years little Alice (as she was called) was in 
school trying to fit herself for usefulness. In 1888 she 
graduated from Spelman Seminary, not as a member 



250 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

only of her class, but as the one standing head. Those 
who know her can readily testify to her ability as a 
scholar. Since her graduation she has held prominent 
positions. It has been said of her that "As a scholarly 
woman she has acquitted herself most creditably." 

Her first article, entitled ' ' The Progress of the Negro, ' ' 
excited much comment. From time to time she has 
given the world her ideas through some of our leading 
newspapers. Her subjects have been varied. Among 
her best productions are her graduating oration, "The 
Advantage of Adversity," published in almost all the 
leading newspapers of the South; "Women in Journal- 
ism," a paper read before the National Press Association 
in Washington, D. C. , and "Signs of the Times," a 
paper published in the Freemnn (Christmas, 1891), and 
afterwards published in the Southern Watchman^ of 
Mobile, Ala. 

Aside from a journalist Miss McKwen is a professional 
teacher. Though young she has made a bright record 
in this profession. She has taught in the leading 
schools of Montgomery, Talladega and Huntsville. She 
has given perfect satisfaction wherever she has labored. 
As a scholarly. Christian teacher she stands among the 
first of our country. 

She was elected secretary of Huntsville State Normal 
School last September, which position she held until 
she resigned to accept work elsewhere. 

Miss McEwen is now principal of a large school con- 
ducted by the Odd Fellows at Moss Point, Miss. 

Aside from her work in the school-room Miss McKwen 



W()MP]N OF DISTINCTION. 251 

is pursuing her study in elocution, which course she 
will soon complete. She is also reading- medicine pre- 
paratory to entering- school to finish a course in this 
great profession. In the near future she will become an 
author. She is ascending slowly the ladder of fame. 
She is a reader of the best works and keeps abreast of 
the times. She has many accomplishments that mark 
her a cultured lady. 

May heaven bless her ! The future of few female 
writers is prospectively brighter than that of Miss Alice 
E. McEwen. Her aim as a writer is not for mere 
social attainments, but for the betterment of her people. 



CHAPTER LXH. 

MRS. CHRISTINE S. SMITH. 

Eleven years ago a girl of fifteen summers stood at a 
wash-tub in the kitchen of one of her neighbors in 
Muncie, Indiana. This neighbor, a white lady, was in 
need of some one to do her washing, and she engaged to 
d^ it the subject of our sketch, who lived next door and 
who was attending the city high school. As the girl 
stood at the tub with her bare young arms playing in 
and out of the foaming suds, the lady for whom she was 
working asked what she intended to make of herself. 
The brown-eyed girl, whose complexion was not less 
fair than that of the w^oman for whom she labored, 
quickly responded, "A school-teacher." Some years 



252 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

later this same lady told Miss Shoecraft that she never 
thought she would make a teacher. The gulf between 
the little washer- woman and a school-mar' m was too great 
to be bridged by this young colored girl — so thought her 
once employer. But she has changed her mind since 
she has seen how much Miss Shoecraft has accomplished 
by her indomitable will and strength of purpose. These 
essentials to success are so overshadowed by the womanl^^ 
graces of our subject that even many of her friends fail 
at first to note these sterling qualities. Doubtless a 
short sketch of her life will be an incentive to girls 
who may find themselves surrounded by difficulties that 
rise as walls of adamant between them and long-cher- 
ished desires. Her hio-hest aim in life was to g'et a 
thorough education, and then touch the sleeping heart of 
the masses and set it throbbing with a newer and a bet- 
ter life. 

Miss Christine Shoecraft was born July i, 1866, in 
Indianapolis, Indiana. Her parents were A. R. and Mary 
B. Shoecraft. Her mother died when she was but two 
and a half years old, and the care of the motherless little 
one rested upon her father and grandmother, who, when 
Christine was eight years of age, moved to Muncie, 
Indiana. It was in this city that she received her educa- 
tion, finishing from the high school when seventeen years 
of age. During her last three years in school many dif- 
ficulties barred her pathway. But, nothing daunted, she 
went right on, assisting in the house-work, washing and 
ironing, and at the same time keeping abreast of her 
class. When it came time for her final examinations. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCrj^JON. '2.';:} 



instead of using the intervals between them for cramming, 
she washed and ironed. In this way was tlie money 
earned with which she bought her graduating dress. 
The girlish heart thrilled with genuine joy when she 
received her diploma. She felt a long-cherished hope 
realized. She saw her efforts crowned with success. 
She had grappled with the stern difficulties that stood 
between her and the consumn*iation of her desire, and 
she had conquered. At seventeen years of age she set 
her little bark adrift with no fear of the future. Had 
she not won in that dark, tried past as a girl, and would 
she not win in that as yet untried future as a woman? 
She trusted the Saviour. She learned to love and serve 
Him when she was thirteen years old. Now she went 
forth for battle filled with pure, noble motives, burning 
with pent-up zeal to do something in the world, and to do 
what she could in the awakening of the young minds of 
the race. Has she succeeded? Read her history in the 
school-room and in the A. M. H. Sunday-school Union 
and you will find an answer to your question. Miss 
Shoecraft was offered a lucrative position as assistant 
principal in the State Normal School of Alabama. She 
accepted it. Rev. W. H. Councill, its principal, in 
speaking of her work in connection with the school, 
says : 

"Miss Shoecraft was a success in every particular. 
She gained and holds the hearts of her fellow-teach- 
ers, the students and friends of the institution. She 
is, indeed, not only a born and cultivated teacher, 
but a leader and a commander. She was faithful and 



254 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

competent in any position in which she consented to 
serve, whether in charge of the whole school, or a class, 
or laboring for the people in church or Sunday-school. 
A consistent Christian, she carried an earnestness and 
consecration into her work which would not admit of 
defeat. She kept constantly in view the greatest good 
of those whom she served. She is unquestionably the 
most popular teacher ever connected with the Huntsville 
Normal School. Under the greatest trials she was the 
most composed, and in the darkest hour her womanly 
virtues shone most brilliantly and placed upon her brow 
a halo which called forth the admiration of friend and 
foe. 

"In her dealings with the community, as well as her 
conduct towards her pupils, she lost her self-interest in 
her efforts to serve others, and Fred. Douglass himself 
was never more devoted to the welfare of the race than 
she. 

"As Hamlet said of his father we say of her: 

" ' A combination and a form indeed, 

Where every god did seem to set his seal, 
To give the world assurance of a woman.' " 

She resigned her position in December, 1887, and the 
following year married the distinguished Dr. C. S. 
Smith, Secretary of the A. M. B. Sunday-school Union, 
located at Nashville, Tenn. 

In this age of advancement all avenues are open to 
both colored men and women. But few of our women 
have entered the business arena and by their ability 
proved to the world what a colored woman can do in 



AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 25o 

this line. Mrs. Smith has successfully done this. In 
becoming- the wife of Dr. Smith she allied herself to 
and became -interested in the largest publishing house 
in the world owned and controlled exclusively by col- 
ored people. During her connection with this institu- 
tion she has held, at different times, every position in the 
clerical department — cashier, book-keeper, entry and 
order clerk. For a year she has been the assistant 
manager of the establishment. It is the first time in 
the history of the Union that such an honor has been 
conferred on a woman. At the annual meeting of the 
Board of Managers of the Sunday-school Union, in 
April, 1892, her efficient management was highly com- 
mended. 

In the school-room, in the counting-room, or as man- 
ager of the Union, Mrs. Smith has been conscientious 
in the performance of duty, and has shown marked 
executive ability in every position she has held. Not- 
withstanding the arduous labor in connection with her 
position in the Union she superintends her household 
affairs and devotes not a small portion of her leisure 
moments to her baby boy, C. S., Jr., and to the study 
of art. To-day she is modest, unassuming, kind and 
tender-hearted; a friend to the needy, a pure and noble 
woman, quietly and unostentatiously performing her 
duties as if they were not out of the regular line of 
woman's work. 



256 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

CHAPTER LXIIL 

MISS CIvARA A. HOWARD. 

One of the first eleven daughters of "Spehnan Semi- 
nary," of whom we may say, "They bore the heat and 
burden of the day." When Rev. Quarles had gotten his 
people's brick structure for worship completed he began to 
pray for a school in Atlanta which would be solely for girls 
and women of color. One happy day, while he was on 
his knees praying thus, a rap called him to his feet, and 
at the door of his study he found two God-sent women. 
Misses Packard and Giles, whose hearts longed to do just 
the work for which he had been praying. They told 
him their desire. He told them his story, and added: 
"I have had His promise, 'And it shall come to pass 
that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet 
speaking I will hear.' I w^as just on my knees praying 
for such a school." He then told them that he would 
open his basement to such a school, and do all in his 
power to help them. On the eleventh day of April, 
1 88 1, Spelman Seminary was born in the above-men- 
tioned basement. Few were present, but they mark the 
birthday of an institution to be the Alma Mater of this 
our subject. 

This life began at Greenville, Ga. , January 23, 1866. 
She is the only daughter of King and Mary Ann How- 
ard. The first thing this child astonished her parents in 
was her advanced conduct as a babe; she appeared to 
notice everything about her. The day on which she 



WOMP]N OF J)LSTIN(rri()N. 257 

was eight months old she stood on her feet and walked. 
This was too much for the fond parents to keep to them- 
selves. Their daughter soon showed a disposition to be 
alone, and this gave them much concern, as they feared 
she would grow up to make a selfish woman. At the 
age of six she began her school life, becoming a member 
of the Haines street public school. 

She advanced rapidly as the years rolled on, and after 
four years here entered a private institution known as 
the Staw School of Atlanta. Two years fitted this 
aspiring pupil to enter the well-known Atlanta Univer- 
sity. She was studying at this latter when the above 
ladies arranged with "Father Quarles" to use his church 
basement as a school-room. 

The father of our subject being a deacon in that church 
at his death, the dear widowed mother had brought up 
her sons and daughter faithful to the Church, and they 
had been gathered in while young. "Father Quarles" 
baptized this Daughter of the King in 1881. Miss How- 
ard left the University to take up her studies with ten 
humble pupils in the basement. She advanced as Spel- 
man advanced, and graduated with the first class in the 
history of the school, May, 1887. Being a widow's 
daughter, Miss Howard had to work hard during her 
school-days, even working late at night. Her mother 
and brothers disliked seeing her under such pressure and 
used to urge her to retire with them. Her reply would 
always be, " Do not worry about me; I have an object in 
view, and will have to work to make it; I have to finish 
my education, and will have to work to do it." This 

17 



258 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

great strain told on the strength of our subject. It was 
then arranged that she board in the institution. Here 
she remained a boarder even after her graduation, so 
attached was she to her "Soelman Home. " Before a 
graduate Miss Howard taught at Wodle}-, Ga. Here 
she was very much loved by parents and pupils. As 
teacher in the model school at Spelman she distinguished 
herself as a disciplinarian, as well as an affectionate teacher. 
She was therefore highly recommended to the Board of 
Education of the city of Atlanta for a position in the 
Sommerville Graded School of that city. Here she 
taught with much acceptance until 1890, when she 
offered her resignation to take up work in Africa imme- 
diately. This was the "object in view" of which she 
used to so often speak. When first she told her mother 
what her "object" was the mother laughed her away, 
saying, "You are going to bed, that is where you are 
going. You do not know what you are talking about." 
The devoted daughter would have gone immediately 
after her graduation but for her health. 

April 24th found farewells over and the last preparation 
made for the long journey. On this day she took a joy- 
ful leave of dear ones to begin her long-cherished work 
in Africa. She was assigned to Lukunga Station, where 
she found hundreds already gathered in school and 
church. She took the place as teacher ere she had time 
to begin the study of the language of this hungering 
people. English studies had been begun by some of the 
Lukunga pupils, so it made this immediate beginning 
possible. Along with Miss Gordon she founded the 



WOMEN OF D];STIN(!TI(>X. 250 

Lukunga Seminary, and the two have sole charge of the 
same. Eternity alone will determine the good this con- 
secrated life is doing for this benighted land in lifting np 
its people by the school and by personal pleading for 
their salvation. Her peculiar tact in reaching the hearts 
of children and managing them without apparent effort 
has made it easy for her to reach older people, and thus 
gather from all precious souls which must shine forever 
and ever as the stars. For her we pray a long life in 
which to engage in this work so blessed in its character 
and so glorious in its reward. 

L. C. Fleming. 



CHAPTER LXIV. 

MRS. CARRIE E. SAWYER CARTWRIGHT. 

The life we are now to review is indeed a conspicu- 
ous one. "Some are born oreat; some achieve o-reat- 
ness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. But to 
be truly great is to be truly good." This is a character- 
istic of Mrs. Cartwright, who was born in Pasquotank 
county, North Carolina. Her mother's name was Eme- 
line Sawyer, her father's name Henry Fesson, each tak- 
ing name after their former owners respectively. She was 
among the first young women attending Estey Seminary 
at Shaw University. Shortly after her school life began 
here she had the misfortune of losing her faithful, devo- 
ted mother, leaving a large family of undergrowm chil- 



260 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

dren. This sainted mother requested Carrie to remain 
at home and become mother for her brothers and sisters. 
To most young women, thirsting for an education and 
seeing before them the opened way, having ah'eady begun 
to walk therein, this would have been a great trial. To 
Carrie it was a delight. No sacrifice seemed too dear 
for her to make for those little hearts hanging on hers. 
Plans for their best good engaged her mind the last 
thing at night and the first thing in the morning. The 
father was often conferred with and urged into vigilance 
respecting the welfare of those dear ones. When sick 
they claimed even her time for sleep, so close was her 
vigilance and untiring her efforts to render them com- 
fortable. In 1882, after almost ten years of the above 
service, this faithful woman entered once more Hstey 
Seminary. Like all sensible girls she had been wooed 
and loved, but when she found out that the suitor 
objected to her spending three years more at school to 
complete her course she unselfishly freed him from his 
obligation, at the same time inviting him to seek in some 
one else a helpmeet. It was the good fortune of the 
writer to enter school in the class of '85 alongside her. 
The three years we spent together in the Seminary 
afforded ample opportunity for the writer to see into the 
life of this unselfish soul-winner. Her efforts among the 
unsaved in school were uhtirinof. During: revival efforts 
no soul among the saved was more burdened with the 
salvation of the unsaved than was this earnest one. 
Not only were these needy ones in school the objects of 
the most prayerful attention, but twice a week, in con- 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. '2r>\ 

nection with the city mission work of the Young Women's 
Christian Association in Estey, this devoted woman 
took her Bible and sought the habitations of the poor, 
the sick and the souls in sin and darkness. The city 
Sunday-school knew the power of her influence for Christ. 
When her last examination had been successfully passed 
and she was to be no more amono- the earnest workers of 
the University she was still remembered in the city and 
school. She, in 1883, decided, with the writer, upon 
Africa as the field of her life's work. To this choice 
she remained faithful, and in 1886, when Rev. Cart- 
wright, of Liberia, came to this country seeking volun- 
teers, this waiting daughter of Zion said to the 
Z. A. M. K. Church, ''Here am I; send me." As she 
only answered thus the venerated missionary deemed it 
best to woo her and take her back to share his work. 
Accordingly they were married and sailed for Africa a few 
hours after the ceremony — July 10, 1887. After a voy- 
age of thirty days' duration she set foot on the field 
beside her devoted husband and began on that day the 
work of saving souls in Africa. As in this country the 
church, the day-school, the Sunday-school and individual 
souls alike claim her efforts and prayers. Last year her 
husband returned to this country, but the faithful wife 
stood alone at their post and cried "Behold the Lamb!'' 
Often when he spent the night with his gun in hand 
as a protection to life and property, she felt undisturbed, 
for her heart was bold and brave, never faltering, never 
fearinof never failino-. L. C. Fleming. 



2()2 



A^^(3MEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER LXV. 

HARTSHORN MEMORIAL COLLEGE. 

Hartshorn Memorial College is one of the two insti- 
tutions under Baptist control devoted to the separate 
education of colored young women. This institution is 
located in the city of Richmond, State of Virginia. 
The work of instruction began November 7, 1883. It 
is chartered by the State of Virginia with full collegiate 




"'\ 



HARTSHORN MEMORIAL COLLEGE. 



and university powers, the charter bearing the date of 
March 13, 1884. 

This institution was founded for the secondary and 
collegiate education of young women. . This purpose is 
more fully expressed in the charter as follows: 



WOMEN OF DISTINCJTJON. 2f;:5 

Be it enacted by the Geuerat Assembly, That the following named 
persons, '-^ * ^ with their associates and successors, are hereby 
incorporated under the name and style of the Hartshor?i Memorial 
College, for the purpose of founding and maintaini;ig an institution of 
learning of collegiate grade for the education of young ivomen, to 
give instruction in science, literature and art, in normal, industrial 
and professional branches, and especially in Biblical and Christian 
learning, with such departments, schools and counses of study as the 
trustees shall deem proper and needful, and to confer such literary and 
honorary degrees as are wont to be conferred by colleges and universi- 
ties in the United States. 

Hartshorn Memorial College received its name from 
Deacon Joseph Charles Hartshorn, of Providence, R. I., 
afterwards (at the time of his death) of Newton Centre, 
Mass., by whose benefaction the institution was planted. 
As suggested by the name the institution stands as a 
memorial for Mrs. Rachel Thurber Hartshorn, whose 
death occurred shortly before its founding. The spirit 
in which the school was founded is expressed in the fol- 
lowing mural inscription: 

FOR THE IvOVE OF CHRIST, WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR THE 
REDEMPTION AEIKE OF EVERY RACE, AND 
FOR THE EOVE OF COUNTRY, WHOSE WELFARE DEPENDS UPON THE 
INTELLIGENCE, VIRTUE AND PIETY OF THE LOWLY 
AS WELL AS THE GREAT, AND 
WITH TENDER SYMPATHY FOR A PEOPLE FOR WHOM TILL LATE 
NO DOOR OF HOPE HAS BEEN OPENED AND ASPIRA- 
TION HAS BEEN VAIN, AND 
WITH DESIRE AND HOPE FOR THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE DARK 
CONTINENT, THE FATHERLAND OF THE COLORED RACE, 
IN MEMORY OF HIS SAINTED WIFE, 

RACHEL HARTSHORN, 

THAT HER FAITH AND CHARITY MIGHT BE REPRODUCED AND 

PERPETUATED IN THE LIVES OF MANY, THIS 

INSTITUTION WAS FOUNDED BY 

JOSEPH C. HARTSHORN, 

OF RHODE ISLAND. 



2G4 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Hartshorn Memorial College emphasizes the Christian 
elements in education. It does this for two reasons: 
First. It is believed that the Biblical and Christian 
element renders education better and more complete. 
It makes better and stronger thinkers, and nobler and 
more womanly women. This, and this only, can 
develop character which stands victorious over the 
world. Secondly. The work of lifting up and blessing 
the race must be done by consecrated Christians. It 
will be done by no others. It can be done by no others. 

The institution was founded for women onlv, because 
it is believed that, under the present conditions, separate 
education is better ; that it largely escapes certain diffi- 
culties, and has more advantages than disadvantages. 

The gifts of Mr. Hartshorn, including a bequest of 
fifteen thousand dollars, amounted to . forty-one thou- 
sand dollars. The grounds and buildings are valued at 
forty-five thousand dollars. The bequest referred to, 
with the necessary additional contributions, is expected 
to be used for the erection of another large college 
building. 

The policy of the management is not to multiply 
numbers, but to select and sift, in order that students 
may have the better advantages, and that the best results 
of education may be reached. For this reason, or for 
some other, the normal graduates have been remarkably 
successful. They have made reputation for them- 
selves and for their school, and have shown themselves 
especially devoted to the welfare of their people. 

In the industrial department the young women receive 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. '2C,r, 

such instruction and training as fits them to stand at the 
head of Christian homes — homes which shall be the 
nurseries of thrift, virtue and grace. 

The charge for board, room and tuition is sixty-five 
dollars for the school year. 

The engraving shown above does not now well repre- 
sent the grounds of the institution. The grounds are 
fenced, and are well set with thriftv ornamental and 
shade trees. 

Thus far the institution has had the advantage of 
uniform management under the same administrative 
officers. The president and the lady-principal have been 
with the institution from the beginning. 

The Board of Instruction at this time is as follows: 
Rev. lyYMAN B. Tefft, a. M., President; Miss Carrie 
V. Dyer, Lady-Principal; Miss Lida M. Sutherland, 
Miss H. Amanda Miller, B. S., Mrs. Clara F. Written, 
Mrs. Prof. J. E. Jones, Miss Jennie S. Card. 

In May, 1892, the first college class was graduated, 
receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science. 



CHAPTER LXVI. 

MRS. E. HUGHES BROWN. 

The last quarter of a century has brought many 
changes in the condition of the American people. 
Indeed, it has been an epoch of great strides by the 
majority of the population, of all nationalities that have 



2G6 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

representatives among ns. But in no case has the 
onward march of progress been more generally marked 
than that of the Afro-American people. 

Young men and women have sprung up and taken the 
lead in the affairs of this people as teachers and benefac- 
tors, whose influence and works can scarcely be esti- 
mated. Among our strong, resolute young women is 
Mrs. ly. Hughes Brown, who was born of poor parents 
in the town of Mebanesville, N. C. She had but little 
opportunity for schooling, her mother having been taken 
from her by death while she was yet quite young, and 
leaving seven children to be cared for by this young 
woman. 

The responsibility, though a great one, was well met, 
while at the same time she pursued her studies at home 
as best she could under the circumstances, and so 
advanced as to become able to teach school at a very 
early age. 

In 1 88 1 she entered Scotia Seminary at Concord, 
N. C. , from which she graduated in 1885; after this 
devoting four years to teaching, a part of which time 
she taught in her Abna Mater. 

In 1889 she was married to Rev. David Brown, a 
graduate of Biddle University at Charlotte, N. C. 

In 1890 she matriculated in the Woman's Medical 
College of Philadelphia., where she still pursues her 
studies. 

Her progress, as can be seen at a glance, has been 
steadily forward. She is one of our coming female phy- 
sicians from whom we are to expect great things in the 
future. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 2f)7 



CHAPTER LXVII. 

VERINA H. MORTON, M. D. 

