Monday, March 11, 2019

Celebrating Women Who Make a Difference!

"I glorified you on earth having
accomplished the work you gave
me to do," (John 17:4 ESV)
Greeting Sister Soldiers!  The fight continues as we enter into another year of successes and defeats both secular and within our Christian circles.  

On a good note, a record 117 women won political elections in the November 2018 elections.  Forty-two of those were women of color.  So 2019 started off with more feminine faces than the year before....maybe now we'll get some things done!

 Women still constitute more than half of the congregants in mainstream Christian churches according to a recent Pew Research poll.  That means that God is definitely using our gifts and skills and our ministries are making a Kingdom difference!  However,
 women the most religious worldwide, are also the most persecuted!

In an Open Doors report on persecution of Christians it was found that atrocities