This young physician, to say the least, has many good 
reasons to be proud of her accomplishments and hopeful 
for a bright future. It is quite probable yet that she, 
with her many professional sisters, will hush in silence 
the often and repeated statement that the practice of 
medicine ''tends to destroy the womanly qualities" of 
females who enter the profession as regular practicing 
physicians. The statement is certainly without founda- 
tion when applied to all female physicians. There may 
be exceptions in the cases of both sexes. The excep- 
tions on either side are rare in proportion as prejudice 
recedes and justice comes to the front. 

The Brooklyn Times^ J^ine 27, 1891, had the follow- 
ing to say of our subject: 

Brooklyn's youngest colored physician, Dr. Verina H. Morton, of 
Gold street, graduated in 1888 from the Woman's Medical College of 
Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, the best medical college for women in 
the country. She belongs to the regular school and has been practic- 
ing medicine, until recentl_y, under her maiden name of Harris, in 
Mississippi, where she was resident physician of Rust Universit}^ at 
Holly Springs, and also gave talks on health topics to the industrial 
school connected with the university. She was the first woman physi- 
cian of either color to register in that State. 

She was married last August to Dr. W. A. Morton, also a young col- 
ored physician, who has been in practice a little over a year, and came 
to Brooklyn and registered here this spring. She has made a good 
start already in this city, her very first patient being a German lady. 
She has been surprised at the number of calls she has received in the 



2(hs women of distinction. 

few weeks that have elapsed since she registered. Her husband also is 
doing well; they do not interfere with each other in the least. They 
are a handsome young couple, intelligent and refined looking. 

As Dr. Harris she had good success in Mississippi, where she was 
welcomed by both races. The women of the South, she says, would 
flock to a woman physician. There is a pressing need for educated 
women in the South, not onl}^ to practice medicine, but to teach the 
laws of health, which are there sadly ignored. Even the Southern 
cities are not overstocked with practitioners of either sex. 



CHAPTER LXVIIL 

MRS. ROSETTA E. COAKLEY LAWSON. 

The very acute little girl who grew to womanhood and 
by perseverance has come to the mark of distinction was 
born in King George county, Virginia, and was taken 
by her mother to Washington, D. C. , in 1862 in the 
fifth year of her age, her father having fled for freedom 
when she was only two years old. 

She attended the schools of the District until the plan 
of opening a public high school for colored children was 
completed, when she entered the highest grade in the 
public grammar schools in order to be eligible for admis- 
sion into the high school. She pursued the studies of 
the preparatory high school for two years, and during 
the third year was made assistant to the principal of the 
grammar schools from which she had been transferred. 
Her services seemed to be satisfactory in this position, 
for in less than five months she was promoted to the 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 2(>0 

charge of a school with an increase of $15 per month in 
salary. The work in the office of the General Snperin- 
tendent being very bnrdensome, in reviewing each teach- 
er's record-book for the year so as to insure accurate sta- 
tistics, many of the best teachers were detailed at the end 
of each year to assist in this work. In 1873, Miss Coak- 
ley was among the number thus chosen, and her effi- 
ciency and fondness for the work so pleased the Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction that he asked the Board of 
Trustees to detail her ui definitely for clerical work in his 
office. His request was unhesitatingly granted, and she 
served in the Superintendent's office for twelve long 
years, and severed her connection with the public schools 
of the District of Columbia at the close of the school 
year in June, 1885. The opportunity for meeting peo- 
ple from every land and clime while acting as assistant 
to the Superintendent of the Public Schools for twelve 
years w^as great and did much to broaden her ideas of 
life and of men as well as of ivomeii. The cares of a 
home to be maintained for an aged mother and a still 
more aged grandmother rendered it quite hard for her to 
let go the hold which she had upon the then incoming 
salary which she was then earning that she might con- 
tinue her studies. Many a time she resolved to borrow 
sufficient money to keep herself in school and at the 
same time keep her home going. But Ben Frank- 
lin's "He who goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing," 
which she had been taught during her tender years, 
deterred her. 

But the Chautauqua idea caught her attention, and 



270 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

from 1880 to the close of 1884 she pursued the course 
prescribed for the C. L. S. C. She went to Chautauqua, 
N. Y. , and was graduated with the class of 1884, other- 
wise known as the ^^ Irrepressibles^ During her single 
life she was activ^e in both church and Sunday-school 
work. Since her marriage to Mr. Jesse Lawson, of 
Plainfield, N. J., she has devoted her time almost entirely 
to the domestic cares, which have left her no time for 
purely literary work. Nevertheless she has ever been 
faithful to the cause of temperance, to which she still 
clings with a fondness and patience characteristic of a 
member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. 
Mrs. Lawson may be regarded as one thoroughly alive 
to the needs of the race. She is full of holy race pride^ 
and is ever read)' to lend a helping hand to any effort 
that has in view the elevation of the Afro- American and 
the betterment of the condition of mankind. To say 
that she is liberal, wise, kind, prudent and just is to tell 
only a part of her good traits. 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

MRS. C. C. STUMM— MRS. LUCINDA BRAGG 
ADAMS— MRS. LAVINIA B. SNEED. 

Mrs. C. C. Stumm, now of Philadelphia, Pa., was 
born in Boyle county, Ky. , March 25, 1857, being the 
immediate descendant of Thomas and Elizabeth Pen- 
man. Having spent two years of hard study at Berea 



WOMEN OK J)JSTJNCT10N. 271 

College, she has since taught as an employed teacher in 
Hearn Academy, in Texas, and Bowling Green Acad- 
emy, in Kentucky, in both of which her efforts were 
successful. She has contributed to several of our Afro- 
American newspapers in the North and in the vSouth. 
She is a good writer, producing such thoughts as are 
interesting and instructive. She has lived in Boston, 
and is now the wife of Rev. Mr. Stunim, of Philadel- 
phia. 

Mrs. LuciNDA Bragg Adams is the very able daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. George F. Bragg, of Petersburg, Va. 
Mrs. IvUcinda B. Adams is on the editorial staff of the 
Musical Messenger^ as assistant of Miss A. L. Tilghman. 
Mrs. Adams is well up in music and highly thought of 
and beloved in musical circles. She is able as a writer 
and has done considerable writing for the various Afro- 
American papers. 

Mrs. lyAviNiA B. Sneed is a lady of considerable power 
with the pen; an able and pleasing thinker. Born in 
Nev7 Orleans, La., May 15, 1867, but was educated in 
Kentucky, in the city of Louisville, where she graduated, 
as valedictorian of the class of 1887, from State Univer- 
sity, receiving the degree of iV. B. 

In 1888 she became the efficient wife of Prof. Sneed, 
with whom she has since lived in much happiness. 

She is an elocutionist of acknowledged ability, and is 
also an attractive singer. 



172 WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER LXX. 

MISS META E. PEEHAM. 

This young lady, though born in Virginia, went with 
her parents to Detroit and was there educated in the city 
schools, from which she graduated at the head of her 
class of more than fifty pupils, there being only four of 
Afro-i\merican birth. This is certainly one instance in 
which co-education of the races was treated with fair- 
ness (at least in this respect), as is always a very noted 
feature of the management of the schools in Detroit. 
She then entered Fenton College, in Michigan also, and 
took a normal course. As her health was not robust 
she did not teach school very long, but entered upon a 
most encouraging and successful career in connection 
with the Plain Dealer^ which marked the beginning of 
her newspaper work. Mr. Penn, in " Afro- American 
Press," says of her: 

She is a woman of most excellent traits of character and has a pro- 
lific and productive brain. Miss Pelham is not so well known as 
many lady writers of less ability, because, in her entire writings, she 
has used no nom de plume or signature. 

The Plain Dealer of May, 1888, speaks of her in the 
following very complimentary terms: 

Since the inception of the Plain Dealer the influence of woman has 
sustained it in adversity; the product of her mind has given lustre to 
its columns, and now, more than ever, much of its success, in the 
character of its productions, is due to her. To Miss Meta Pelham is 
due the credit of this aid, who has always taken an active interest in 



AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 27:\ 

the paper and often contributed to its columns. I'or the past two 
years she has become one of its essentials in the office, and she devotes 
her whole time to the work. She was among the first Afro-American 
graduates from our high school, and subsequently took a normal 
course at the Fenton Normal School. She also spent several years 
teaching in the South until newspaper allurements became more 
tempting. Her idea of a newspaper is that it should be metropolitan 
in character, deal in live issues, and de reliable. 

Her career is worthy of consideration in this book. 



CHAPTER LXXL 

MRS. RACHEL M. WASHINGTON. 

This is one of the many ladies of whom Boston may 
well be proud. Graduating from the New England 
Conservatory of Music, she has ever been active as an 
instructor to the young with whom she came in con- 
tact, as well as an earnest searcher after knowledge in 
the line of her chosen profession. It is said that she has 
possibly done more to cultivate a love and admiration 
for music among the prominent citizens of Boston than 
any other one person. 

The following lines are taken from a letter written by 
her to a friend: 

As I read the lives of the great composers, and think of their sacred 
devotion to the art dearer to them than their own lives, I feel anxious 
for the time to come in our history when a child like Mozart shall be 
born with soul full of bright melodies; or a Beethoven, with his depth 
and tenderness of feeling; or a Handel, lifting us above this earth until 

18 



274 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

we shall hear the iiiiiltitude of voices joining in one vast song — 
"Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!" Nor is this 
impossible. Our history, it seems to me, has but just begun. All the 
past is but sorrow and gloom, and here and there a bright ray to bid us 
hope. ""■ * '••■ I hope they (the colored youth of the country) will 
early develop a love and taste for the beautiful in musical art; that 
soon we shall be proud to mention those whose names, through their 
works, shall be immortal. 

This extract is sufficient proof of her strong, active 
mind and soul full of love for her race and the beautiful 
in musical art. 



CHAPTER IvXXII. 

ARTISHIA GARCIA GILBERT, A. B., A. M. 

Situated among- the "foot-hills" of the Cumberland 
Mountains is the quaint little town of Manchester, Ky. , 
where, in a little log cabin, was born, on the 2d day of 
Jutie, 1868, the subject about whom we propose to write 
this sketch. Her parents, William and Amanda Gilbert, 
were farmers, and were, like many of their race in those 
days, poorly prepared to educate the little ones. 

In Artishia Garcia was a growing inclination and love 
for books, and although too young to be enrolled as a 
pupil in the county school yet shp daily went with the 
school-teacher to and from school, where she remembered 
much that she heard, and soon could spell and read; 
hence from her association she was given the name of 
"little teacher" by the pupils. In this way she was 
soon able to help the pupils prepare their lessons. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. -^Tr, 

Her father, having no settled place of abode, moved 
from one mining district to another for six years. During 
this time this little girl learned all that she could from 
contact with the teachers wherever she went, and became 
so cautious that at four years of age she was often sent 
alone with a pocket-book two miles to purchase necessa- 
ries at store. In 1878 her parents moved to Louisville, 
Ky. Here this child entered the public schools, where 
she remained three years. In September, 1881, she 
became a Christian, and entered the vState University, 
then known as the Normal and Theolooical Institute, 
nnder the presidency of Rev. William J. Simmons, D. D. 
After spending four years in the nornial department she 
graduated May 13, 1885. 

During this time she worked in and out of school, at 
odd times, wherever she conld get work, to earn some- 
thing to help her mother pay school bills. In the mean- 
time she had united with the Green Street Baptist 
Church, of Louisville, Ky. Artishia has always been 
faithful to the Sunday-school, to which she owes much 
of her spiritual strength. She taught a class when so 
small she had to stand npon the benches to see all of her 
class. 

The temptations to lucrative positions kept her from 
entering the college department for awhile, but finally 
she decided and did so. In 1889 she graduated as vale- 
dictorian from the University proper, with the degree of 
A. B. She then became editor of a magazine, IVoiJicfi 
and Children^ which position she gave np to take a chair 
as teacher in State University, her Alma Mater, as 



27() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

instructor in English and Greek grammar, and also acted 
as secretary of the faculty. She has traveled and lectured 
throughout the State, under the Woman's Baptist Edu- 
cational Convention, as State agent and otherwise; has 
served several years on the Board of Directors of the 
Colored Orphans' Home and as assistant matron of State 
Universit3\ She has been upon the programmes of some of 
the largest meetings held in the South; is a good writer; 
is interested in both home and foreign missions. She 
is president of three large organizations in the State; 
has several times been a representative at the National 
Baptist meetings. She is now a member of the senior class 
in the Louisville National Medical College. She has 
saved her earnings and owns property. She advocates 
the right of woman to engage in any sphere of life. She 
has not forgotten her mother's help when in school. She 
is an example of piety and good works ; a lover of her race ; 
a coming power for a long neglected people as a leader 
and benefactor. She has recently received the degree of 
A. M. in course. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCHMON. 



11 i 



CHAPTER LXXIII. 



MARY E. LEE, B. S. 

Mrs. Mary E. Lee, Jiee Ashe, daughter of Simon S. 
and Adelia M. Ashe, was born in Mobile, Alabama, 
January 12, 185 1. 

Her parents were in good circumstances and her 
father was prominent in business and benevolence among 




MARY E. LEE, B. S. 

colored people. In i860 he purchased a farm in Ohio, 
in the vicinity of Wilberforce University, where he set- 
tled and schooled his children. 

The subject of this sketch graduated in the scientific 
department of said institution in 1873, with Misses 
Mary E. Davis, Julia A. Shorter, Hallie O. Brown, and 



278 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Messrs. Alexander D. Delaney and Samuel T. Mitchell, 
receiving the degree of B. S. She distinguished her- 
self on several occasions by displaying a more than 
ordinary mind in essays and poems during her course of 
studies at the university, and was appointed and wrote a 
class ode, the first in the history of Wilberforce gradu- 
ating classes. After graduation she taught in the pub- 
lic schools of Galveston, Texas, having previously taught 
two years in the city of Mobile, Alabama. 

Miss Ashe was a successful teacher in both secular 
and Sunday-schools. On the 30th of December, 1873, 
she was married to Benjamin F. Lee, Professor of Pas- 
toral Theology, Wilberforce University, afterward presi- 
dent of that institution, now Bishop of the ^. M. E. 
Church. The severities of the life of the wife of a 
Methodist preacher, as well as that of a professor in a 
college, and the life of six children, have been great 
tests of the strong character of Mrs. Lee, but she has 
proven equal to the rigorous demands, and is rewarded 
by the pleasure of observing the steady development of 
an interestino- familv and beino- a colleo-e m-aduate wife 
of an African Methodist Bishop. 

She has contributed several articles to the columns of 
the Christian Recorder and the A. M. E. Quarterly 
Review^ and at present edits the "King's Daughters' 
Column" in Riitgwood'' s Journal^ a fashion paper, 
published by Mrs. Julia Ringwood Coston, Cleveland, 
Ohio. 

Among the writings of Mrs. Lee may be mentioned 
^'Afmerica," a poem that has been copied extensively. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 279 

The following verses from the composition must take a 
creditable place in American verse: 

Afmerica ! her home is here ! 

She wants nor knows no other home ; 
No other lands, nor far nor near, 

Can charm or tempt her thence to roam. 
Her ancestors, like all the rest. 

Came from the Eastern Hemisphere, 
But she is native of the West ; 

She'll lend a hand to Africa, 
And in her elevation aid. 

But here in brave America, 
Her home — her only home — is made ; 

No one has power to send her hence ; 

This home was planned by Providence. 

From her ''Voice of the Zephyrs," written while 
still in college and just in her teens, which, like her 
"Afmerica," is addressed to the African race, the follow- 
ing is quoted: 

Hark ! sweeping o'er spicy plains and streams 

Of Africa's sunlit shores the balmy breath 

Of zephyrs comes, all fragrant with glad, 

A joyous song, like some ^^olian harp, 

Whose strings are dripping v»ith the sweets 1)lown 

From the bosom of a thousand flowers rare. 

In deepest silence, low I bow to catch 

The blissful words wafted in these accents soft : 

"Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands to God, 

Her wilderness shall bloom into the land, 

The lovely bridal land of Beulah, fair 

As Queen of Sheba shall she be adorned. 

Her head shall be filled with the wisdom of 

King Solomon, her heart shall overflow 

With beauty to all humanity ; 

Then nations shall look up to see her face." 

Amen ! Blow on, ye winged zephyrs, blow! 

Until you bring about the promised time. 



280 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Doubtless had fortune favored Mrs. Lee with requisite 
leisure and more robust health she would be reckoned 
one of the writers of this country. 

In the city of Philadelphia Mrs. Lee is identified with 
the Ladies' Christian Union Association, the W. C. T. U. , 
and the King's Daughters, also the Women's Mite 
Missionary Society. In the Afro-American Press Asso- 
ciation " meeting of 1892 Mrs. Lee represented the 
Ringwood Joiirjial and was elected vice-president of the 
organization. 

Were all the facts mentioned, here wanting, the pecu- 
liar womanly spirit, the elevated and the positive per- 
sonal character of Mrs. Mary E. Lee, would constitute 
her a worthy subject for the study of young Afro-Ameri- 
can women. Every one who knows her bears witness to 
her sterling qualities and fine sense of proprieties. By 
the request of her friends she expects to publish a book 
of poems. This book will, no doubt, be looked for and 
read with great interest by our aspiring young women. 



CHAPTER LXXIV. 

MRS. VIRGINIA E. M. HUNT SCOTT. 

The lady under whose name this narrative appears was 
born in New York City, August 26, 1861, the daughter 
of Holloway W. and Mary P^ebecca Hunt, both of whom 
were born in Newark, N. J., and moved to New York 
some time prior to the advent of their daughter. 



WOMEN OF DLSTJNCTIOX. 281 

Her father has been entirely deprived of tlic nse of 
both eyes for more than thirty years, and possibly has 
gazed but little, if at all, upon his child of whom we 
now write. He has been in the employment of Trinity 
Chapel twenty-six years notwithstanding- his physical 
defect. When she was about fifteen years old her 
mother, whose tender care a child most needs, was sud- 
denly taken from her bv death. Virg^inia was for some 
time a pupil under Prof Charles h- Reason, and was in 
the graduating class when her mother died. 

Having to assume the duties of housekeeper for her 
father (who was blind), she was compelled to leave school 
before finishing, and was his only domestic dependence 
up to the time of her marriage, February 21, 1889. 
During this period she continued a fondness for music, 
having taken her first lessons at the age of nine years 
under Madam Magnan, who taught her with much suc- 
cess. Her second teacher was Miss Blanche D. Wash- 
ington, whose instruction she received for seven or eight 
years, making most wonderful progress. There can be 
no question but that she owes much of her success to 
Miss Washington. 

In 1 88 1 she gave a concert of amateur performers 
which was a success in every way and greatly com- 
mented upon by the public, the proceeds of which were 
used in continuing her musical education. 

After this lengthy course of private instruction she 
entered the New York Conservatory of Music, where two 
years were devoted to the organ with much success; also 
received instruction upon the piano, and in the mean- 



282 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

time played for concerts and regularly for one church. 
She also taught music as early as her sixteenth year. 
She has been organist at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church for 
over ten years, where she plays a very fine and powerful 
origan of modern make for the laro:est colored cono-reg^a- 
tion in New York City. The history of the church for 
which she plays, as well as that of herself, points out 
very remarkable instances of Afro- American progress. 

About eight years ago (1884) she entered a piano con- 
test with Miss Minnie St. Clair and Miss Viola Townes 
(now Mrs. Pilkington) for a gold watch. All three of 
these ladies occupied high rank in musical circles and 
were well prepared for the contest. However, after 
mature consideration, judgment was rendered in favor of 
Miss Virginia E. M. Hunt (Scott), to whom was awarded 
the prize. 

In 1885 she attended the renowned Dr. Palmer's Cho- 
ral Union, where she was the only colored participant in 
a class of between two and three hundred singers. 

She is still rising in eminence as a public performer, 
and is doing much to elevate her race by teaching others 
to skillfully manipulate instrumental keys. 

Beginning life in humble circumstances, with all the 
discouragements that beset her pathway, she now stands 
hio^h in the estimation of the verv lar^e church which 
she still serves and of which she is now a member, 
reflecting credit upon the race, and at the same time 
affording a living example of the possibilities, for those 
upon whose childhood it may seem that fortune has not 
smiled. 




MRS. ROSA D. BOWSER. 



WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 28:i 



CHAPTER LXXV. 

MRS. ROSA D. BOWSER. 

On their arrival in the South the teachers from the 
North found an almost impenetrable wilderness of igno- 
rance-. Only here and there could be found a colored 
family with a single member able to read. Wherever 
this was true it was a mark of superior natural intelli- 
gence, for with the stringent laws prohibiting the negro 
from reading he must be no ordinary man who would 
run the awful risk of being found with a book in his 
hand. Of such parents was the subject of our sketch 
born. Henry Dixon, a cabinet maker by trade, and a 
native of Amelia county, was no ordinar)' man, and his 
daughter, Rosa, whom he brought with him to Rich- 
mond when only a wee tot, inherited from him in larger 
measure, perhaps, than from her noble mother the traits 
of character that have distinguished her career. Obedi- 
ent, thoughtful and quick to understand, it was not long 
before her teachers were. convinced that she would be no 
mean leader of her people. With systematic training it 
was not many years before she was thought competent to 
take charge of a school in her adopted city. Having 
passed creditable examinations and received her sheep- 
skin from the Richmond Normal and High School, then 
in charge of Prof. R. M. Manly, she was elected by the 
Richmond School Board to teach in the Navy Hill group, 
of which Miss M. E. Knowles, of Massachusetts, was 
principal. This was at this time, and until 1883, the 



284 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

only group in which the teachers were colored. Her 
election was a special honor, for, although there were 
many more colored schools, the Board expressed the 
opinion that they could not secure competent teachers to 
fill them. 

Possessing, as she did even in these youthful days, stern 
integrity, invincible purpose and a will strong to com- 
mand, traits of character more frequently sought in the 
other sex, she has not been troubled with the question 
of discipline as most teachers are. But with this appar- 
ent sternness Mrs. Bowser possesses a tender heart, which 
always pulsates with sympathy for the anxious inquirer 
after knowledge and for the distressed of whatever creed 
or nationality. Her boys and girls, who can be num- 
bered by the hundreds, would gladly unite in this testi- 
monial to her ability as a teacher and to her warmth of 
heart as a friend. She did not, like many school-teach- 
ers, as soon as elected content herself with pursuing the 
rut of only her daily routine work in school, but each 
evening found her either learning more about her pro- 
fession, reading for the sake of culture, pursuing some 
new art or perfecting herself in some new accomplish- 
ment. That same determination to succeed which char- 
acterized her earlv efforts has run throuo'h all her later 
attempts. Any one who has conversed with Mrs. Bowser 
for half an hour will be convinced of the first and second 
statements, and you have only to spend an evening in 
her cultured home to be assured of the third and fourth. 
A well-selected and carefully read library graces her 
parlor. Specimens of her fine laces, fancy needle- work 



WOMEN OF DIS^riNOTIOX. '1H:> 

and wax flowers will be shown at yonr request, and the 
calls of a nnmber of music pupils will evidence that she 
has a name as a musician. 

From what has been said one might suppose that the 
subject of our sketch was so engrossed with her profes- 
sional and other duties that there was no time for the 
exercise of the tender passion, but not so; she possesses 
a woman's heart which, like the lyre, answered to the 
gentle touch of James H. Bowser, Esq., a former school- 
mate, a native of Richmond, scholarly, refined and 
worthy. Her industry, versatility and good sense, as 
witnessed by him on various occasions, commended her 
more highly than all the praises of her friends. Having 
taught school with marked success seven years, the knot 
which made them one was tied in the simplest possible 
style. Ostentation, so objectionable to them, was not 
indulged on this occasion, not because of inability (for 
they were both possessed of considerable means), but 
because their good judgment dictated otherwise. Though 
a happy one, their married life w^as short. Scarcely two 
years had passed before he was called to his reward, 
beloved by his friends and respected and honored by all 
who knew him for his bright intellect, sterling good 
qualities and Christian character. 

I need not say that Mrs. Bowser was given up with 
reluctance when her resignation was handed in to the 
School Board. The following testimonial from her for- 
mer teacher is, perhaps, not out of place at this point: 

Mrs. Rosa D. Bowser graduated with honor from the Normal School 
while it was under my charge, and then, with others, was a member of 
an "ex-senior" class, and pursued more advanced studies for one 



286 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

year under 1113- own iiistrnctioii. She was always a studious, faithful 
and intelligent scholar, her character always above criticism, and her 
deportment marked by a dignity, sobriety and respectfulness not com- 
mon with girls of her age. She had a very successful experience as 
teacher in the service of the city, and should she wish to teach again I 
recommend her to you with entire confidence that she would do her 
work not only faithfull}^, but wisel}- and with the approval of yourself 
and School Board. Very respectfully, R. M. Manly. 

Testimonials of a similar nature were written by the 
Superintendent of Schools, Col. E. M. Garnett, by his 
predecessor, Prof J. H. Peay, and by Miss M. E. 
Knowles and Messrs. H. G. Carlton and T. P. Crump, 
who had been her principals. With such indorsements 
as these it is not surprising that in a short while after the 
death of her husband she was again called to a teacher's 
place. She has since served nine years. 

In all that concerns the best interests of her people 
Mrs. Bowser has taken an active part. She was an 
earnest member and supporter of the first colored educa- 
tional society of Virginia, of which Prof J. W. Crom- 
well, of Washington, was President. As teacher in the 
Peabody Normal Institute held at Eynchburg, Va. , in 
1887, under President J. H. Johnston, she added no little 
to its success bv her excellent work as teacher of the 
model class. It is hardly necessary to say that she 
became a Christian in early childhood and that her life 
has been a true exponent of her profession. As a teacher 
in the Sunday-school she has on more than one occasion 
represented her school in the State Conventions. In the 
Ladies' Auxiliary of the Young Men's Christian Asso- 
ciation, in missionary societies, in local literary societies, 
as president of the Woman's Educational Convention of 



WOMKN OF DISTINCTION. 287 

Ricliiuond, of the Normal vSchool alumni^ she has been 
ever active. To lier ability as teacher and organizer 
may be attributed her election as president of the vState 
Teachers' Association of Virginia, which she has held 
for two years, notwithstanding this has, perhaps, more 
active, progressive educators than any other in the State. 

I should not fail to mention that as manager of the 
Woman's Department of the Colored Fairs held in 1891 
and 1892 in Virginia and in 1892 in West Virginia she 
succeeded in making these not only the most attractive 
departments, but demonstrative of far more skill among 
our women than even they dreamed of. 

Thus far a truly useful career. May she be spared 
many more years to help in these various progressive 
movements. James H. Johnston. 



CHAPTER LXXVL 

MRS. M. R. RODGERS WEBB. 

While we are searching this country for distinguished 
women of Afro-x\merican descent we may also turn our 
eyes to the "islands of the sea," for out of them also 
there shall come some good material for this temple we 
are laboring to build. 

Out of Jamaica, B. W. I., comes Mrs. Rodgers Webb, 
who has labored in America for many years, spending 
more than seventeen years in Texas alone. Born of 



288 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

English parentage mainly, she has labored among the 
women of the race as lecturer^ missionary^ preacher and 
teacher; has for a number of years been a newspaper 
correspondent, and is at present associate editor of the 
Texas Reformer; has traveled extensively in the State, 
lecturing and visiting more than one hundred and fifty 
towns, cities and villages. She is well known by lead- 
ing Afro- American gentlemen of four States, who speak 
in praiseworthy terms of her work. Some of the sub- 
jects upon which she has spent much time, patience and 
energy, as a lecturer, are as follows: "An Eye-opener 
to the True Causes of the Unpleasant Condition of the 
Colored People," "What Best Helps to Character- 
making." 

Mrs. Webb has, no doubt, done much good in her 
chosen field of labor. She seems to delight in present- 
ing the truth from the public rostrum. 

The following are some newspaper clippings and gen- 
eral notices of her, which we subjoin with pleasure: 

Mrs. M. R. Rodgers Webb we found very intelligent, broad-gauged, 
liberal and thoroughly posted — a woman of literary attainments. — 
Texarkana Daily Tunes, Texas, June 20, i88g. 

Mrs. Webb, of superior ability, has given great thought to the con- 
dition of the colored race; means and methods to elevate it; pre- 
sents valuable suggestions and arguments. — The Southwestern Repub- 
lican, Texarkana, Ark., June 2g, i88g. 

More than ordinary literary ability. — Interstate News, Texarkana, 
Texas. 

Hardly ever have we been more profitably entertained than in listen- 
ing to this gifted woman — the most sensible and unique expositions ; 
eloquent, earnest, pleasing talker. — The Bulletin, Birmingham, Ala., 
December 2g, i88g. 



WOMEN OF DLSTINOTIOX. 289 

Greatly benefited by series of lectures here. Mrs. Webb has 
closely observed, has taken a keen insight into needs and hindrances 
of our people. They will certainly be greatly profited. — Rev. I. B. 
Scott, P. E. of the M. E. Church of Marshalt, Texas, taken from 
Southwestern Christian Advocate of fanuary 2, iSgo. 

Mrs. Webb lectured in my church and others, to our great satisfac- 
tion. Talks interesting and full of valuable information. We recom- 
mend her as a lady of culture, worthy of acceptation. — Fred. H. Wit- 
kins, Pastor Bethesda Baptist Church, Marshall. Texas. 

Mrs. Webb's lectures are among the substantial philosophy of prac- 
tical and common things ; recommend her intellectual worth ; will be 
found among continued and advanced thought to bless her memory. — 
Rev. H. S. McMillan, Pastor Ebenezer M. E. Chinch, Marshall, 
Texas. 

Mrs. Webb has done effective work in all churches of this city for a 
month. Lecture expresses the real situation of the negro in a nut- 
shell ; awakens deepest thought.— AV27. W. R. Pettiford, Sixteenth 
Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala., and President of State 
Baptist Association. 



CHAPTER LXXVIL 

MRS. ADA A. COOPER. 

This acute little lady was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., 
February 6, 1861. She is the daughter of Rev. .A. H. 
Newton and a granddaughter of Robert Hamilton, who 
was a strong Abolitionist. At a very early age she mani- 
fested a desire for books, and before she was five years 
old she could read and write a little. At the age of 
eight years she was astonishingly brilliant, both in her 
studies in school and in music; was always apt and 

19 



290 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

could speak from the lostriiin with much ease aud readi- 
ness. x\t the aoe of fourteen she wrote a storv that was 
much praised by her teacher. Her mother having died 
when Ada was only seven years old, she remained with 
her grandmother until fifteen, when she went to her 
father, who was then in charge of the A. M. E. Church 
at Little Rock, Ark. Still desiring to be somebody and 
to do something to help forward the cause of humanity 
and civilization, she continued in study with an earnest- 
ness that was simply surprising. She wrote another 
story, "The Bride of Death," when only fifteen years 
old. Remainino- in Arkansas one and a half vears, she 
went to New Orleans and spent one year; then going to 
Raleigh, N. C, with her father and step-mother, she 
entered Shaw University. Being a very poor^ mother- 
less girl, she could not dress herself as did the girls in 
her department, and, as a result, she was often held in 
ridicule by those who could do better. They often referred 
to her shabby dress and plain clothing in such a way as 
to try her very soiil^\\.\\. vexation. However, she was only 
stimulated to greater effort, knowing that a zvell-citlti- 
vated brain was far more ornamental and useful than 
fine dress. She pushed her way on and on until she 
was recognized as without an equal in her class in elocu- 
tion and composition, being only seventeen. At the 
age of eighteen her story, "The Bride of Death," was 
published in the North Carolina Republican^ edited by 
William V. Turner. This called forth many congratu- 
lations from the reading public. Owing to circum- 
stances she did not remain in the institution to graduate, 



WOMEN OF DISTINUHMOX. 21)1 

having spent three years there, during whicli she sup- 
ported herself by teaching, etc. 

Returning to Brooklyn, she remained awhile and then 
went to Newbern, N. C. It was while at this town 
(last named) she was called upon by a committee to read 
the poem on emancipation celebration day. She accepted 
the invitation, but afterwards remembering that she had 
not a decent dress to zvear. what to do was the Question. 
Finally she succeeded in borrowing a dress of a friend. 
This necessity so humiliated the girl of tender years 
that she resolved that since she was compelled by neces- 
sity to read in a borrowed dress she would not (as was 
the custom) read a borrowed poem. She set to work and 
made a poem from her own original brain and read it 
upon the occasion mentioned. It so stirred the people 
that it yet lives in the memory of many who heard it. 

Some time was spent in teaching school throughout 
North Carolina at various points. She then came to 
Raleigh, N. C. , and was married to Mr. William R. Harris, 
to whom she had been engaged for six or seven years, 
and who was, at the time of marriage, a teacher in 
St. Augustine Normal School. Just eight months after 
this happy union she was left a widow. 

After the death of her husband she taught one year 
in St. Augustine Normal School, and from there 
accepted a position in the city graded schools of Raleigh, 
and at the same time edited the "Woman's Colunur' in 
the Outlook. Now health at this time fails, and a hos- 
pital operation is the only very slight hope. Death 
stares her in the face, for the chances were that she 



292 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

might die ere the operation was completed. She decided 
to trv and did withstand the keen blade of the surgeon; 
she conquered her disease and yet lives. 

Mrs. Cooper is a brilliant scholar, a pleasant lecturer, 
a fine writer and an earnest, energetic Christian woman. 
Her speech on the 5th day of November, 1891, at the 
North Carolina Industrial Fair, in connection with the 
Interstate Exposition, was, possibly, the best effort of 
her life. 

She has recently joined the A. M. E. Conference and 
is now at work in that Church, and on the 13th day of 
January, 1892, was married to Rev. A. B. Cooper, a 
young- but rising A. M. E. minister. 

Though her way has been beset by many an obstacle, 
often disappointed and discouraged, she has steadily 
passed forward, climbing higher each year. Young and 
accomplished as she is there can scarcely be any doubt 
about the brightness of her future. 

She is accustomed to visiting the sick-room, jails and 
huts of the poor, and reading the Bible she kneels and 
offers a word of prayer with them. When leaving them 
she always, in a very comforting way, commends them 
to Jesus Christ, who alone can, at will, heal the sick, 
free the captive and provide for the poor. Who can 
estimate the good this woman may do in this way? 
Who will do likewise? Truly the call for such women 
in this special mission is indeed great ! 



WOMEN OF DISTINCT I (^N. 2!i;5 



CHAPTER LXXVIII. 

MISS MARY JONES. 

This young lady was born in Halifax county, North 
Carolina, May i, 1869. 

When she was only seven years old her mother died, 
leaving her and five other children. Mary and the three 
younger ones were taken to Raleigh and divided among 
her mother's relatives. From this time Miss Jones has 
had to struggle for her own support. Her aunt, who 
had the oversight of her, very soon hired her out to make 
her self-supporting. 

When she was fourteen or more years old she had been 
given only six months' schooling, her father having 
deserted her since the death of her mother; and desiring 
to go to school, she made her intentions known to her 
Church, of which Rev. W. A. Green was pastor. This 
kind and very benevolent minister at once advised the 
Church to help her, stating her circumstances; but despite 
his advice the majority of the members declined to help 
her. Still determined to be ^^ somebody ^^^ she made her 
way to the residence of the president of Shaw Univer- 
sity. Having no money with which to pay expenses, she 
was there refused admission. Again she thought to try 
her Church and, if possible, get the Church to help her 
just one year. She went before the body and pleaded with 
them, and they did agree so to do. She again went to 
Shaw University and was allowed to enter the school 
with the understanding that her Church would lielp her 



294 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

one year. Here she remained two months, and the prom- 
ised aid failing to come, she was notified to leave for non- 
payment of bills, as the school had no beneficiary fund. 
She asked for work to pay back the board of two months 
but at the time there was no place open to her. She 
found employment as a domestic and was earning some 
money to refund to the institution. But before she had 
been at her new home two weeks the president found 
employment for her in the nursing of sick in Leonard 
Medical Hospital, where she could also attend a few classes 
in the literary branches at the same time. He thus went 
for her and she accepted this new work and at once entered 
upon duty. During the following three years she found 
work enough at the school to keep her going in some way, 
attending only a few classes daily and studying hard at 
night. She was in the meantime developing some talent 
as a songstress, and began to attract much attention at 
the commencement exercises each year, at the same time 
standing first in two of her daily classes. At commence- 
ment of her third year she carried off the first prize in a 
recitation contest among the young ladies of the seminary. 
When she left Shaw University, having worked and 
supported herself for three years, she began public life 
in reality. She taught one winter in the Greensboro 
Normal and Collegiate Institute, and then went North 
and took lessons in elocution and music under a very popu- 
lar and noted Italian professor of New York City. Since 
returning from the North she has traveled extensively, 
singing and reading before the public in the large cities 
and towns. She speaks with freedom and ease. She 



WOMEN OF DISTI NOTION. 295 

sings with melody, pathos and a charm of voice that 
makes one who hears her once most sure to want to hear 
her again. Indeed, she is in some respects a remarkable 
young woman. Her mother died early and her father 
deserted her soon afterwards. 

From that time she has been her own bread-winner, 
and has made her way into prominence over many and 
o-reat obstacles. Her voice is indeed a delig:htful chord 
of fine, mellow sweetness of song. She is temperate, 
and is a consistent Christian. She has a bright future 
before her, and if she fails to make herself felt it will 
certainly be the fault of some one. Her steady onward 
progress from humble conditions to better in the past 
bespeak great things for her in the future. 



CHAPTER IvXXIX. 

MISS ANNA HOLLAND JONES. 

The subject of this narrative has been fortunate as to 
heredity and opportunities. Her father and five uncles 
were graduated from Oberlin College in the'4o'sand'5o's, 
when colored graduates were few. In those early days 
they were designated by Henry Highland Garnet as ''the 
most educated colored family in America." She was 
born in Canada, and at an early day was sent to Oberlin. 
She graduated from the Oberlin High School, and later 
graduated also from Oberlin College in 1875. She was 



296 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

one of the youngest in a class of sixty students, among 
whom there was only one colored member beside herself. 
During her college course she rarely stood second to any 
in scholarship, and in her junior year was elected class 
essayist. After graduation she was made assistant prin- 
cipal of the Wilberforce Institute in Chatham, Canada. 
Severity of climate led her to seek employment in the 
States. She was appointed to a position in the city 
schools of Indianapolis, and afterwards in the schools of 
St. Ivouis. In these she taught with success and accept- 
ance. She later accepted a position as head of the nor- 
mal department and instructor in Latin and geography 
in lyincoln Institute, Jefferson City, Mo., where she 
labored for four years. In 1885 she accepted the posi- 
tion she now holds as lady-principal and instructor in 
the English language, literature and history in Wilber- 
force University. Though teaching especially these 
branches, she has been called upon at times to teach 
zoology, logic, German and elocution. The long time 
which she has been engaged in teaching, the branches 
she has taught and the length of time she has held impor- 
tant positions in one of our best schools, Wilberforce 
University, is sufficient evidence of her worth and suc- 
cess as a teacher. She regards her work in the class- 
room, in stimulating young men and women to take a 
high stand and live a pure and useful life, as of far more 
importance than a mere training in books for the sake 
of intellectual development alone. She regards it a mis- 
take to seek mental development at the neg^lect of the 
moral and practical side of the student. Upon one 



WOMKN OF J)ISTIN(nM()N. -lUl 

occasion she said, "He is not a trne teacher wlio is not 
both a true friend and teacher." Her class-room is said 
to be more characterized by enthusiasm and zeal than by 
military order. She is yet a hard student, working as 
hard as she ever did in college. She has written some 
articles and sketches for magazines and periodicals, but 
w^riting almost entirely under a /20m de plinne. The 
whole tenor of facts relative to her life and works present 
a clear proof not only of the ability and ambition of this 
rising star of the West, but a forcible setting forth of 
her good traits of character as an educator. She is 
a scholar, a profound teacher, a race lover, a Christian 
lady, struggling hard to make practical leaders for an 
oppressed people. 



298 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER LXXX. 



MRS. WILUE ANN SMITH. 

Mrs. Willie Ann Smith, nee Burnett, was born in 
Goldsboro, N. C. , of pious parents. vShe exhibited an 
early love for books and was a remarkably apt pupil. 
Her intellectual aspirations and moral endowments soon 
reached a degree of prominence in the school and com- 
munity to call forth frequent commendations, and gained 




MRS. WILLIE ANN SMITH. 



for her the deepest interest of her teachers and the high- 
est respect of her acquaintances. 

When quite a child she read and re-read the Bible, 
"Pilgrim's Progress," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and 
other publications which cultivated a taste and inspired 
an abiding love for the pure and the good. 



WOMEN OF I)ISTIN(rriON. -lUU 

After completing- her education Miss P>urnctt was 
married to Mr. E. E. Smith, with whom she has lived 
happily, sharing alike with him life's bitters and sweets. 

A faithful wife, a devoted mother and an accomplished 
lady render her a model of her sex and the fond idol of 
her pleasant home, where she is wont to receive her large 
circle of admiring friends. As a teacher in the graded 
schools of her native city she has taken rank with the 
progressive and industrious instructors, 

Mrs. Smith has written some essays and articles for 
the press of real merit. She is a cogent reasoner, a 
deep thinker, and always handles her subjects in a mas- 
terlv manner, which never fails to fascinate and swav her 
hearers. She reads extensively, retains what she reads, 
and is, therefore, a lady of varied information on live 
issues. Mrs. Smith has traveled considerably in the 
United States as well as abroad. She has enjoyed the 
distinction of visiting many cities and settlements in 
Liberia and other sections of Africa. She presided as 
mistress of the United States Uegation and Consulate 
General near the government of the Republic of Liberia 
with grace and dignity, in which capacity she was 
brought into contact with the most cultured, refined and 
prominent ladies of that country. She has from time to 
time been elected president of various organizations 
of the women of her State. She was at one time chosen 
Most Eminent Grand Matron of the M. E. G. C. of the 
Eastern Star of North Carolina, where she showed execu- 
tive powers of no mean order. Mrs. Smith is a zealous 
and consistent temperance advocate, having been con- 



300 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

nected with temperance organizations from childhood. 
She is a modest, affable, benevolent, Christian lady, 
whose hand of charity is never closed. She is an ardent 
lover of her race, and entertains high hopes for its fnture 
glory, for the achievement of which she is a persistent 
laborer. 



CHAPTER IvXXXI. 

MISS NANCY JONES. 

Nancy Jones was born January 28, i860, on a farm 
near Hopkinsville, Christian county, Kentucky. She 
was the slave of Jack Edmonds and of purely African 
descent. About the close of the war of the rebellion 
Nancy and her mother drifted to Memphis, Tennessee, 
where the American Missionary Association early organ- 
ized schools for the freedmen. The mother had two 
ambitions: to buv a home and educate her dauQ:hter. 
By industry, frugality and patience she accomplished 
both objects. She was familiar with all forms of domes- 
tic work, but excelled as a laundress, and for years took 
in large washings. Sometimes Nancy helped her mother, 
who assigned her certain pieces as her share of the work 
and pay. Sometimes she hired out to white families 
nights and mornings. In this way she attended school 
at Ee Moyne Normal Institute for several years. Dur- 
ing one of the revival meetings at this school she was 
converted and united with the Beal Street Baptist Church. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. :J01 

She early expressed the purpose of goin^ to Africa as 
a missionary, but her friends regarded it as a youthful 
fancy. She was fond of visiting the sick and providing 
for the needy. Saturday afternoons she went around the 
neighborhood inviting children to Sabbath-school. 
Where they had no suitable clothing she begged half- 
worn garments from white families and made them over 
for the children upon condition of attending Sabbath- 
school. If any children failed to keep their promise 
Nancy took away the clothing she had given them. 

In i88t she entered Fisk University, and graduated 
from its normal course in 1886. Her summer vacations 
w^ere spent in teaching country schools, where she stirred 
up the farmers to more thrifty ways of managing and 
their wives to better housekeeping. 

In the fall of 1886, Miss Jones offered her services to 
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis- 
sions and was accepted. Her mother generously assisted 
in preparations for the outfit. On the route from Mem- 
phis to Boston Miss Jones spoke to several large gather- 
ings of cultivated ladies, and made many warm friends 
for herself and her work. She sailed from Boston the' 
last of January. At Liverpool she took steamer for 
Natal by way of Cape Town and reached Inhambane in 
the spring. At Kambini she joined Mr. and Mrs. B. F. 
Ousley. She lives by herself in a corrugated iron house 
(sent from Liverpool in sections) and receives children 
whom she can persuade to leave the kraals and make a 
home with her. These she teaches to w^ork, to read, to 
sew. She also has a day school of forty or fifty children. 



;h)2 a¥omen of distinction. 

At first it was difficult to keep them at lessons. If a 
boy proposed to go fishing the whole band rushed off to 
the river. Now they are not so wild. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Ousley were obliged to return to 
America for a year Miss Jones bravely remained alone. 
Once she made an extended trip attended only by 
natives. Miss Jones has the honor of being the first 
unmarried colored woman to be commissioned by the 
American Board. Mrs. Mararet Harris. 



WOMEN OF DLSTI NOTION. 



:iO:i 



CHAPTER LXXXIL 

MISS MARY K. BRITTON. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Lexington, 
Ky., more than thirty-two years ago, where she still 
lives and teaches in the public schools. She w^as also 
educated in the schools of this thriving little city, and 
now^ seeks to help lift up others as she herself has been 
lifted up. 




MISS MARY E. BRITTON. 



Miss Britton has done much in the field of primary 
education for the race. She stands high in her own 
city as a refined, intelligent, faithful leader and teacher. 
She has done much for the general public in the line of 
newspaper writing and agitation. Prominent among 
the papers in which her writings have appeared we 



304 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

mention the Aiuerican Citisen^ a Lexington weekly, the 
Cincinnati Couiniercial^ the Lexington Herald^ the Daily 
Transcript^ Lexington, Ky., the Indianapolis IVorld^ 
Indiana, the Cleveland Gazette^ Ohio, The Conrant^ 
Louisville, Ky., The Toy^ Baltimore, Md., \\\^ American 
Catholic Tribune^ etc. 

Mrs. A. E. Johnson said of her: 

She has an excellent talent for comparing, explaining, expounding 
and criticising, and has made no small stir among the city officials 
and others for their unjust discriminations against worthy citizens. 

Mrs. I. Garland Penn says of her: 

Miss Britton claims to be neither a poet nor a fiction writer, but 
she is a prolific writer on many subjects of a solid, practical, forcible 
character. Teaching is her forte, and she prefers to perfect herself in 
both the science and art of the profession. As a teacher she is greatly 
respected and esteemed. 

A friend in the Indianapolis World speaks of her in 
the following complimentary manner: 

The city (Lexington, Ky. ) officials are building the colored people a 
school-house on the corner of Fourth and Campbell streets, and Miss 
Mary E. Britton, the "Meb" of our literature, smiles even more 
pleasantly than usual. She has done a great deal to educate the youth 
here under the most vexing circumstances, and none can appreciate 
or rejoice more in better facilities than she. 

Mr. I. Garland Penn also speaks of her as follows: 

Miss Britton is a specialist. Recognizing the fact that one cannot 
satisfactorily take in the whole field, she wisely concludes to pursue 
and perfect herself in such branches of it as she feels confident are 
hers by adaptation. Such a course cannot fail to give success to the 
one pursuing it. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. :U)r, 

The Lexijigton Herald had the foHowino- to say of her 
when she was on its editorial staff: 

The journalistic work seems to be the calling of Miss Britton. No 
other field would suit her so well. In manner and style her composi- 
tion is equal to any of her sex, white or black. As an elocutionist 
she stands next in rank to the accomplished Hallie Q. Brown. No 
literar}^ programme gotten up by the Lexingtonians is complete with- 
out the rendition of some choice selection by her — Miss Britton. She 
is a hard student, a great reader, and a lover of poetry. Miss Britton 
is an acknowledged teacher of high intellectual attainments. 

The American Catholic Tribune^ Cincinnati, says of 
her: 

It is with pleasure that we call the attention of our readers to a paper 
read by that talented young woman and rising journalist, Miss Mary 
E. Britton, at the State Teachers' Institute held in Danville, Ky., 
last week. Without commenting on the terms it proposes, we give it 
to the public for careful perusal. 

The Christian Soldier (Ivexington, Ky.) also thus 
refers to her: 

Miss Mary K. Britton is one of the brightest stars which shine in 
Dr. .Simmons' great magazine. Our Women and Ctiiidren, and the 
magnitude of those stars is national. Lexington never gets left when 
it comes to pure, good and sensible women. 

Suffice it to say that we need among us more such 
staunch and invincible champions of the cause of right 
and of equal justice to all men. Miss Britton well 
deserves the place she occupies in the hearts of her peo- 
ple at home as well as throughout this country wher- 
ever she is known. Who can predict her future? 



20 



30() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

CHAPTER LXXXIIL 

MRS. C. Iv. PURCE. 

(matron seI/Ma university). 

The subject of this sketch is the honored wife of Rev. 
Iv. C. Puree, D. D., President of Selma University, 
Sehna, Alabama. Her maiden name was Miss Charlotte 
Cooper Sinkler. She is the eldest daughter of Mr. Paris 
Cooper Sinkler and Mrs. Tina Sinkler, and was born in 
Charleston, S. C. , August 4, 1855. She attended pub- 
lic and private schools in Charleston. Her mother and 
father dying while she was quite young, she was not only 
sister to her younger brothers and sisters, but acted the 
parents' part as well. She was baptized into the fellow- 
ship of the Morris Street Baptist Church in 1874 by Rev. 
Jacob Eegare. In 1877 ^^^^ went North and spent several 
years with relatives in Easton, Pennsylvania. On Janu- 
ary I, 1885, she was married to Rev. C. L. Puree, in 
Philadelphia, by Rev. Dennis, pastor of Shiloh Baptist 
Church. The couple then went to Selma, Ala., where 
they have been engaged ever since in doing what good 
they can to educate and elevate their people. She is the 
happy mother of one child, John William, who is seven 
years old. Mrs. Puree has been the matron of Selma 
University ever since her husband accepted the presi- 
dency in December, 1886. She is a devoted mother, 
an earnest wife and a perfect helpmate. Shoulder 
to shoulder with her husband she has done all in her 
power to lift up the moral tone and elevate the good 
name of the institution which has called out all her 
noble, womanly and queenly character. She has a 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. :i()7 

strong personality, marked by those motherly qualities 
which are so essential to a successful matron. The 
young men and women love her and confide in her as in 
a loving mother. Mrs. Puree is under appointment of 
the New England Women's Society, who claim her as 
"a faithful worker." She seems born to fill the place 
she has filled so successfully for the last six years. 

As a housekeeper she is abreast of the times, espe- 
cially in Northern methods. Any one entering her home 
or her department is struck by the method and system of 
her household duties. This is one of the most beneficial 
lessons to the young women. If the young won] en need 
anything in their school-life it is proper instruction in 
regard to their home-life, their habits and domestic 
duties. Many girls in boarding-schools are from rural 
districts, and as a general thing they need instruction as 
to the duties of home-life, hence when they attend 
school the\^ must not only be taught in ''books," but 
they must be taught how to nse the broom, tlie dust- 
brush, the needle and the wash-board. The v/ork of the 
matron is very trying. The girls are to be taught these 
duties, and it takes much time and patience. Mould 
these orirls ario:ht and when thev return home thev carrv 
lessons into their homes that they could not have under- 
stood from reading books. Mrs. Puree tries to be prac- 
tical and exact in her dealings with her pupils, and finds 
much pleasure in visiting their rooms while in school 
and their homes in vacation to see the changes wrought 
therein. She is loved all over Alabama, and whoever 
have the pleasure of meeting and being with her confess 
that she is the equal of her companion. 



308 WOMEN OF DISTIXCTIOX. 

CHAPTER LXXXIV. 

MISS HATTIE K. GREEN. 

This young lady, the daughter of Julia C. and Alfred 
Green, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, January 8, 1868. 
Her parents made many plans for her future, but before 
the object of their affections and labors was one year old 
the father fell asleep in death, leaving the mother with 
three small children for which to provide. Brave and 
full of hope, the mother decided that she would give 
Hattie a chance, and if she showed any aptness she 
would continue her efforts to help educate her. She 
started to school with this condition before her. She 
did indeed show aptness, and in June, 1883, graduated 
from the grammar department of the city school at the 
age of fifteen years. The mother, encouraged by this, 
said, "Go to the high school." This meant a long, hard 
task for the mother, who, when her attention was called 
to this fact, still said, "Go on." Hattie went on, and 
January, 27, 1888, graduated from the Central High 
School. Then the mother said, "Go to the normal 
school," but before she had been verv lono^ out of the 
high school ill health became her portion. Still deter- 
niined she patiently endured sickness until able to enter 
the normal school, from which she graduated June 
19, 1890. 

Application was made to the School Board for a posi- 
tion as teacher; being colored the matter was delayed 
for some time, as the schools are mixed with both races. 




MISS HATTIE K. GREEN. 



WOMEN OF DLSTJxNCTION. :M)9 

Finally she was given a position, which she has held 
till now. She has been a member of the Congregational 
Chnrch for seven or eight years; is a consecrated Chris- 
tian and much loved at home and at school; kind-hearted, 
industrious, painstaking and faithful as a teacher. 

While she is quite young yet she is promising, and 
has in her the elements to make a great and noble 
woman. 



CHAPTER IvXXXV. 
AFRO-AMERICAN WOMEN AS EDUCATORS. 

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more, 

Aud mix the bowl again; 
Seethe fate ! the ancient elements, 

Heat, cold, wet, dr}', and peace, and pain. 

Let war and trade and creeds and song 

Blend, ripen race on race. 
The sun-burnt world a man shall breed 

Of all the zones aud countless da3'S. 

No ra}^ is dimmed, no atom worn, 

My oldest force is good as new, 
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn 

Gives back the bending heavens in dew. 

— Emerson. 

The possibilities and general trend of social reforms 
and universal advancement largely depend, as society is 
now constructed, upon the co-operation of the feminine 
with the masculine element. The truth of the state- 



310 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

iiient is perhaps nowhere more forcibly illustrated than 
in the various departments of the educational field, 
where the efforts of women have not only changed the 
entire atmosphere of the school-room, but have also pro- 
duced many otlier ch anodes in the rio-ht direction. 
"I/arge bodies move slowly," but one by one the States 
are falling in line and are employing women as teachers 
holding important positions, as directors, supervisors, 
superintendents, etc. 

Woman is said to be especially strong in the details of 
an art. Teaching is a series of details out of which we 
finally develop a science — an art. This may in part 
explain the fact that woman is in some respects a greater 
success in the school-room than man, where, as in the 
home, she seems "to the manner born," and develops 
rare executive ability. ^ Is it not possible also that it is 
easier for women as a class to "become as little chil- 
dren " ? without which qualification it is difficult to enter 
the "kingdom of Heaven" — the hearts of the little 
ones. 

The elements which enter into the composition of true 
womanhood are not restricted, and when we point with 
pardonable pride to the achievements of our race in com- 
paratively few years we also feel that the noble women 
of the race have done their full share of this magnificent 
work. 

As teachers they have shown that spirit of hardy 
endurance, combined with patient self-sacrifice, from 
which springs heroic deeds; and by it they have helped 
to lay the foundations of a harmonious race development 



WOMEN OF JMSTINCTION. 311 

deep and strong, upon which the youths of to-day and 
of succeeding- generations must place th.e superstructure. 
Necessity is the mother of invention, and applying the 
implied principle to the urgent necessities of our case " in 
equity," these teachers, instinctively, as it were, early 
adopted the tenets of the New Education as the most 
rational if not a royal road to knowledge. 

The industrial idea in education has received their 
hearty co-operation, because in it they recognize the safest 
method of fitting ^outh for practical, productive citizen- 
ship; and from the kindergarten to the university, from 
the normal to the industrial school, as supervisors and as 
specialists, they have shown an aptitude for all-round 
honest work bounded only by the limitations of time 
and space. Often, out of slender salaries, they have laid 
the foundation of the school library, the kindergarten, 
or the industrial school. In fact, they seem to have con- 
sidered no sacrifice of time or money too great which 
would in any way benefit the ' race. Thus, spending 
their lives for one single and unselfish end, they have put 
into tlie work their fullest and highest personalit}': and 
upon this more depends in the development of character, 
which is all that counts in the long run, than upon the 
use of the text-book. 

Within the last decade we have had a flood of talk 
(small and otherwise) of articles and would-be legisla- 
tion upon the so-called "Negro Problem," and its pre- 
sumable solution ; meanwhile our worthy teachers, 
many of whom are women, have patiently toiled on, 
in season and out of season, solving a knotty point here, 



312 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

correcting an error there, and really accomplishing more 
toward the final solution of the problem than all the 
article*^, talk and legislation combined. 

At the close of a recent gathering of colored teachers 
in a former slave State one of the .prominent daily 
papers contained the following editorial: 

The annual meeting of the State Colored Teachers' Association, 
which closed this evening, has been a most interesting event. Without 
personal observation it would be quite impossible to form an idea how 
interesting. The remarkable character of the gathering itself of two 
hundred colored teachers from all over the State ; the visible evidences 
of culture and refinement ; the excellence of the music, largely due to 
the development of a natural and God-given faculty ; the brightness 
and proficienc}^ of the model classes taken from the colored schools of 
our city ; the high range of thought and knowledge covered by the 
speakers and essayists — all this had to be seen and heard to be appre- 
ciated. 

There was something, too, _which recalled the old saying that "One 
half of the world does not know how the other half lives." It is cer- 
tain that the majority of white citizens have little real knowledge of 
the high attainment reached in the art of teaching and in scholarship 
by those who constitute the membership of the State Colored Teach- 
ers' Association. 

While the magazinists are writing, and the orators are orating, and 
the doctors of divinity are preaching over the "Race Problem," and 
even Henry Watterson is confessing that his own wisdom is inadequate 
and that he will be obliged to leave the matter in the hands of God, 
these teachers are solving it by acquiring and imparting to others that 
knowledge which is power and the best qualification for the lawful use 
of liberty. • 

Thus throughout the land, in the midst of unyield- 
ing obstacles, to use the words of one of our most dis- 
tinguished women, "We are rising," as all who are 
equal to the task of rising above their prejudices are 
willing to admit. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION 



:n:'y 



An estimate of the extent of tlie educational work 
which is being accomplished by our women can be drawn 
from the following statistics, issued by the Commissioner 
of Education for i890-'9i, of the common schools in 
those States containing the highest per cent, of colored 
teachers: 

i890-'9i. 



States. 


PUPII.S EnroIvLED 

IN THE Common 

Schools. 


Teachers, Colored. 




COr^ORED. 


MALE. 


FEMALE. 


Alabama 

Arkansas 

Delaware -i_. 

District of Columbia _ 

Florida-^- ^ 

Georgia^ 

Kentucky _- 

Louisiana 

Maryland _. 

Mississippi __. 

Missouri^- . _ ^ . 

North Carolina . -. 

South Carolina 

Tennessee _ 

Texas -_. 

Virginia 

West Virginia 


118,712 

63,830 

5,602 

14,147 

37,342 

150,702 

54,125 

49,671 

34,796 

173,378 

34,622 

115,812 

116,535 

105,458 

104,512 

123,579 
6,428 


1,496 
862 

54 
40 

403 

1,290 

586 

500 

217 

1,835 

304 

1,370 

958 

992 

1,639 
928 

93 


812 
270 

45 
225 
282 
1,208 
650 
301 
491 

1,377 
418 
988 
664 

753 

914 

1,080 

91 


Total 


1,309,251 


13,567 


10,497 



* Teachers in Florida, Georgia and Missouri classified according to U. S. census. 

Out of the total 24,064 teachers in the common schools 
of these States, as given in the preceding table, 43 per 
cent., in round numbers, or about one-half of the entire 
teaching force, are women, and then we have not taken 
into account the private and denominational schools, 



;U4 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

which, founded and mainly supported by missionary 
benevolence, have so materially contributed to the devel- 
opment of the South; and when we consider that the 
majority of the women who make up this percentage 
work for less wages than skilled nurses receive, and that 
often they walk miles, through mud, wet and cold, to 
buildings called school-houses that will barely afford 
shelter to beasts of the field; when we find them con- 
tinuino- in this work vear after vear more from a desire 
to advance the race than from any pecuniary advantage 
derived from teaching; when we realize that the chil- 
dren who sit daily under their loving and watchful care 
have also often walked miles with scarcely any protec- 
tion from the inclemency of the weather (for we do not 
find the South one long summer day during the North- 
ern winter months), and with little food to satisfy the 
appetite of youths, we begin to know something of the 
innate heroism of our race. 

^ The Rev. A. D. Mayo, that well-known benefactor of 
humanity, who in discussing any phase of educational 
work speaks from years of experience, has recently 
issued a book of three hundred pages, entitled "South- 
ern Women in the Educational Movement in the South." 
Referring to the education of the colored race he says: 

And especially is the colored woman teacher — competent in acquire- 
ment, character, professional ability, religious consecration, womanly 
tact and practical, patient industry — such a benediction to her people 
as nobody can understand unless, like myself, he has seen year after 
year the development of this class of the teaching body in the border 
cities and through all the Southern States. 

There are probably 8,000 colored women teaching school, the great 
majorit}^ of them in the common schools. Of course too many of 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTJON, 



■>\') 



them are every way incompetent, and too few thorou<^Iily (jualified for 
this greatest of all sorts of American woman's work. But a larger 
number every 3-ear are doing better service, and a considerable class 
are so good that I never spend an hour in the school-room with one of 
them without feeling that the colored woman has a natural aptitude 
for teaching not yet half understood by her own people, but certain to 
make her a most powerful influence in the future of botli races in the 
South. ■" "" ""' Here is the providential furnishing in this native, 
loving kindness, unselfishness, endless patience, overflowing humor and 
sympathetic insight into child-nature for the office of teacher, with the 
added c{ualification of suitable education, moral stamina and the social 
refineinents that come so easily to the colored woman. 

Perhaps you ask, Cm' bono? What are the results of 
this work on the part of our women? In reply we direct 
you to the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, 
wdiere, for years, Mrs. Fannie Jackson Coppin, a woman 
known and honored on both sides of the Atlantic for 
nobility of character and scholarly attainments, has been 
the presiding genius, and where, as a result of her 
untiring efforts, successful preparatory, high, normal 
and industrial departments are conducted, the last men- 
tioned havino- at least ten well-tauo'ht trades; to the 
Miner Normal School of Washington, D. C. , which was 
for a long time very successfully managed by Miss 
Martha Briggs, and since by Miss Lucy Moten, under 
whose excellent guidance it has sustained its high repu- 
tation; to the Agassiz School of Cambridge, Mass., one 
of the best managed and equipped schools of the State, 
of which Miss Maria Baldwin is principal; to the many 
schools of the South Atlantic and South Central Divis- 
ions, and to the increasing number in all divisions of 
the United States, which have well-educated women of 



;n{5 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

our race at the head, upon the corps of instructors, or 
as supervisors; to the refining influences which these 
women impart to the home, church and social life of the 
communities in which they work; and, finally, to the 
moral and intellectual development of character in the 
young people who have come under their tuition, who, 
in turn, have entered the various avenues of life and are 
there making for themselves and their race name and 
fame. 

It has been well and wisely said that "A race no less 
than a nation is prosperous in proportion to the intelli- 
gence of its women." A race that can boast of a 
Briggs, a Coppin, a Moten, a Jones, a Baldwin, a Gar- 
net, a Howard; of graduates of Oberlin, Ann Arbor, 
Wellesley and other famous institutions, at home and 
abroad, among its prominent educators, need have little 
fear of its future prosperity. 

"Whatever you would have appear in a nation's life 
you must put into its schools," reads a Prussian motto. 
American civilization, with wise forethought, changes 
this to read, ''Whatever you would have appear in a 
nation's life, you must teach its womeny Following 
out this line of argument it follows that there are many 
ways outside of professional teaching by which women 
have become general educators, and our women have 
shown themselves to be capable of adopting all of the 
nineteenth century measures for the development of that 
which is best in humanity. The professions of law, 
medicine, dentistry, etc., have found in them able expo- 
nents. Among these may be mentioned Doctors 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. :U7 

McKinney of New York, Anderson of Philadelpliia, 
Jones of St. Ivouis, Gray of Cincinnati. 

In literature we have, among others, Mrs. Frances E. 
Harper, Mrs. A. J. Cooper, Miss Ida B. Wells, Mrs. Julia 
Ringwood Coston, editor of Ringzvood^ s Journal of 
Fashion ; ' 'Victoria Earle," Miss Lillian Lewis, a salaried 
writer for the Boston Herald ; Miss Florence Lewis, who 
has won an enviable position as a journalist on some of 
the white periodicals of Philadelphia. In music, Mes- 
dames Selika, Sisseretta Jones, and many other promi- 
nent queens of song. And it is not presuming too much 
to say that each of the fine arts is worthily represented 
by our women. 

Sixty years ago, according to the United States Com- 
missioner of Labor, there were but seven paying indus- 
trial occupations for, American women. Now there are 
three hundred and forty-six. In each of these industries 
colored women are gradually pushing their way to the 
front, and wherever they take with them intelligence and 
refinement they become an educational factor whose 
value cannot be overestimated. Scattered throughout 
the cities, towns and villages are numerous colored 
women who are conducting some prosperous business 
enterprise which they have undertaken voluntarily, or 
that has been thrust upon them by circumstance. One 
instance of which we have personal knowledge shows 
what can be accomplished under difficulties. Mrs. D — , 
a lady of much native genius, was born a slave and has 
never attended school, although by various means she 
has acquired a rudimentary education. iVssisted by her 
husband she succeeded in acquiring a considerable 



318 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

aniount of valuable property in one of the rapidly grow- 
ing cities of the West. Besides rearing a large fam^'ly of 
children this woman found time to do a great variety of 
church, Sunday-school and benevolent work, and was 
one of the founders of the Colored Orphans' Home of 
that city. 

A few years ago the husband died; the children were 
leaving the "parental roof to form homes of their own; 
and feeling that she would soon be compelled to take 
entire charge of her business affairs or employ an agent, 
at the age of fifty-two she secured private instruction 
and applying herself with zeal to the intricacies of 
arithmetic and English prose composition is, at the time 
of writing, ably illustrating that "Labor conquers all 
things." 

Every community furnishes brilliant examples of 
what our women accomplish in church and Sunday- 
school work, while Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Amanda 
Smith have gained national reputation in a combination 
of temperance and evangelical work. In that urgent 
necessity — prison reform — Mrs. Alice Dugged Cary has 
made a brave struggle to better the conditions of life 
among the colored convicts of Georgia, and in other 
States women are making the convict system, with all 
which that system implies as now conducted, the subject 
of careful study and attention. Thus, in their work 
for the prevention and cure of intemperance, poverty 
and crime, our women are learning to deal with the 
most difficult problem which sociology affords us, and 
the longer they grapple with these problems the more 
fully is it forced upon them that the home must be the 



WOMEN OF DT8TIN(JTrON. :MI) 

corner-stone of onr social structure, and that here — 
where education should and does begin, let its tenden- 
cies- be true or false, elevating or pernicious — woman's 
influence is the strongest for good or for evil. 

As wives and mothers, as elder daugliter or sister, 
as friend or counselor, our women have made heroic 
sacrifices to educate children and establish refined Chris- 
tian homes — sacrifices that the world at large will never 
be able to appreciate — and as the great body of mothers 
becomes more liberally educated their work will be yet 
more effective. Looking around at the result of the 
efforts of a past generation of mothers, and bearing in 
mind the fearful odds against which they had to con- 
tend, it would seem that even ordinary respect for the 
dead demands that in some suitable place a monument 
shall be erected to their memory, bearing the simple 
inscription, "To the Noble Mothers of the Negro Race," 
or words to that effect, which shall properly testify to the 
nobility of their lives and deeds. 

Home, school and society — these three act and react 
one upon the other in such way that wdiatever affects one 
affects the other; togetlier, they are the triple forces 
which shape a race and make for its eternal weal or woe. 
Give us, then, in every sense of the expression, truly 
educated mothers, earnest educators and wise leaders of 
society, and not only is our race development, in a gen- 
eral way, secured, but also that perfection of character 
or broad culture, which Matthew Arnold defines as "a 
harmo7iioiLS perfection^ developing all sides of our nature, 
2^ general perfection^ developing all parts of our society." 

Mrs. J. SiLONE- Yates. 



320 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER LXXXVL 

THE ATEANTA UNIVERSITY, 

Located in Atlanta, Ga. , was one of the pioneer schools 
for the freednien and their children. 

Scarcely had the last guns of the late war ceased fir- 
ing when the founders of this institution began the work 
from which has developed what now answers to the 
name of the Atlanta University, said by many to be the 
foremost and best equipped school in the South attended 
bv the vouth of the freednien. 



'*^'^^. 5%s 




ATLANTA UNIVERSITY. 



About a mile out from the center of the busy city, 
but connected with it by electric cars, are its seventy 
acres of land, four large brick buildings, a large barn 
and three cottages, two of which are the homes of the 
president and one of the professors. 

The following clipping from the Atlanta University's 
leaflet. No. 4, will give some idea of the character of 
the school: 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 'Vl\ 

The broad nature, however, which the work of the school almost 
from the first assumed, together with its relations to the vState and pub- 
lic, made it desirable that it should avoid an exclusively denomina- 
tional connection and develop an independent life under the guidance 
of its own self-perpetuating board of trustees, after the well-approved 
pattern of the great colleges and universities of the country. 

Besides a full college course based upon the best New England mod- 
els there is a college preparatory course of three years, a normal course 
of four years, a grammar course, a model school of primar}' scholars, 
serving as a practice school for the normal students, and a mechanical 
course. Moreover, instruction in wood-working, turning, iron-work- 
ing and mechanical drawing is given to all boys; and instruction in 
cooking, sewing, dress-making, nursing and housekeeping duties to 
girls; and instruction in printing and newspaper and job work to 
optional classes of both boys and girls. 

The last issue of the catalogue shows a record of 244 
boys and 317 girls. Of that number 233 are boarders, 
328 day pupils. 

The number of States represented is eleven; the total 
number of pupils is 561. The number of teachers and 
officers is thirty. 

There are 235 graduates from the college and normal 
courses, nearly all of whom, together with hundreds of 
post undergraduates, are engaged in teaching and other 
useful work in Georgia and surrounding States. 

The real estate, together with the library of 7,000 vol- 
umes, apparatus and other equipments, are valued at not 
less than a quarter of a million dollars. 

In former years it has received aid from the Freed- 
man's Bureau, the Slater Fund, the American Mission- 
ary ^Association, together with an annual appropriation 
of $8,000 from the State of Georgia. But now it 
stands, as it were, in its own strength, with bright pros- 

21 



32:2 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

pects and justifiable assurances for continued progress 
and sure development. 

It has been and is still the purpose of the Atlanta 
University to send out men and women of any race or 
nationality who may have gained admittance within its 
walls, rounded and well-equipped in mind and character 
to uplift their fellows-men, to give special service helpful 
to those with whom thev must come in immediate con- 
tact in life. 

The past and present assure us that its labors are not 
in vain, and that ere long this w^hole Southland will 
feel more effectually than now its influence for develop- 
ing true wortJi in men and ivomen. 



CHAPTER LXXXVII. 

MARY E. HARPER, B. E. 

This lady of the rostrum was born in Zanesville, Ohio, 
and remained in that State till two and a half years of 
age, when her father died and her mother, Mrs. F. E. W. 
Harper, moved to the East, where Mary spent most of her 
early life. She received her early primary training in the 
public schools of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Some- 
time later they moved into the State of Massachusetts, 
where Mary finished her education, graduating wath 
honors. Afterwards she taught school in Virginia for 
several years, and also in Maryland. She had previously 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. :Vi:\ 

shown some taste for elocution by converting a chair into 
a rostrum, tlie family and visitors at the same time 
composing her audience to which she would speak from 
this very modern platform, addressing herself to the 
question of slavery. Her speech was in tlie following 
words: "The neo-roes shall be free." At this time 
she was quite a child of three or four years. 

She had evidently inbibed these thoughts from her 
mother, who had been a champion of the cause of aboli- 
tion. 

Mary's fondness for the public rostrum finally induced 
her mother to send her to the National School of Elocu- 
tion and Oratory, at Philadelphia, from which she gradu- 
ated as Bachelor of Elocution. 

After this she took a course in Boston under the 
instruction of the well-known actress. Miss Rachel Naah, 
and later took lessons (under Miss Julia Thomas) in 
'' Psycho- Physical Culture." 

She has read in the principal churches of Boston; has 
traveled extensively in America, reading to the cultured 
people throughout the East, West and South. Many of 
the largest and best churches and halls have been opened 
to her. 

The following are some of her press notices, and are 
very complimentary to her as well, as they bespeak much 
for her possibilities as an elocutionist. Miss Harper par- 
takes of many of her mother's good traits as a public 
speaker, and is destined to do much good for her country 
and especially her race: 



S'24: AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The poem was recited in ati excellent style. — Brooklyn Eagle. 

Miss Mary E. Harper, the well-known elocutionist, adding much to 
the general enjoyment b}^ her fine recitations and readings. — Sunday 
lie VI, Brooklyn. 

Having had the rare pleasure of hearing Miss Harper render a num- 
ber of selections, we are free to say she is well fitted by nature and 
preparations to make a success as public reader. She has a command- 
ing presence, a graceful carriage, a rich, pleasant voice, and her gest- 
ures are natural and effective. — New York Freeinan. 

Miss Mar}^ Harper recited several fine selections and did exceedingly 
well. She has a fine stage presence, and possesses elocutionary talent 
of a high degree. — Ozr/Zi'/^ Evening Sentinel. 

The elocutionary entertainment given last evening at the A. M. E. 
Zion Church by Miss Mary E. Harper, of Philadelphia, was all that 
could be desired. The selections rendered were from standard authors, 
consisting of pathos and humor, all of which were produced in the 
highest style of elocutionary art. All present were more than pleased 
with the entertainment, and Miss Harper can feel well flattered with 
her success as an elocutionist. — York Daily. 

The elocutionary entertainment given at the A. M. E. Church last 
evening by Miss Mary E. Harper, of Philadelphia, was a complete 
elocutionary success. The selections were from standard authors, and 
rendered in the best of style. Miss Harper justly lays claims as an 
elocutionist j^ossessiug all the requisites of the art. — York Dernocrtic 
Age. 

A much larger audience than usually assembles in the A. M. E. 
Church to witness intellectual efforts complimented last evening Miss 
Mar}' Harper, the elocutionist, who gave a series of select readings. 
The selections were mostly new, which made the task to interest the 
audience more difficult, but the elocutionist proved herself equal to the 
occasion. Miss Ilarper has undoubted talent of a dramatic order, 
which she pleasingly and effectively utilizes. Miss Harper's gestures 
are applicable to the sentiment, and a voice of much volume, which is 
under artistic control. — Harrisburg Morning Call. 

Miss Harper possesses sensibilit}" of high order. She will please and 
move her audience more by her naturalness, pathos and earnestness. 
She is a lover of the art of elocution, and destined to achieve success. — 
National School of Elocution and Oratory, 3Trs. J. W. Shoemaker, 
Vice-President. 




MRS. SISSIERETTA JONES. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. .'525 

An entertainment was given last evening at the Berean Presbyterian 
Church, South College Avenue and Nineteenth street, by Miss Mary 
E. Harper and the Stevens Family Parlor Orchestra. Miss Harper, 
who is a graduate of the National vSchool of Elocution and Oratory, 
gave some excellent readings, while the Stevens family rendered cho- 
ruses, a musical sketch, and other numbers in excellent style. — Phila- 
delphia Press. 

The features of the entertainment at the Berean Presbyterian Church 
last evening were music by the Stevens Parlor Orchestra and Miss 
Mary E. Harper's reading. Miss Harper has a fine stage presence, a 
good voice, and recited with much expression. She gives promise of 
success. Altogether the entertainment was unusually good of the 
sort. — News. 

Miss Mary E. Harper's reading was the feature of a very pleasant 
entertainment at the Berean Presbyterian Church last evening. Her 
stage presence is fine, both nature and training have done much for 
her voice, and with perseverance her success as a reader is insured. 
The Stevens Famih^ Orchestra contributed the music, which was very 
good . — Ph iladelph ia Tim es . 

Miss Harper, a graduate of National School of Elocution and Ora- 
tory, gave some excellent readings. — Philadelphia Press. 



CHAPTER LXXXVIII. 
MRS. SISSIERETTA JONES. 

("THE BLACK PATTI"). 

Perhaps one of the marvels of the nineteenth century 
is to be found in the person of Mrs. Sissieretta Jones, 
who has been well styled "the great colored prima 
donna^^^ and has been often called "The Black 
Patti." It may not be going too far to say that she 



;i2() WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

might more appropriately be called the ^ real Amei^ican 
prima donna. This most wonderful product of the 
negro race needs no special introduction at our hands to 
the reading and inquisitive people in the larger cities of 
Central and South America. As popular as she is, how- 
ever, there are a great many thousands of all races who, 
quite naturally, know nothing of her. In this particular 
case we shall leave it to the press of the country to 
speak of her more knowingly and, therefore, more 
strongly than the author can possibly do. Up to our 
going to press we have been able to learn but little of 
her early life and education, but clip the following from 
an advertising sheet, which we offer upon its merit, 
since it is over the name of Major J. B. Pond, who was 
her manager in the great Madison Square Garden Con- 
cert in New York City: 

Sissieretta Jones was boni on Januarys, 1868, at Portsmouth, Vir- 
ginia, being t¥;enty-four years of age at present writing, and in her 
fourth year her father and mother, Jerry and Henrietta Joyner, left 
Virginia and settled down in Providence, R. I., where they are still 
living. When a mere girl, Mrs. Jones evinced a great taste for music, 
and at the age of fifteen years she commenced her instrumental les- 
sons at the Academy of Music, Providence, R. I., of which Mr. Monros 
and Baroness Lacombe, the latter an eminent Italian musician, were 
tutors. 

At eighteen she commenced vocal training at the New England Con- 
servatorium in Boston. She made such rapid strides in her studies 
that those who heard her sing at some private entertainments pro- 
nounced her as America's future colored Queen of Song, and in 1887 
she was asked to sing at a grand concert in aid of the Paruell Defense 
Fund, on which occasion the audience numbered upwards of 5,000; 
she sang next in the Boston Music Hall, where she received the highest 
encomiums from her hearers. A grand star concert was next given by 
Mr. J. G. Burgeon, at which all of the best American colored singers 



WOMEN OF J)ISTIX("riON. :V11 

took part; on this occasion she again distinguished herself, from which 
time she has been considered the brightest singer of her race in 
America. In 1888 she commenced her professional career at Wallack's 
Theatre, a place where no other colored singer had been privileged to 
shine. It was here that Mr. William Riesen, a famous musical director 
in New York, hearing of her wonderful voice, called to hear her sing; 
after doing so he telegraphed to Mr. Henry Abbey, c^f the firm of 
Abbey and Schoeffel Grau, managers to Adelina Patti, Henry Irving, 
Ellen Terry, and all the greatest notables, when on American tours, 
telling that he had found a ''phenomenal singer," and instantly Abbey 
sent an agent to secure her for a West Indian tour. Before proceeding 
on her mission she sang in New York before all the newspaper critics. 
The Times said she was a phenomenal singer and that she had no 
equal in her race; the Smi said she was a great singer, who in a few 
years would surpass some of the world's greatest singers; the Herald 
predicted a great future for her; and the Providence Journal said she 
would be a credit to her race and would do honor to any stage on 
which she sung. The A^ezu York Clipper gave a glowing account of 
her and was the first paper that described her as the " Black Patti." 

On 29th July, 1888, she started on her West Indian tour, pa3dng a 
visit to Jamaica, where she commanded two months of great success in 
Kingston. It was here that Mrs. Jones received lier first decoration — 
a gold medal inlaid with pearls and rubies. The tour lasted eight 
months, during which time she sang in all the principal colonies, being 
recognized as the greatest 13'ric star of her race, and was the recipient 
of several other beautiful decorations. On her return home at Provi- 
dence she was feted in a grand style by her numerous friends. She 
returned to Madame Lacombe for further study. Then came an Aus- 
tralian manager, who offered her great prices to go to Australia, but 
she declined his offers, as she had promised to return to tlie West 
Indies, where she was greatly delighted with her success. Mrs. Jones 
has received more presents and testimonials in the various places in 
which she has sung than an}' other prima donna was ever honored 
with, and whenever she appears in public her breast is seen brilliantly 
illuminated with some of the most chaste medals extant. Tlie follow- 
ing are the cities where she received gold medals, with the dates: 
Kingston, Jamaica (with pearls and rubies), September 2, 18S8; Colon, 
November 3, 1888; Barbadoes, November 26, 1888; Port of Spain, Trini- 
dad, December 18, 18S8; San Fernando, Trinidad, December 15, 1888; 



;]2S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Detnerara, Decenil^er 2S, 188S; Surinam, January 7, 1889; French 
Society, Port an Prince, December 10, 1890; Citizens of Cape Haytien, 
January 5, 1891, and presented b}- the President, before whom she 
sung, a purse of gold of I500; St. Thomas, January, 1891, four pearls, 
one emerald, one ruby and one large diamond; G. U. O. Odd Fellows 
of St. Thomas, January 9, 1891. A medal from the citizens of Gre- 
nada is in course of preparation against her return to that island. 

Mrs. Jones is an American girl, reared and educated in Providence, 
R. I. vShe returned from South America in Februar}^ last, and has 
since given five concerts in New York, five in Brooklyn, seven in Bal- 
timore, two in Washington (one in the White House, for the President 
of the United States, his household, members of the Cabinet and mem- 
bers of the foreign legation), two in Jersey Cit\% two in Philadelphia. 
Invariably the houses have been packed to their fullest capacity. The 
following press testimonials tell the true story of her wonderful suc- 
cess. The printed reports that Mrs. Jones has sung in Europe, Austra- 
lia and California are untrue. vShe is but twenty-four years of age, 
and has never traveled or been heard anywhere except in Central and 
South American countries, the W^est Indies and the American cities 
above quoted.—/. B. Pond. ^ 

The richness of the negro's singing voice has long been recognized, 
and the belief has been expressed that were such a voice cultivated 
and trained an artist of exceptional worth would be the result. The 
onh: doubt as to tb.e success of such an undertaking has arisen from 
the fear that the process of schooling the voice might rob it of those 
natural qualities which lend it a peculiar charm. 

A singer appeared in Central Music Hall last night, however, who 
set at rest all such doubt and confirmed the belief in no slight measure. 
The singer was Mrs. Sissieretta Jones, a colored woman, whose work 
upon the concert stage has won for her the title "The Black Patti." 
She was heard in the Page's song from "The Huguenots," an aria 
from " L'Africaine," and as encores "Comin' Thro' the Rye," "Bobo- 
link Song," "The Cows are in the Clover," and "Every Rose Has Its 
Thorn." 

The first aria sufficed to show that her voice is indeed phenomenal, 
of extended range, of great volume, and of wonderful richness. The 
peculiar plaintive quality that is ever present in the negro voice is 
still there, and it exerted a charm in every number sung by Mrs. 
Jones last evening. — Chicago Tribime, Friday, January 6, iSgj. 



WOMEN OF I) 1ST] NOTION. :^2U 

The second concert of Mrs. vSissieretta Jones, the " BL-ick Patti," 
attracted a large and enthnsiastic audience at Central Music Hall last 
night. The great richness and sympathetic quality of the voice of this 
singer grows upon one. Her selections were "Robert, toi que j'aime," 
from Meyerbeer's "Robert le Diable," and Gelli's "Farfella Waltz." 
She sang the aria with so much feeling and expression that one can 
overlook deficiencies in vocalization and method. In the encore num- 
bers she made a great success. She sang "Comin' Thro' the Rye," 
"Bobolink," and " Snwanee River." She carried her audience fairly 
by storm with the latter. She sang with a wonderful depth of feeling, 
and the exquisite quality of her voice is admirably suited to the plaint- 
ive melody. This simple song has been sung in Chicago many times 
by the greatest artists, and it is but justice to Mrs. Jones to say that 
she excels them all in this one soug. —Chicago Tiine.s, Saturday^ 
January 7, i8gj. 

Another incident of interest in the week of music was the appear- 
ance of Mrs. Sissieretta Jones, the "Black Patti." This woman 
comes as the first vocalist of her race to whom a place in the ranks of 
artistic singers ma}^ be accorded. She has been endowed ])y nature 
with a voice that in an}' throat would be remarkable for its great range 
and volume, but which, with her, possesses even greater attractiveness 
by reason of its having also the wonderful richness and fullness and 
the peculiar timbre that lend the negro singing voice its individuality. 
The tones in the lower and middle registers are of surpassing beauty, 
and those of the upper are remarkable for their clear, belldike quality. 
Another striking element of the voice is its plaintiveness. In ever}^ 
note Mrs. Jones sang in her concerts here that one quality was unfail- 
ingly present. In the arias, in ballads, comic or sentimental, it was 
noticeable, and it soon became evident that it was the most individu- 
alizing element in the voice, and that no amount of schooling or train- 
\n^ could eradicate it. Not that one would desire to have it eradicated. 
It is the heritage the singer has received from her race, and it alone 
tells not only of the sorrows of a single life, but the cruelly sad stor^^ 
of a whole people. It lends to her singing of ballads an irresistible 
charm, making her w^ork in this kind of music as artistically satisfac- 
tory as it is enjoN-able. — Chicago Tribune, Sunday , January S, iSgs- 

Mrs. Jones possesses a wonderful vocal organ of extraordinary com- 
pass and distinct in enunciation. — Nezv York Evening Telegram. 



:\:M1 women OF DISTINCTION. 

Mrs. Jones has taken New York b}^ storm, and showed she is a great 
singer. — iVfTa York Clippej' . 

She is the greatest singer that ever sung in Jersey City. The applause 
that greeted her would make even the great Patti happy. — Evening 
Journal, Jersey City. 

She sings like Patti, without the slightest visible effort, her voice is 
well cultivated, her high notes enable her to effectually render the 
most difficult compositions, and her low tone is peculiarly deep, intense 
and masculine. — Neiv York World. 

It has been truly said that the great colored soprano stands without 
an equal in her race, and few in any race. — New York Times. 

Recalled again and again she sang "The Cows are in the Clover" 
very effectiveh^, her upper notes being especiall}'^ sweet. She received 
an ovation. — New York Herald, April ^7, i8g2. 

Her voice coming from a skin as white as her teeth would be counted 
the wonder of all lands — it is a strong and beautiful voice, that sounds 
with the steadiness of a trumpet. Though it does not ring with pas- 
sion it shakes your heart. — TJie Sun, Friday, April 2g, i8g2. 

It is an indisputable fact that she possesses a most wonderful vocal 
organ of extraordinary^ compass, exceeding sweetness and a delight- 
fully perfect, distinct enunciation. 

"Black Patti" was given an enthusiastic reception when she 
appeared. She sang a cavatina by Meyerbeer smoothly and well. 
Her voice is sweet and tender, and has a pleasing mezzo strain in it. — 
Cleveland Plain Dealer, November i^, i8g2. 

She appeared and sang as only she can, and her reception w^as one 
continuous round of applause, stilled only as her voice was heard. — 
Buffalo Courier, Monday, November i^, i8g2. 

Mrs. Jones is quite a marvel as a colored cantatrice. Her upper 
notes are phenomenall}^ clear and pure, and she has many of the arts 
of the leading />rzwzrt dorm as. She was received with great cordiality. 
— The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, November 12, i8g2. 

Her voice is a fine soprano, particularly full and sweet in the upper 
register. She possesses a good presence, and as "Aida" or as 
"Selika" in " L'Africaine " would undoubtedly create a sensation. — 
The Philadelphia Press, Saturday, December ^, i8g2. 




MRS. Ll'CTE JOHNSON SCRUGGS. 



WOMF.N OF DISTINCTION. :5:n 

She has a musical voice of extraordinary compass and even jjovver, 
and of a realh' remarkable qualit}', and she sin<^s with ease and 
fluency and with a distinct English enunciation, and with a repose of 
manner that inspires confidence. — The Times, Philadelphia, Decem- 
ber J, i8g2. 

Sissieretta Jones may truly l)e called "The Black Oueen of Song." 
Her voice, so rich, resonant, powerful, 3-et sweet, held her delighted 
listeners, who demanded repeated encores. — Boston Post, Monday 
Morning, November 28, i8g2. 

Sissieretta Jones possesses a remarkable degree of talent. Her 
enunciation is excellent and her voice one of much brilliancy and 
power. She was tendered an ovation at the close of her first number. 
— Boston Journal, Monday, November 28, i8g2. 

She sings with artistic taste and feeling. — /^//(^/zV Ledger, Philadel- 
phia, Saturday, December j, i8g2. 

The wide range and power of her voice were noticeable. — Philadel- 
phia Public Ledger, Monday Morning, December §, i8g2. 



CHAPTER LXXXIX. 

MRS. LUCIE JOHNSON SCRUGGS. 

All persons are, to some extent, the products of their 
environments. The majority of people, measured by 
their usefulness, reach in society only a mediocre posi- 
tion; some fall below the middle point; while others, 
despite unfavorable surroundings and straitened cir- 
cumstances, reach in life positions of worth, honor and 
usefulness. Many persons born in slavery are examples 
of the last named class. Not the least among them was 
Mrs. Lucie Johnson Scruggs, the wife of L. A. Scruggs, 



:];V2 WOMEN OP^ DISTINCTION. 

M. D. She was the youngest of four cliildren, and was 
born a slave in Richmond, Va., October 14, 1864. x\s a 
child she was somewhat timid, therefore did not easily 
become attached to every one with whom she came in 
contact; showing also in a marked degree the infusion of 
Indian blood in her veins by the strong manifestation of 
like or dislike for person or persons. Until she was 
nine years old she had known very little of any associa- 
tion or companionship outside of the grandchildren of 
the family whose slave her mother formerly was and with 
whom she lived until 1873. She was noted during 
childhood for her clear conception of things, and received 
unusual care from the wdiite family. 

She entered the public schools of the city at the age of 
nine years. The first year's work was ^^^ery thoroughly 
done by the aid of her sister, a few years her senior, who 
was then in the fourth grammar grade. Lucie was pro- 
moted twice every session, always showing an unusual 
talent for mathematics. Plaving been kept out of school 
a part of two winters by illness attributed to too rapid 
growth, it was thought expedient to try a change of cli- 
mate. Consequently, after having been in the high 
school only one session, she left Richmond highly rec- 
ommended for Shaw University at Raleigh, N. C. She 
graduated from this institution in May, 1883, and went 
to New York City, where her mother then resided. 
While in school she won many friends by her sweetness 
of disposition and ready sympathy, and Uucie Johnson 
(as she was then known) was a favorite with all her 
school-mates. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. .VM) 

In October of tlie same year, shortly after the death of 
her only brother, she went to Chatham, Va. , to teach 
school. In May, 1884, she retnrned to her home in New 
York, and she and her sister opened a private school for 
little girls, which they managed very snccessfully for four 
years, Lucie taking charge principally of the musical 
part. Several white girls were among the pupils, one 
of whom married a noted professor of music. 

It was during these four years that she wrote many 
articles for the RicJimond Planet and other race journals. 
In 1886 she published a grammar designed for beginners, 
entitled "Grammar- Land." This work in itself would 
have placed her name high among the literary fraternity, 
being her original method as a teacher. It was at 
once comprehensive and simple, enabling the child to 
grasp the lesson to be learned, and placing before it such 
examples that the most stupid could not fail to receive 
some information. 

On the evening of February 22, 1888, she was married 
to Dr. L. A. Scruggs, of Raleigh, N. C, who had w^on 
her heart while she was yet a school-girl. They were 
married at St. Mark's M. E. Church, New York, by Rev. 
H. L. Morehouse, D. D., assisted by the pastor. Rev. Dr. 
Monroe. Their union proved a happy one, and was 
blessed with two children. 

Soon after her marriage she wrote a drama, "Farmer 
Fox," which was played in Blount Street Hall. Her 
attention being taken by housekeeping and other duties, 
she gave very little time to literary work. Mrs. Scruggs 
was always admired for her unfeigned, modesty. She 



:\:]4 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

became a Christian when she was fourteen vears of ao-e 
and joined the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Va. 
After her marriao-e and removal to Raleio-h she united 
with the 'Blount Street Baptist Church of that city. She 
died November 24, 1892, after a brief but severe illness. 
When a child Mrs. Scruggs was called "The Flower 
of the House," and in after years she proved herself 
a veritable "Flower." Cheery of disposition and 
extremelv entertainino- she was the most charmino- of 
hostesses, while as president of the Ladies' Pansy Lit- 
erary Club, which was organized by her, she blended 
firmness with gentleness. Those with whom she asso- 
ciated felt the influence for oood which emanated from 
her. Nor did it stop there, but extended to all with 
whom she came in contact. It nmy truly be said of her 
that 

"None knew her l^ut to love her, 
None named her but to praise." 

The following is a notice of her death which appeared 
in the /Vem York Age and was copied by the Ring wood 
JoiLvnal : 

Raleigh, N. C, November 28, 1892. — On the evening of the 24th 
inst. the soul of Mrs. Lucie T. Scruggs, beloved wife of Dr. L. A. 
Scruggs, fled to the God who gave it. Her illness, which was of short 
duration, but exceedingly painful, was borne with sweetest patience 
and calm resignation. To her husband she was a devoted wife, a lov- 
ing companion and a most efficient manager of his business affairs. 
vShe was a tender and fond mother to her children. Mrs. Scruggs was 
a member of the Second Baptist Church and the King's Daughters' 
Missionary Society. She organized and was twice elected president of 
the Pansy Literary Society, and at the time of her death had planned 
to organize a Sewing -Circle for the purpose of teaching the industry to 
such girls as were ignorant of it. 



WOMEN OF ])JSTIN( TJON. ;>>;5r) 

The following taken from the Gazette^ Raleigh, N. C, 
shows the esteem in which she was held in tliat city : 

The news of Mrs. Scruggs' demise carried consternation all through 
the city. While many knew she was sick but few thought that death 
was so near, and at this writing our beautiful city is buried in sorrow 
and tears, and our community loses one of its purest and brightest 
characters and society its purest gem. Not within the writer's memory 
has the death of a lady cast such gloom and left so many sad hearts. 
The Church loses one of its most valuable members, society its most 
earnest worker, and the poor their dearest friend. Wherever one went 
in the city the name of Mrs. Scruggs was held in high esteem. In 
fact, everybod}' loved her for her purity of character and personal 
charms. 

For many years Mrs. Scruggs worked incessantly to create a high 
moral sphere among the people and occupied for a long time the chief 
place in many social and literar}'^ societies of the city, and not an effort 
was made without receiving her support for the amelioration of the 
poor. 

As a wife she was true, as a mother loving, and as a neighbor kind. 
As a housekeeper she was a model, and as to her business qualities, the 
stricken husband owes much of his success, and to repeat his own 
words, " Her place can never be supplied." The citizens of Raleigh, 
regardless of race or sex, who knew Mrs. Scruggs regret her death 
while 3'et in the bloom of life. 

The following in reference to the funeral of Mrs. 
Scruggs is clipped from the Richvioiid Planet of Decem- 
ber 3, 1892 : 

Her funeral was very largely attended. Several ministers of other 
denominations spoke in praise of her lovely Christian life, and also 
offered consolation to the bereaved family. The two institutions, Shaw 
University and St. Augustine Normal and Collegiate Institute, sus- 
pended studies that the students might attend in a body the funeral. 
This was never before known in the history of Raleigh — the closing of 
two schools to allow their students to attend the funeral of a private 
citizen. 



S'My WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Thus passed away a most beautiful life iu the morning of its useful- 
ness, and in the quiet shades of evening the tortured, pain-racked body 
was laid to rest. 

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." 

"Earth's sweetest flowers bloom but to decay." 

The following lines which we subjoin are the last 
expressions of her pen, and in full harmony with her 
genial disposition as a mother. 

Mother! How much that word means; how much care, trust, respon- 
sibility, power and self-sacrifice are involved in those six letters of the 
alphabet, m-o-t-h-e-r. Yet so many of our mothers regard that posi- 
tion in life as a mere trifle, as irksome, never giving one thought to the 
many duties resting upon them as the laying of the true foundations 
upon which their little innocent ones are to build. Did I say innocc 't ? 
Yes, because they are truly pure and innocent when given to our ..re 
and keeping. How can you consider them irksome? Have ycu a 
mother? Then remember the pang it gave 3'our young heart whe-' 
a look or a word your mother seemed tired of you. If you have .. . 
one (a mother), how much worse, because as you look back upon your 
childhood you can see how much your young heart yearned for a 
mother's love, a mother's care and a mother's interest. How" can you 
expect your child to be sweet and loving if you yourself are not the 
embodiment of those true and noble principles? Many mothers foster 
the idea that being patient only spoils the child, but can you not be 
patient and yet be positive? 

Some mothers sigh over the great responsibility, as they term it, of 
rearing girls, while the rearing of their boys is a pleasure, but if they 
were to look on the other side of the picture would they not see that if 
the proper care and pains were used to keep the boys' minds pure and 
innocent as is taken for the girls, how much less would be the shedding 
of tears over fallen girls ? 

Look at the temptations your boys are throwing in the paths of your 
neighbor's girls, or the temptations your neighbor's boys are throwing 
in the pathway of your own girls. Is this not sufficient proof that the 
reins should be drawn with equal force on the boys as well as on the 
girls? How many mothers care so much for pleasure and society that 
they entirely neglect the training of their little ones! Oh, mot' 



reii 
yov 



al- 

rl,, 




MRS. ROSA KINCKLE JONES. 



WOMEN OF DLSTJxNOTION. '.VM 

remember that upon 3^011 depends the future of your children; upon 
you in after years will they shower blessings which will be a comfort to 
you in your old age if you have tried in every respect to carry into 
effect the meaning of the word mother. Why look upon this position 
so lightl}^ ? Can you find one in which you would have the power to do 
more, be of more real value to your neighbor, 370ur friends and to the 
world than by rearing your children with such pains and care as to 
make them real examples to others? 

It should be a pleasure as it is your duty to sacrifice, toil and study 
for the well-being of your children. 

Look at the noble men and women we have among us to-day. Ask 
many of them where the power lies that prompted them to such posi- 
tions in life, and the answer will be, "I owe it all to my loving, patient, 
self-sacrificing, forbearing mother." — Ringwood's Journal. 

Mrs. Ella C. Pegues. 



CHAPTER XC. 

MRS. ROSA KINCKLE JONES. 

In the onward march of progress of any people there 
is no one thing that can do more to make or mar than the 
disposition and tendencies of its women. Just as surely 
as water can only rise to its own level so surely can a race 
hope only to rise to the height of its women. If they 
are noble, pure and good, w^e may confidently expect 
their influence to bring about the same characteristics in 
the sterner sex, for 



The hand that rocks the cradle 
Is the hand that rules the world." 



22 



338 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The negro race is peculiarly fortunate in having 
among it good, noble, pious, refined and cultured women, 
and none of them are more deserving of a niche in the 
temple of fame than the subject of this sketch. 

Lynchburg, Va., the "City of Hills," that has had the 
honor of sending out so many distinguished sons, was 
the place at which she first saw the light of day, and 
where the better portion of her life was spent. 

She attended the public school of that city, making 
an excellent record, until 1877, when she left for Howard 
University, from which she graduated with honor in 
1880. As is usuallv the case with o:ifted women she 
devoted the first years of her public services to teach- 
ing, having taught with great success in the State of 
Virginia and city of Lynchburg for two years. 

Mrs. Jones is a well-read and cultured lady, having a 
voice of unusual compass, and is an excellent teacher of 
vocal music; but it is as a pianist that she is especially 
distinguished. Her execution of the most difficult of 
classical music is indeed marvelous. 

Possessed of a touch of rare sweetness she can give 
the most excellent interpretation of the great masters, 
delineating every passion and emotion with a most deli- 
cate finish. 

Mrs. Jones is undoubtedly possessed of natural ability 
in the musical line, but in addition to this she has been 
blessed with the best of instruction from competent 
teachers from early childhood, continuing the study in 
the city of Washington, finally taking a course in har- 
mony at the New England Conservatory of Music. 



WOMEN OF DJSTJNCrnON. :^'>>0 

Since residing in the city of Richmond she has been 
considered one of its most prominent, if not the most 
prominent and snccessful teacher of music, having taught 
some who are now successful teachers themselves. 

For the past five years she has been the highly accom- 
plished teacher at the Hartshorn Memorial College, and 
hundreds of pupils in and out of the State testify to her 
great ability. 

In 1882 she married Rev. Dr. J. H. Jones, of the 
Richmond Theological Seminary, and is thus the emi- 
nent wife of an eminent man. 

Their married life is an ideal one, and the union has 
been blessed with two bright and interesting boys. 

Mrs. Jones is an indefatigable worker, and yet finds 
time to give her services free to every worthy enterprise. 

Pleasant, affable, kind, loving, she is loved by all who 
know her, and is an ideal woman, wife and mother. 

G. W. Hayes. 



CHAPTER XCI. 

OTHER DISTINGUISHED WOMEN. 

With a desire to be impartial as far as possible, the 
author has found it necessary to devote one chapter to 
the consideration of those distinguished persons to 
whom he could not at this late day give special separate 
chapters, having already reached the prescribed limits 
of this volume. It is pleasant, however, to make hon- 



340 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

orable ineiition of the following ladies of distinction, to 
whom we hope, in the fnture, to do greater justice. 

Mrs. Dr. G. F. Grant, of Boston, was a pupil at 
the New England Conservatory of Music, and was for 
quite awhile the very popular and accomplished organ- 
ist at the North Russell Street Church. 

The Boston Globe said of her: 

A fine-looking young lady; achieved a like success in all her num- 
bers, and in fine presence on the stage and in her simple, unobtrusive 
manner winning the sympathies of the audience. 

Mrs. Dr. C. N. Miller, also of Boston, was for a 
long time the leading soprano singer of Rev. L. Grimes' 
church, a very valuable and favorite member of the 
great Tremont Temple Choir, so well noted for its good 
music. 

The Boston Globe said of her: 

She is the possessor of a well-cultivated voice of natural sweetness. 

Mrs. p. a. Glover and Mrs. H. Jeffreys are both 
of high rank in musical circles of Boston and possess 
voices of rare and natural beauty — wonderful in their 
power to thrill the very souls of their hearers with the 
melody of their songs. 

Miss Sarah Sedgwick Brown, a lady of most 
charming voice as well as possessing a most wonderfully 
well-developed musical talent, fine interpretations and 
renditions of operatic and classical music. She has been 
quite often called the "Colored Nightingale." 

The Daily Pennsylvanian of May 3, 1856, said of her: 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. :M1 

We have never been called upon to record a more brilliant and 
instantaneous success than has thus far attended this talented young 
aspirant to musical honors. From obscurity she has risen to popu- 
larity. She has not been through the regular routine of advancement, 
but, as it were, in a moment endowed by nature with the wonderful 
power of song, she delighted the circle in which she moved, and is now 
enchanting the public. Last evening the hall was thronged at an 
earl}^ hour. In every song she was unanimously encored. 

She has always stood high in Philadelphia, where she 
has quietly lived and acted well her part. 

Miss CelESTIne O. Browne, a very prominent citi- 
zen of Jamestown, New York, has made much prestige 
as a pianist. 

The Boston Folio of December, 1876, said of her: 

She is a fine pianist, very brilliant and showy as soloist and accom- 
panist. 

She was at one time a member of the Hyers Sisters' 
Concert. 

Madam Albert Wilson, of Brooklyn, New York, is 
one among our foremost pianists and has been highly 
spoken of by the press — having accompanied some of 
our best singers. She w^as prominent with Madam Sissie- 
retta Jones ("Black Patti") on several very noted occa- 
sions. 

Madam Emma Savaile Jones, of Brooklyn, N. Y., 
possesses one of those zvell-ciUtivated voices. In this she 
is not so richly endowed with the gifts of nature as some 
others of her sisters, while on the other hand she is a 
well-trained and highly cnltnred vocalist. She furnishes 
a living and striking example of what a young woman 
may do for herself and her race, even though Nature 



342 WO^IEN OF DISTINCTION. 

may not have so richly endowed her as it has some others 
of her companions. 

Madam Adele V. Montgomery, of New York City, 
has been by many very competent critics regarded as the 
colored pianist of America. She is certainly an expert 
at the piano. She has accompanied Madam Bergen in 
many of her concerts in the Eastern and Middle States. 

Miss Emma Magnan, of New York City, is sister of 
Madam Montgomery, and is qnite a noted pianist, and at 
the same time sings very sweetly. 

Mrs. Josie D. Heard. We very much regret that 
somehow we failed to get any response to repeated efforts 
to obtain the facts of this very excellent lady's history. 
However, suffice it to say that she is a valuable part of 
the best society in Philadelphia, not only from a strictly 
social stand-point of view, but as a talented, faithful 
woman; popular not only at home, but throughout the 
country, because of her sterling worth as a woman in the 
full sense of the word — ambitious, learned and true. 

We take pleasure in quoting the following poem, "I 
Love Thee," as a specimen of some of her many and 
varied writings : 

Thou art not near me, but I see thine eyes 
Shine through the gloom like stars in winter skies, 
Pointing the wa}^ my longing steps would go, 
To come to thee because I love thee so. 

Thou art not near me, but I feel thine arm. 

Soft folded round me, shielding me from harm. 

Guiding me on as in days of old — 

vSometimes life seems so dark, so dreary and so cold. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 343 

Thou art not near me, but I hear thee speak, 
Sweet as the breath of June upon my cheek. 
And as thou speakest I forget my fears, 
And all the darkness, and my lonely tears. 

O love, my love, whatever our fate may be. 
Close to thy side, or never more with thee. 
Absent or present, near or far apart, 
Thou hast my love and flllest all my heart. 

Mrs. Dr. A. M. Curtis was born in San Francisco, 
Cal., on the loth day of July, 1871. Having been 
deprived of her parents by death when she was quite 
young, she was cared for by an aunt, who encouraged 
and fostered her education. She, in after years, mar- 
ried Dr. A. M. Curtis, with whom she went to Chicago 
to begin life's work. Dr. Curtis is now enjoying a large 
and lucrative practice; to this energetic lady, doubtless, 
he owes some of his success. Mrs. Curtis has recently 
been made Secretary of the Colored Department of the 
World's Fair at Chicago. Mrs. Curtis is an energetic, 
faithful, pleasant woman of more than ordinary gifts. 
She is educated and refined — a great race lover. 

Mary Ann Shadd Carey. This remarkable person 
was born in Delaware. She did much to educate her- 
self, and far outran many of her sisters who were also 
free during those dark days of American Slavery. As 
a lecturer, debater and shrewd speech-maker she was 
indeed a most wonderful member of the Dark Race. 

Miss H. Cordelia Ray is the daughter of. the late 
Charles B. Ray. She has reached a high point of repu- 
tation as both an excellent poetical and prose writer. 
Having received her education in the very excellent 



344 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

schools of New York City, the place of her birth, she 
quite naturally ranks high in literary circles. She began 
to write verse as early as ten years old. Her works are 
very numerous in both prose and poetry, and would do 
her credit if published in one volume. Miss Ray has 
the distinctive honor of being a graduate of the School 
of Pedagogy, wdiich is one of the departments of the 
University of the City of New York, from which she 
received the degree of "Master of Pedagogy" in 1891. 

Miss M. L. Baldwin, of Cambridge, Mass., is doing 
a most excellent work in her native State. She is prin- 
cipal of the Agassiz School in that noted city of letters. 
A strong advocate of equal justice to all men, a strong 
opponent of the separation of Americanized races into 
classes, she believes that the idea of "fencing off is 
equally harmful " to all concerned. In matters of country 
and the country's welfare and best interests she thinks 
there should be one common standard by wdiich all should 
be judged. As we understand her position, we heartily 
indorse the idea of equality of rights, in law and gov- 
ernment, to all. 

Miss Bdwina Blanche Kruse is an example of good 
works, and w^ell establishes the fact of Afro-American 
possibilities. When matters of negro education w^ere 
enshrouded in gross darkness in Wilmington, Del., this 
woman of the Mosaic type came to the front, and, like 
a well-skilled warrior, as she is, she pushed the fight for 
schools in which her people could be educated to some 
deerce of satisfaction. Her work succeeded and now in 
Delaware there are several well-equipped schools. Miss 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. ;U5 

Kruse is principal of one of these three schools. To 
her belongs the credit of this great work, which it has 
taken her years to accomplish. 

Although we failed to obtain the facts we so nnich 
desired concerning the lives of the following named 
ladies, yet we take great pleasure in placing them upon 
the list of "Women of Distinction" by giving, as near 
as we can, their names and addresses. They deserve 
even more than honorable mention, but "such" as we 
have we "give unto" them, with the hope of doing them 
full justice when the facts in their history are at our 
command: Miss Lucy Moten, Washington, D. C. ; Miss 
Frazelia Campbell, Philadelphia, Pa.; Miss Julia Worm- 
ley, Washington, D. C. ; Miss Addie Wait, Normal, 
Ala. ; Mrs. Frances Preston, Detroit, Mich. ; Mrs. Lucy 
Hereford, Montgomery, Ala. ; Mrs. Mary Shadd Carey, 
Washington, D. C. ; Mrs. Carrie L. Steele, Atlanta, 
Ga. ; Mrs. Bertha B. Cook, Wilmington, Del. ; Mrs. R. 
H. Long, Columbus, Mo. ; Mrs. E. L. Boone, Colum- 
bus, Mo.; Mrs. Sarah Mitchell, Cleveland, Ohio; Mrs. 
M. C. Terrell, Washington, D. C. ; Miss Lucy Laney, 
Mrs, Alice Vassar, Lynchburg, Va. 



CHAPTER XCH. 

MISS MARTHA B. BRIGGS. 

Martha Bailev Brio^os was born in New Bedford, Massa- 
chusetts, March 31, 1838. She was the only child of 
John Briggs, of Tiverton, R. I., and Fanny (Bassett) 



34(3 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Briggs, of Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, Massa- 
chusetts. Her father is reputed to have been a man of 
uncommon intelligence for the limited opportunities 
afforded him. During his early life, like most poor 
country boys, he was permitted to attend school only 
during the winter. He was quick to accept and utilize 
every advantage in the way of learning which presented 
itself, and thereby acquired a great deal of knowledge. 
When but twelve years old he went to New Bedford to 
live in the family of a Quaker, George Howland, who 
had two sons — one the age of John Briggs, the other 
younger. From these boys he obtained much help in 
his studies, and so faithful to duty did he prove that he 
was retained in the employ of the Howlands, father and 
sons, up to the time of his death, which covered a period 
of more than fifty years. He had an insatiable appetite 
for reading, was extremely fond of politics, and, being a 
rampant anti-slavery character, enjoyed the close friend- 
ship of Hon. Frederick Douglass during much of his 
life-time. His wife having died when his daughter was 
quite young, he entrusted the rearing of his child to an 
aunt, Mrs. Bailey, whose motherly care and guidance 
did much to develop the strong character of the woman 
whose destiny it was to play so important a part in the 
education of her race. 

Upon his only child Mr. Briggs bestowed every facility 
for an education which the private and public schools of 
New Bedford afforded. 

At the age of twelve years she was prepai'ed to enter 
the New Bedford High School. The rules would not 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. ;i47 

allow children under thirteen to enter, and shejwas com- 
pelled to wait for some time before admission could be 
gained for her. Through the influence of friends she 
was admitted in September, 1850, when but twelve and 
a half years old. She completed the course with hon- 
ors and was the first colored girl graduated from this 
high school. 

HER CHOSEN PROFESSION. 

Her earliest experience at teaching was at home in 
her father's house. There she opened a private school 
with ten or twelve pupils, and at different times liad 
evening pupils, whom she taught to read and write. 
These evening pupils were most largely men and women 
who came from slavery. To such fugitives her father, 
out of the largeness of his heart, often gave refuge and 
aid. Subsequently she taught at Christiantown, Mar- 
tha's Vineyard, in the private and public schools of 
Newport, R. I., and acted as governess in the family of 
Mr. George T. Downing, of said city, for several years. 
Because of his loyalty to manhood and justice Mr. 
Downing repudiated the idea of fastening upon his pos- 
terity the notion of their inferiority, by permitting them 
to submit to attendance upon public schools for colored 
children, separate and apart from those for white chil- 
dren, when the conditions were such that both teacher- 
ships and pupils might have been mixed wuthout detri- 
ment to either race. He therefore gave the use of one 
of his houses as a school and paid for the private tuition 
of his children, Miss Briggs being one of the three 



348 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

teachers employed. She lived with his family and 
enjoyed their warmest friendship. 

In 1859, while teaching at Newport, she was invited 
by Myrtilla Miner to go to Washington, D. C. , and assist 
her in teaching a school which Miss Miner had estab- 
lished for the education of colored girls. She did not, 
however, accept the invitation, because her father was 
not willing that she should brave the bitter feeling exist- 
ing between the North and South. Miss Miner was 
thus left to combat her perilous attempt all alone, but 
victory crowned her efforts, and it was the result of her 
struggles that the Miner fund was created, through 
which Miss Briggs came to the public colored schools 
of Washington and Georgetown, D. C. , as principal of 
the Miner Normal School, twenty years later. 

LATER SUPPLEMENTARY STUDIES. 

She began the study of medicine at Boston before she 
went South to teach, but did not complete the course, a 
taste of the subject having convinced her that she was bet- 
ter adapted to teaching than for becoming a mere nurse, 
the purpose for which she entered the Boston Medical 
College. 

It is said by good authority that she w^as specially 
trained for teaching at the Bridgewater Normal School, 
but her immediate relatives now living are not sure that 
such was true. She was away from home quite awhile, 
taking a special course in I^atin and French, and it may 
be that during this time she took the normal course. 
.Be this as it may, she was pre-eminently master of what- 



WOMEN OF J)ISTIN(rnON. tUU 

ever she attempted to teach, and so well equipped was 
she in every direction that her capability and aptitude for 
teaching seemed unbounded. She did good and thor- 
ough work wherever placed. 

She added to her mental store a knowledge of German 
during her career in Washington. 

IN SOUTHERN FIELDS. 

As early as 1867 she went to Kaston, Md., where she 
taught two years. No facts are available to tell of her 
work there. 

Two years later she received encouragement through 
the persuasion of friends at Washington, D. C. , to go to 
said city and teach. Her application for the position of 
teacher in the public colored schools of Washington 
and Georgetown was favorably considered, and the date 
of her first appointment to a school in said District was 
during the autumn of 1869. 

CAREER IN WASHINGTON. 

It was in this city, and through the schools of its 
vicinity, that the widest range was opened to develop all 
that was sterling in this woman. She was now in the 
employ of the largest and best system for public instruc- 
tion for the race in this country, and rapidly grew in 
favor as teacher and disciplinarian, being made princi- 
pal of one of the largest school buildings then under the 
public school management. 

Having attained the highest position within the gift 
of the Board of Trustees, outside of the High School 



350 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

principalship, she was, in 1873, offered a position to teach 
at Howard University, which she accepted and filled 
creditably for six years. 

In 1879 she was invited to return to the public schools 
as principal of the Miner Normal School, through which 
teacherships were supplied to the public schools of the 
District of Columbia. She accepted said position, held 
it for four years, havino- p-raduated durino- said time 
about eighty teachers. 

The work of the Normal School increased during the 
four years to such an extent that the tax to carry out the 
excellent system she had inaugurated, with the lim- 
ited assistance allowed, wore heavily upon her. Always 
sought after by the Howard University management, she 
returned there where the work was not so arduous, and 
was teaching there at the time of her death, having been 
out of school but a few days. 

She was principal of the Howard University Normal 
School at the time of her death, and enjoyed the confi- 
dence and respect of the faculty and trustees to the highest 
extent. 

IN SOCIETY. 

Socially she will ever be missed at Washington. 
Much was due to her tenacity of purpose and innate love 
for literature that the admirably organized Monday 
Night Literary Club was kept intact for so many years, 
which has since "fallen to pieces," much to the detri- 
ment of many whose literary tastes were stimulated 
through it, and to that of Washington society, which 
had for so many years maintained as its pride this 



AVOMEN OF I)ISTIN(;TI()X. 351 

most admirably select organization. It seemed to be her 
hobby to have our boys and girls taught in industrial 
lines as well as otherwise, and through her efforts many 
were instructed through the means afforded by the 
Industrial Institute x^LSSociation of Washington, D. C. , 
to which she was elected president just prior to her 
death. 

Miss Briggs was liberal with her means. While 
principal of Miner Normal School her salary was $1,350 
per annum. She went about doing good to the needy, 
and withal accumulated some property, and was owner 
of the house in which she was born until she died. 

Exercises "In Memoriam " were held by the Bethel 
Historical and Literary Society, Washington, D. C, 
May 14, 1889. At said meeting addresses were made 
and appropriate resolutions eulogistic of her worth 
were passed. A committee of nine citizens was appointed 
to wait upon the District Commissioners and ask that one 
of the school buildings then in process of erection be 
called the "Martha B. Briggs Building," as appreciative 
of her work in the community. The request w^as 
cheerfully acceded to by the honorable Commissioners, 
and the large building at the intersection of Virginia 
avenue and Twenty-second and K streets, N. W. , now 
principaled by one of Miss Briggs' normal graduates. 
Miss M. E. Gibbs, bears that name. 

Appropriate exercises to her memory were also held 
in Howard University Chapel, where eulogies were 
delivered by her friends and pupils, Prof. G. W. Cook 
and Miss E. A. Cook. A marble tablet has been inserted 
in the wall of the chapel bearing the inscription, "Her 
works do follow her. " Mrs. R. E. Eawson. 



;]o2 



AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XCIIL 



MRS. DINAH WATTS PACE. 

Dinah Watts Pace was born in Athens, Ga. She 
attended school at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga., 
and graduated from the normal department in June, 1883. 

During the summer of the same year she began her 
work as teacher in Covington, Ga. She took two little 




MRS. DINAH WATTS PACE. 



orphan girls to care for and rear. This resulted in the 
founding of an Orphan Home, where orphans and other 
needv children are cared for. She has reared six chil- 
dren and has at present twenty-two in the home. The 
work has grown gradually each year. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. -^o^ 

During the past ten years her greatest aid has been 
from a brother, Lewis G. Watts, who lias given her regu- 
larly a part of his earnings toward the support of the 
work, otherwise the work is mainly supported by her 
own earnings. 

She has received some aid from Northern friends. 
Mrs. A. C. Reed, of Manchester, Vt. , donated at one 
time the money for the erection of the present Home 
building, a large two-story frame structure. She has 
also given other aid. Friends in and near Boston have 
also contributed to the work. 

The work is nothing like completed, but it is grad- 
ually growing. 

The mission is known as the Reed Home and School 
for Colored Children, and, although yet in its infancy, 
the enterprise is a striking illustration of what a conse- 
crated heart with well-defined purposes and sufficient 
energy and will to do can accomplish at the hands of an 
Afro-American woman of small means. 



23 



354 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

CHAPTER XCIV. 

MISS GEORGIA MABEE DeBAPTISTE. 

Miss DeBaptiste's native home is Chicago, 111., where 
she received most of her education, completing her 
course of study in Evanston, 111. She also took a 
musical course. 

When very young she was much interested in literary 
work, and when she became an advanced student she 




I\IISS (JEORGIA JMABEL DeBAPTISTE. 



accepted the offer of being a regular correspondent of 
several papers and a magazine. She continued to write 
for some time after she completed her school course. 

Her father. Rev. R. DeBaptiste, D. D., of Chicago, 
111., is her only living parent, her mother having died 
when she was five years old. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. t^nry 



Miss DeBaptiste served as private secretary to the 
president of the State University, Lonisville, Ky., and 
Dr. Simmons wrote the following compliment, which 
she appreciates very highly: 

With her strict application to duty, her untiring perseverance, and 
her sweet, lady-like demeanor, she cannot do otherwise than win the 
hearts of those with whom she comes in contact. Her determination 
to overcome difficulties and her ambition to accomplish great good 
attract all whom she meets. 

She was instructor in music in the vSelma University, 
Selma, Ala., one year, Vv^as re-elected, but owing to a 
failure in health, because of the change of climate, 
she could not return. She was then summoned to a 
position in Lincoln Institute, Jefferson City, Mo., as 
assistant teacher in language and instructor in music, 
and after two years' work she resigned and received the 
following compliment from the faculty: 

During Miss DeBaptiste's stay of two years we have found her to be 
earnest, zealous, upright and amiable, desiring at all times the good of 
those around her, and ever working for that good, often at the sacrifice 
of self. As a teacher she has given thorough satisfaction to all con- 
cerned, both in respect to ability and to character. She is scholarly, 
talented and refined, and is held in the highest esteem by all the stu- 
dents and her co-workers in Lincoln Institute. 

Prof. Page said the following: 

Miss DeBaptiste has made an excellent record as a faithful and con- 
scientious teacher. By her moral character, as well as her work as a 
teacher in the class-room, she has left a lasting impression upon all 
who have been associated with her. 

The president of the Board of Regents said: 

We cheerfulh' speak of the faithfulness of Miss DeBaptiste as a 
teacher and of her lady-like deportment. 



356 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

The secretary of the Board said: 

We accept Miss DeBaptiste's resignation with regret, but with full 
confidence and respect. She has given evidence of excellent training, 
clear discernment, upright character, irreproachable demeanor, ear- 
nestness and ability, and I cheerfully speak of her as a lad}^ and a 
teacher. 

It was the intention of Miss DeBaptiste, when resign- 
ing, to rest from her very taxing labors of teaching for 
a time and assist her father in his work, but the Baptist 
College, located at Macon City, Mo., was in need of 
teachers, and urged her acceptance of a position. Being 
desirous of doing all that she could for her race and her 
denomination, which she dearly loves, she went there 
and is earnestly striving to do all that she can. 

This is a young field, but prospects are most encour- 
aoingr. 

Miss DeBaptiste loves literary pursuits, and, although 
she has many pressing duties, she has not given up this 
work. She aims to be one of real power of mind and 
character, with true dignity of soul, not for mere social 
attainments, but that such might only be the outward 
expression of inward grace and courtesy. Miss DeBap- 
tiste is one of the progressive young women of the race. 
She is not only at home in the school-room, but also in 
social and literary circles as well as at the musical 
instrument. 

Courteous, sweet in temper, and yet of a decided and 
commanding bearing, charitable, devoted and true. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



.'55 7 



CHAPTEP. XCV. 



MISS RUTH LOWERY. 

As strange as it may appear, and equally as contrary 
to what was at first hoped for or expected, it is none the 
less an important and well established fact connected 
with the history of American slavery that many of the 




MISS EUTII LOWERY. 



now paying industries of the South were born in crude 
negro huts, as were also many of the modern and 
improved implements now so useful in the agricultural 
and domestic arts. In manv cases, however, the idea 
was seized by the stronger and more active element, who 



SoS WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

only carried into practical execution what had ah-eady 
been conceived and made known by his less favored con- 
temporary, to whom but little if any public credit was 
ever given for the suggestion. Like all normal human 
beino-s he had a mind and used it in such a wav as to 
accomplish the 7/ws^ possible with expenditure of the 
least amount of energy. And thus there was proven to 
be a real and true inventive and ever active genius 
running through the very being of this enslaved people. 

And now with the opportunities which many of them 
are well using to improve both their mental and material 
condition the present is only a positive index to the dis- 
closure of much of this latent force in the near future. 

Still more strange and amusing is the fact that it was 
left for a negro female to pave the way and introduce 
the silk culture into the great and wealthy State of Ala- 
bama. 

As it is the custom of many of our more favored 
friends to attribute any of our important accomplish- 
ments to the "white blood infused into the veins of 
some of us" we take pleasure in calling attention to her 
portrait, which proves to be that of a pure African. 

This woman was Ruth lyowery, of Huntsville, 
Alabama. While w^e are thus musing with a mind 
filled with more facts than we have either space or ability 
to write we are pleased to quote the following from 
Frank Leslie^ s Newspaper of August 17, 1878, which is 
quite convincing: 

In the "New South " there is neither room for drones nor brainless 
people ; capital finds read}'' and profitable investment ; labor, skilled 
and conscientious, reasonable employment. In looking over the new 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. .JoO 

industries, either in the full tide of success or in encouraj^ing ])rogress, 
it is really singular that it has been left for poor colored people to 
inaugurate an enterprise that capital and experience have long tried 
in vain to establish in this country. The stor}' of the inception of 
silk culture in Alabama possesses elements of a highly romantic char- 
acter, and the condition to which Mr. Samuel Lowery has brought 
the industry at Huntsville shows that the State may become the peer 
of France in this great business. 

Mr. Lowery was born in Nashville, Tenn., December 9, 1832, his 
father being Elder -Peter Lowery, a slave, who purchased the freedom 
of himself, his mother, three brothers, two sisters and a nephew, and 
became the first colored pastor of a church in the South, preaching in 
the Second Christian Church at Nashville from 1849 to 1S66. Ruth 
Mitchell — afterward the wife of the "Elder "—was a free woman, who 
devoted the results of her energy to the funds Peter had accumulated 
for the purchase of his freedom. The amount, ^1,000, was paid over 
forty-five years ago. The couple v\"ere married, and Samuel was the 
only child. At the age of twelve he was placed at Franklin College, 
Tenn., where, in spite of his color, he commanded the respect of the 
faculty and pupils. At the close of the war Samuel began reading 
law, and was the first colored man ever admitted to the vSupreme 
Court of Tennessee and the courts of Northern Alabama. In due 
time he married, and in 1875 he was directed, by curiosity, to call upon 
Mr. and Mrs. Theobold, at Nashville, who had brought some silk-worm 
eggs from England. His daughters, Ruth and Anna, accompanied 
him. Upon hearing Mrs. Theobold describe the methods of raising 
the worm Ruth became so deeply interested that she begged her 
father to purchase some of the eggs and give her leave to try the experi- 
ment of hatching them. To this he consented, and shortl}- after the 
family removed to Huntsville, where he opened a school. His daugh- 
ters introduced sewing, knitting and needle-work among the poor 
girls, and began preparations for hatching the eggs. Having no books 
to advise her, Ruth received all her knowledge of the subject from 
that stern but thorough teacher, experience. 

During the first season the Corporation of Huntsville granted her a 
large w^hite mulberry in the midst of the city, upon the leaves of 
which her first worms were fed. This tree is perennial in Southern 
Alabama, but drops its leaves in from four to six weeks in the latitude 
of Huntsville. It is not troubled with parasites, and the worms fed 



360 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

upon it have proved unusually health}-. She made sixteen spools of 
strong silk, spun some with a device of her own, and saved about one 
thousand good eggs for the second season. For the spools she received 
premiums from the Huntsville Mechanical and Agricultural Fair. 
Having become satisfied of the ultimate success of the enterprise, the 
Lower}- family and the boys and girls in the school devoted all their 
time not required by the curriculum of the institution to the eggs and 
worms. This first success attracted considerable attention among the 
prominent citizens, and generous offers of assistance were made by 
some of the large landed proprietors, who saw in the introduction of 
the new cultivation a source of wealth capable of well-nigh indefinite 
development. Among those who take an active interest in the intro- 
duction of the silk-worm culture is one of the ante-belhttii Governors 
of the State, Reuben Chapman, on whose estate Mr. Lowery's Indus- 
trial Academy is situated. 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCTION. 



3(n 



CHAPTER XCVI. 



MADAM SELIKA. 



As Afro- Americans there are many conditions and cir- 
cumstances that tend to make life dreary and discourag- 
ing. Some of these difficulties are the results of our 
own life and thoughts, and constitute the foe within us; 




MADAM SELIKA. 



some are also due to circumstances over which we have 
but little or no control, and constitute the foe from with- 
out. 

After all that seems dark and burdensome along our 
pathway we should feel that our condition to-day is far 



362 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

in advance of our condition one quarter of a century 
ago. We suffer, as a matter of course, much more than 
some other races at present, and yet possibly not more 
than others who have occupied a similar position. 

Let us look up and look forward, patiently laboring 
and waiting and praying for a better day with greater 
and more lasting- blessinos. 

To do this one must grasp every opportunity for mak- 
ing a step forward. 

As the years roll on, and as we ripen with the expe- 
rience we shall gather, we may do our part in giving 
prestige to this race by economy and thrift and watch- 
fulness. 

Among those womanly characters that have done so 
much along this line is to be mentioned Madam Selika, 
who has well been called the "charming, enchanting- 
singer." This lady seems to have achieved a victory in 
the beginning of her career as a public musical artist. 
We commend her achievements as worthy inspirations 
to many of our young women who already possess great 
and wonderful talents, who have many opportunities for 
improvement of same, and who seem to be greatly 
favored by nature in the distribution of certain special 
gifts. Each of you can do something to bless your race 
and country. 

While you all cannot be a Selika, a Batson, a Harper, 
a Wheatley or a Brown in their special callings, you can 
be equally as great and as good in some other important 
calling. While we much regret that we cannot at this 
time present to our readers a full and just account of this 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. ;j(i:j 

great woman as an incentive, yet we are not to be 
blamed, as the facts were soicght and promised^ bnt never 
reached ns. 

However, we give the following from the Colored 
American as to her study, travels and accomplishments: 

RENOWNED IN EUROPE AND AMERICA. 

Just sixteen years ago there appeared on the stage in San Francisco 
a young colored woman who had spent three years in musical study 
under the great artist, Signora G. Bianchi. So great was the success of 
her debut that it became an ovation. This young woman was no other 
than Madani Selika. 

Beginning her career at this time, she has continued winning tri- 
umph after triumph over all the world, until now she holds the distin- 
guished honor of being the most skilled and most renowned of her race 
among the music-loving public. The Boston Herald, after compli- 
menting Madam Selika in high terms, sa3's: "Especially sweet are her 
upper tones." 

Madam Selika has not onh^ won triumphs in this country, but she 
traveled five years in Europe, winning laurels in German}-, France, 
Russia, Italy, Belgium, and England. A little over a year ago she 
made a triumphant tour over Norway and Sweden, receiving marked 
honors at Christiana. In London our distinguished race v.-oman 
appeared on the stage of St. James Hall in a concert given under the 
patronage of the Spanish Minister. The others of the programme 
were the renowned Madam Carlotta Patti, Madam Norwich, Messrs. 
Percy Blandford, Joseph Lynde, and Signor Vigara. 

Madam Selika is erecting a beautiful home in Cleveland, Ohio, and 
w411 soon retire from the stage to take a well-earned retirement. All 
who have not heard her should not lose another opportunity. Those 
who have listened to her charming voice will not fail to hear her on her 
last appearance. 



364 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



CHAPTER XCVII. 

GEORGIA ESTHER LEE PATTON, M. D. 

Born in Grundy county, Tenn., April 15, 1864, she 
attended the primary school in the town of Coffee in 
all about twenty-five months. In 1882 she entered the 
Central Tennessee College at Nashville. Beginning quite 
low in her classes, she pushed her way upwards from 
lower to higher until graduating from the higher normal 
department in 1890. Then she entered the medical depart- 
ment (Meharry Medical College), and from the first took a 
high stand in her studies, making ninety her standard. 
At first her thirty or more class-mates did not receive 
this new addition to their number with satisfaction, but 
sought to discourage her. Unmoved by their efforts she 
pushed her way to the top, and no doubt by her con- 
stancy some of them at times feared they might have to 
take a lower seat. 

However, she gained them (as a shrewd woman will 
most always do), and, unlike former ones of her sex, she 
stuck to her work like the ever "busy bee" and gradu- 
ated with honors in a class of thirty-six persons, she 
being the only female. This is the more remarkable 
when it is remembered that she had to remain out of 
school much of her time to earn her bread, having to 
depend upon her own will and strength for support as a 
student. It is again remarkable, yes simply wonderfuly 
when we who have traveled that road learn that her gen- 
eral average was ninety or thereabouts, and she spend- 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 



365 



ing only a part of her time at study. She sails for the 
"Dark Continent" of Africa sometime during this 
spring, 1893. May her example serve as a stimulus to 
others of her race and sex, that they may make similar 
marks of distinction in this noble profession! She car- 
ries with her our hearty good wishes and our "God- 
speed" in the good work of her mission. She will, no 
doubt, join in with the large number of her brethren 
(who are successfully practicing medicine all over this 
Southland) in sustaining the reputation of her Alma 
Mater^ which has done so much for the negro in medi- 
cine. We again assert that the practice of medicine by 
woman does not necessarily rob her of any of those good 
feminine traits of character. 



CHAPTER XCVIIL 



HIGHER EDUCATION FOR WOMEN. 



The dense darkness which for six thousand years has 
enA^eloped woman's intellectual life is rapidly disappear- 
ing before the rays of modern civilization. Advanced 
public sentiment says, "Let there be light," and there 
is light, but it is not that of a brilliant noonday; rather 
is it the brightness of a rising sun, destined to flood the 
world with glory. 

There are still many who, while advocating female 
education to a certain point, decry the necessity and the 



36G WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

propriety of giving to woman what is known as the 
higher education. By this term we mean that education 
involving the same head-training, having for its basis the 
same general studies deemed essential to our brothers, 
that education acquired only at the college and the uni- 
versity. 

The very fact that woman has a mind capable of infi- 
nite expansion is, in itself, an argument that she should 
receive the highest possible development. Man is placed 
here to .grow. It is his duty to make the most of the 
powers within him. Has any one a right to thwart 
him in these efforts, to shut him out from the means 
to this end, to say to him as concerns his educational 
training, "Thus far thou shalt go and no further"? 
This being true of man specifically, is no less true of 
man generically. Poets and novelists all agree in 
according to woman a heart, but in the practical treat- 
ment of subjects the fact should not be overlooked that 
she has also a head. The Martineaus, Hemans, Hannah 
Mores, George Eliots and Mrs. Brownings have not 
failed to make this demonstration. Admitting, for the 
sake of argument, that most women are intellectually 
inferior to most men, still, in the words of Plato, " Many 
women are in many things superior to many men." 
Should not those who have capacity and inclination be 
allowed to receive this higher education ? Should not those 
who have a gift be allowed to develop and to exercise it? 
If a woman has a message for the world, must she remain 
dumb ? Notwithstanding woman has been hedged in by 
certain artificial limitations from time almost immemo- 



WOMEN OF DLSTLNCTION. :^>(>7 

rial, the effort to repress powerful intellect, magnificent 
genius, because found in her person, has not always been 
successful. What a loss to the world had not Mrs. 
Stowe taken up her pen to depict the horrors of slave 
life, yet probably she would have darned a greater num- 
ber of stockings and sewed on more buttons had she 
desisted from such labors. Nor would we have had 
Ivucretia Mott withhold herself from public life, from 
her platform efforts as temperance reformer and anti- 
slavery agitator. "Something God had to say, to her" 
and through her to an erring people. 

Woman moulds and fashions society. Man's chival- 
rous deference gives her a pre-emiinence and an influence 
here which carry with them a proportionally great 
responsibility. The better the training she has received 
the better enabled will she be to perform the social duties 
devolving upon her. The more effectual the intellectual 
armor in which she encases herself the more prepared 
will she be to engage in the skirmishes of mind. Men 
adapt themselves to their company, and conversation in 
society does not rise above the level of its women. It 
is necessary, then, that woman be ready to meet man upon 
equal intellectual ground, that her mental equipment be 
not inferior to his own. We would not have social 
converse composed exclusively of discussions on the 
"ologies" or made up of quotations from the "little 
Latin and less Greek" learned in the schools, but the 
discipline gained by such scholastic training makes one 
undeniably brighter, wittier, more entertaining, capable 
of wielding a ercater influence for o^ood. The sa/o;is of 



368 AVOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

the intellectual women of France afford numerous 
examples of what ma}' be accomplished by woman in 
society. Who has not heard of Madames R^camier and 
Roland, of Madame de Sevigne, hated by I^ouis XIV.' 
because of her wit; of Madame de Stael, persecuted by 
Napoleon, who could not forgive her for being more 
clever than himself? These women, when old and 
faded, still charmed by grace and cultivation of mind. 
Loveliness of person is a rare gift, a precious boon to be 
duly appreciated, but only mind is truly beautiful. 

" Mind, miud alone, bear witness, earth and heaven; 

The living fountain in itself contains of beauteous and sublime ! Here 

hand in hand 
Sit paramount the graces." 

The possession of a higher education multiplies 
woman's bread-winning opportunities. This is a most 
important consideration. All women do not enter the 
domestic state, and even many who do are afterwards so 
situated as to require a resort to some means of earning 
their own living and that of others dependent upon them. 
What shall these women do? It is true that sewing is 
considered a very respectable occupation and nursing is 
certainly a most feminine employment, but some women 
have no desire to sing the song of the shirt and possess 
no taste for minding babies, least of all those of other 
people; besides, both of these avenues of female labor, 
as others of similar character, are overcrowded and but 
slightly remunerative. 

I repeat it, what is to be done with these women, 
seeking the means by which to earn their daily bread? 



WOMEN OF DLSTINCJTION. .'509 

Will )ou give them this liigher education, and thereby 
open doors to congenial and paying pursuits; or will 
you frown them down, and tempt to'dishonor by refusing 
the means of self-support?. '' Quoting Plato again: 
"Neither a woman as a woman nor a man as a man 
has any special function, but the gifts of nature are 
equally diffused in both sexes; all the pursuits of men 
are the pursuits of women als6." ; While I do not agree 
with the ancient sage in his comprehensive statement I 
do believe that if a woman has a gift for a particular 
calling and she is not debarred from that calling by the 
natural barrier of sex, it is both presumptions and unjust 
for man to attempt to restrain her, on the plea that the 
work for which nature has evidently designed her is 
unfeminine. Even men wntli wise and statesman-like 
views upon other subjects turn fanatics upon this. 
They would not have a woman lecture, because it would 
make her too public; as if publicity could harm one 
whose only desire is to do good work in a good cause. 
Nor would they have her a physician, because she must 
study "indelicate" subjects; as if to a pure-minded per- 
son the contemplation of the workmanship of these 
bodies, wondrously and divinely wrought, could be 
indelicate. 

Woman is for a helpmeet unto man. She is meant to 
be his assistant in every good work and his companion 
in the fullest sense of the word. Properly to sustain 
this relation she must needs have equal educational advan- 
tages. There can be no perfect companionship between 
two people one of whom is by far the intellectual supe- 

24 



370 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

rior of the other. The one will have thoughts, feelings 
and aspirsftions which the other can neither sympathize 
with nor understand. That wife whose mind has been 
equally broadened and deepened, who is capable of giv- 
ing wise counsels and judgments, and of intelligently 
aiding in the furtherance of their mutual aims, can alone 
be truly a helpmeet to her husband. "Verily, two can- 
not walk together except the}' be agreed." Many an 
eminent man attributes greatly his success to the clear 
head, as well as the loving heart, of the woman who is 
his wife. She is the power behind the throne, often 
more powerful than the monarch himself; hers may be 
the hand at the helm, moving noiselessly but most 
effectually. There are many unknown Caroline Her- 
schels, quietly aiding a brother or a husband on to fame. 

It is even more necessary that women be well edu- 
cated than men, for they are to be the mothers of future 
generations. Men make laws and institutions, but 
women make men. The child in the hands of its 
mother is as clay in the hands of the potter. It is hers 
to "rear the tender mind," to direct the infant thought, 
to impress the growing character. There can be no 
higher mission than this, no more responsible position, 
no calling requiring greater knowledge and wisdom. 

An ancient philosopher says: "The most important 
part of education is right training in the nursery. The 
soul of the child in his play should be trained in that 
sort of excellence in which when he grows up to man- 
hood he will have to be perfected." The learned Bacon 
and the great Washington were equally indebted to their 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. ^71 

mothers, because of the studiousness of the one and the 
broad culture of the other. No one can direct the early 
training of the child as can the mother herself; she 
gives a bias to the youthful mind which it is more than 
likely to retain. 

"'Tis education forms the common mind, 
Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined." 

Ought not women to have broad and full and able 
minds to perform aright the duties of motherhood? Is 
it not to the interest of society, of the state, of the 
nation, that women be liberally educated? To have the 
mothers ignorant would be through them to weaken the 
sons, and finally the commonwealth. 

"The hand that rocks the cradle, 
Is the hand that rules the world." 

Fear not to lend your influence for the higher educa- 
tion of woman. She will be none the less a woman 
when she has received such an education; she will have 
lost none of that grace and sweetness of character which 
men admire. Woman asks not of education to make 
her a man; she asks that herself be given back to her, 
but herself awakened, strengthened, elevated. Would 
you open new avenues of employment for her, would 
you render her a useful and independent member of 
society ? Then give her a higher education. Would 
you develop the hidden resources of her mind, would 
von fit her to raise the tone and character of societv ? 
Give her a higher education. Would you have her 
assist her husband in his vexed problems of thought? 



372 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

Would you have her his companion in intellectual and 
spiritual life? Would you have her train her children 
aright and be a fountain of knowledge to her family? 
Then give her a higher education. 

Mrs. Josephine Turpin Washington. 



CHAPTER XCIX. 

INFLUENCE OF NEGRO WOMEN IN THE 

HOME.* 

That a large part of the great negro population in 
America is yet in a condition of ignorance^ superstition 
and poverty is evident, and that this present condition is a 
natural sequence of a former and more wretched condi- 
tion, no one who is well acquainted with the real circum- 
stances can truthfully deny; and that another large part 
of the race has made unparalleled advancement far in 
excess of what was naturally expected at the close of the 
late war, and that as an American citizen the negro 
has already been a success in every avenue and avocation 
in which he has been permitted to freely operate and 
compete, cannot be truthfully denied. 

Now let us for a moment assume that he is ignorant^ 



*In the preparation of this book it has occurred to the author that some space 
should be devoted to the consideration of our women in a general wa3% and espe- 
cially as to their efforts in building up our race enterprises and their special work 
in the home. 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. M:i 

superstitions and poor. Is that any more than could have 
been naturally expected of a people who have been from 
under the yoke of bondage only thirty years, and who 
came into citizenship in one day more than four millions 
in number without a dollar and without an established 
credit for one dollar's worth, or is it possible that the 
world has so little of the sense of justice or charity for an 
oppressed people as to expect them en masse to become a 
perfect people in one-quarter of a century — a thing that 
no race has ever done? To expect this of the negro is 
simply to acknowledge that he possesses ability far supe- 
rior to that of other races, which is not true. 

It is amazingly strange to note the scrutiny that some 
of our friends bring into use at times to avoid giving the 
negro due credit for many of his good deeds, and at the 
same time to note their willingness to magnify and pub- 
lish to the world his mistakes. Can our friends in 
America not afford to be just ? 

After all, it would seem that somehow, and certainly 
w^ithout good reason, the "negro is the American bone of 
contention." He is discussed and abused by a large part 
of the public press and upon the stump and public plat- 
form in almost every conceivable and unfair manner. 
Conventions are called in the North and in the South in 
which they discuss the zvhat to do with him and what to 
do for him v/ithout ever asking him or his representa- 
tives to meet them and discuss tJie iiow to let him alone^ 
other than to help him become a man like all other good 
men. Some Legislatures pass discriminating law^s against 
him, some (and many) courts of justice pass upon him 



574 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

and his case without regard to his rights before the law 
of t]]e just. 

Mob violence hunts him by day and by night like the 
fierce lion of the forest in search of his prey. In the 
name of our glorious American flag we ask, Why is 
this so? He is not responsible as yet for his condition. 
He is in no way responsible for his presence in America, 
being brought here against his own will. 

And surely he is a human being, created in the image 
of a just God, who made alike the black man^ the white 
man^ the red man and the Chinavian in His own image. 

Surely the God who rules in heaven and in earth with- 
out error, and who is void of partiality in any form, 
would not be partial in dealing with the highest order of 
His created beings. 

In 2 Samuel, 14:14, we read: "Neither doth God 
respect any person. " In i Peter, 1:17, we read: "Who, 
without respect of persons, judgeth according to every 
man's work." We read in Acts 17:26: "Hath made of 
one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face 
of the earth." In addition to these references the whole 
account of redemption through Jesus Christ shows beyond 
all question that God has not only been just in creating 
all men equals but has further manifested that justice by 
His provisions for the redemption of all men through 
the one medinm^ the blood of His crucified Son, Jesus 
Christ. 

It would seem to the writer that to charge God with 
partiality in the creation or redemption of man is simply 
to deny that He is just, which is to deny Him of an 



WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. .'575 

important attribute. In addition to this the great Alex- 
ander Von Humboldt has truthfully said, "There is no 
typical sharpness of division among men, all being inter- 
fusible." His well-known and able brother, William, has 
said, "There is no real inferiority of race." The schol- 
arly J. L. M. Curry, D. D., LL.D., has said, "There is 
no caste in mind." The distinguished and philosophic 
Dr. Thomas has said also, "The whole drift of scientific 
reasoning tends to the conclusion that there is really but 
one race modified and modifiable by environments." 

Upon the above evidence, gathered from the Book of 
books and the writings of wise and scholarly men in 
recent days, we submit as a reasonable conclusion (i) 

THAT ALL MEN ARE BY CREATION EQUALLY ENDOWED; (2) 
THAT UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS ALL MEN ARE, TO THE 
SAME EXTENT, CAPABLE OF INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT. 

Whatever, therefore, has been said above as appli- 
cable to man in his high calling is equally and to the 
same extent applicable to woman in her equally high 
sphere. 

Whatever one woman has done in the development of 
home and home-life among her fellow-creatures others 
of her sex can also do. 

Whatever of good qualities are applicable to American 
or English women are also applicable to Afro- American' 
women under similar circumstances. 

In fact, we need to lay more stress upon our capabili- 
ties to do whatever God has enjoined upon us. 

Let us not be too easily discouraged, but let us learn 
more to labor and to wait for results. 



37() AVOMEX OF DISTIXCTIOX. 

It seems to be quite true that our noble women possess 
more of this quality than our men, and I am not certain 
if our women in the home are not the nio.st poivcvfiil ^wd^ 
progrcssiz'c and substantial agencies of the race. 

In tlieir quiet and often unseen work of building up, 
preserving, maintaining and purif\ing tlie home they 
are certainly ^^ the poivcr beJiiiid tJic tJirouc'^ in many 
instances; and although often kept back, discouraged 
and haltered, so to speak, b}- the jealousy and tyranny 
of the leould-bc and so-called lords of creation, still they 
push forward. 

The author has taken special pains to inquire of a 
o-reat naanv successful business and professional men of 
both races as to the causes of eitliCr tlieir success or fail- 
itre, and the reply has come as expected from both. 

Whenever one of our race has freelv and willinolv 
stated tlie cause of his success it has been attributed to 
the influence of a niotJier or sister or wife, while on the 
other hand, they have almost invariably attributed tlie 
causes of their failures to their refusal to be advised by 
inotJier or sister or leife. 

X'ow while we do not intend to underrate the importance 
of man's work in the betterment of his own condition, 
and while we do not desi^'e to be understood as advocat- 
ing what is often called an apron-string government nor 
the subjugation of man by woman, yet we do desire to 
emphatically teach (and to urge) that a hearty co-opera- 
tion of man and woman in all worthy undertakings 
whenever possible is the most hopeful means of success. 

We believe that man and woman are created equal. 



WOMEN OF J)J8Th\(;ilON. 877 

He seems to be refined and encoiivnged and purified onl)- 
as she herself is refined and purified and enconra,iL^ed to 
look high and labor for the betterment of man. vShe 
does not seem to be created as man's slave. vShe is cer- 
tainly not his beast of burden. She is not created to 
follow, necessarily, in all things, but seems to be rather 
his equal, and therefore belongs at his side, and is his 
companion in the truest sense. 

We have only to recall to mind the nations and indi- 
viduals of ancient, mediaeval and modern times to remind 
ourselves of a chain of testimony clearly proving that 
man has scarcely ever risen higher as a matter of fact, nor 
has had even higher ideals than the corresponding posi- 
tion which woman has occupied as his immediate asso- 
ciate. 

Man's estimation of woman seems to be a true index 
to his own worth and condition. Now, then, if she is 
his equal, an associate and companion, then surely she 
is capable at least of helping and encouraging him to 
become whatever God has intended tliat he should be. 
In no place is she a more necessary power than in the 
home. 

I. As a mother she may, to a great extent, assist in 
shaping our destiny, (i). The child^ s physical develop- 
ment will largely depend upon the condition of the home 
and the care and conduct of the mother. If the moral 
and hygienic suroundings have been good, then we may 
expect a good physical development. These she may 
greatly modify. Let the home be attractive, neat, pleas- 
ant and pure. (2). The child^s moral development is 



378 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

greatly modified by the condition of the home. Suffice 
it to say that the home, as far as possible, should be a 
model Christian home, presided over by. a gentle, loving 
mother, whose influence for good falls as constantly and 
as gently and as effectually upon the child as do the dews 
of night upon the tender plant. Kindness, w^ith suffi- 
cient restraining positiveness, may often command a 
loving and willing obedience when all other powers may 
fail so to do. Who knows but that in this or that Chris- 
tian home is being trained some great character, possi- 
bly a philosopher, a historian, a scholar, the president 
or queen of some great nation, a great reformer or con- 
queror? Who can tell what the extent of that home's 
influence shall be? 

One thing is certain, however, that the influences of 
the home will be just what the home is, and the home 
will be largely what the woman of the home makes it. 
If the queen of a great and good home, then there 
will radiate therefrom great and good influences. 

(3). Intellectual development. Children are great imi- 
tators, both by inheritance and by acquisition of the 
habit. It is quite possible that even the acts of childish 
imitation serve as little whetstones, so to speak, to the 
little mind in giving it sharpness, and at the same time 
as an exercise may do much by assisting in the develop- 
ment of the same. Whether true or not, it does seem 
that the more intelligently the powers of the mind are 
brought into play in early life, the more readily that 
mind will acquire knowledge, all things else being equal. 
The more intelligent the home and home surroundings^ 



WOMEN OF DISTINCriMON. :579 

tlie more intelligent, as a rule, are the offspring of that 
home. It is here the child gets an idea of its own intel- 
lectual powers. It is in the home it seems to get its first 
ideas of becoming wdiat it seems to see in others of its 
surroundings, whether good or evil. It is generally true 
that a child reared in an intelligent home has a more tena- 
cious memory than one of opposite situation, yet this 
may not always prove true. The fact that one child at 
some time, or at all times in its history, shows more apt- 
ness and acquires more readily than another is no argu- 
ment in favor of the superiority of one mind, b}' creation, 
over tlie other; no more than the fact that one organ 
in the same body, or a set of organs in the same body, 
is created superior to the other, simply because one organ 
or one set of organs in that body is better developed than 
the other; nor is it any more so than the fact that the 
muscles of one arm are better developed than those of 
the other arm, because one arm has had the advantage 
of a more complete development. Suffice it to say, 
how^ever, that the home should be as intelligent as cir- 
cumstances will allow, and yet there are many good 
homes that are not so brilliant as those some would call 
intelligent, and yet they are intelligent; they are full of 
good sense, wdsdom, virtue, piety and thrift. From these 
homes have come many of our best men and women. 
Such homes are practical and greatly beneficial. 

II. As a sister she may wield an influence at times 
more powerful than the mother, for many times she can 
find out the tendencies of a brother or sister long before 
the mother observes them. She is often taken more into 



380 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

confidence (and yet no friend should be regarded more 
confidential than mother), but somehow it is true that 
they, as children, talk of tiieir desires and inclinations 
so that even in early childhood an older sister may do 
much good in assisting the mother in the care and well- 
being of the children. When her influence is combined 
with that of the mother, she may be even more power- 
ful. The two constitute possibly the greatest powder of 
the ho.me, and especially so in giving counsel to those 
who are approaching w^omanhood and manhood, and are 
formulating their plans for the future. The restraining 
influence of a sister is far-reaching in its effects. It may 
haunt even an older brother in the midst of his wildest 
deeds and reclaim him therefrom. 

How many young men, talented young men, have 
been saved by the tears and pleadings of an affectionate 
sister even when the fleecy locks of a tender mother were 
of no effect. She has often led to the mercy-seat a way- 
ward brother whom God has greatly blessed and used as 
a means of saving thousands of souls. 

III. As a 7uife. Possibly woman is never so powerful 
as when queen of her own home — the wife of a faithful 
husband. Here she mav reio-n in the fullness of her 
power and to the fullest extent of her love and sympa- 
thies, with almost unlimited interest and a never dying- 
satisfaction. She is indeed a queen in the full sense of 
the word; the ideal of a fond husband whom she serves 
and loves and obeys as a part of the joys of her life and the 
aspirations of her soul. Here her influence upon the 
community is most powerful as a neighbor and a sympa- 



WOMEN OF J)I8TIN(;TI0X. :;81 

thizer with the afflicted and unfortunate, a model of 
good works, a teacher of faithfulness and an adminis- 
trator of impartial justice. 

Presiding over a quiet home with dignity, and at the 
same time with almost unlimited love and interest, is 
truly a condition of a home that is a most wisely bestowed 
blessing upon any people or community. 

A]\ these positions of trust and great responsibility 
have been well filled by our women for more than a 
quarter of a century. 

Beginning life as they did, unthoiit a home and witli- 
out the means with which to buy a home, yet, as deter- 
mined as if Spartan soldiers, they placed homes where 
there were no homes, and at once became the queens 
thereof. Negro women have done more for the peculiar 
growth and development of their race than the women 
of any other people. In fact, negro women have been 
the life of nearly every negro enterprise now in exist- 
ence. Without her the Church would be a mere name, 
and the ministry would scarcely eat bread. 

They have been the life of the schools, and, indeed, 
many of our great men and women have been educated 
bv the money earned by the hard and unceasing efforts 
of our women. By the sweat of their brow and b\' the 
powers of their brain and muscle our zuonicn liave made 
statesmen, lawyers, preachers, doctors, teachers, artists 
and mechanics, many of wdiom have coped with the best 
brain of America. The negro has successfully operated 
in every avocation in which it has been his privilege to 
enter, in both State and national affairs. By what 



382 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION. 

power was he impelled and sustained if not by the con- 
stancy of Afro- American women? 

As our women have been great in the past they may 
be even more in the future. The race Ueeds men, not 
only educated and scholarly, but men with will-power, 
and, if possible, with a steel backbone ; men who once 
seeing- the right will maintain the same in the protection 
of home and home's dearest interests. We need man 
in some of our men ; and most naturally we need men 
and money. 

To our own true women alone w^e must look largely 
for these necessities. They preside over the home, they 
train the children of the home, and they will develop 
men and women in the home. 



North Carolina Slate Library 
Ralei<?h 



RINGWOOD'S 

ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE 



IS DEVOTED TO THE 



DOMESTIC, MORAL, SOCIAL, EDUCA- 
TIONAL and ARTISTIC interests of 
our women and our girls. 



THE FOLLOWING NAMED LADIES ARE CONTRIBUTORS THERETO: 

Mrs. Bishop B. F. Lee, Philadelphia, Pa.; Miss Sarah Mitchell, 
Cleveland, Ohio; Miss LiLLiAN Lewis, Boston, Mass.; Mrs. S. L 
Shorter, Wilberforce, Ohio ; Mrs. J. Silone-Yates, Kansas 
City, Mo.; Mrs. E. C. Nesbit, Cincinnati, Ohio; Mrs. M. C. 
Terrell, Washington, D. C; "Victoria Earle," New York; 
Rev. C. W. MOSSELL, M. A., Lockport, N. Y. 



We can employ a number of responsible, energetic 
yoiuig women and men as agents in all parts of the 
country. 

Enclose ten cents for sample, and zcrite for particu- 
lars to 

Mrs. I RINGWOOD COSTOH, Editor, 

&6 HAR?vlO?C STREET, 

CLEYELAM). OHIO. 

«- 



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ECKSTEIN NORTON UNIVERSITY, CANE SPRING, KY. 



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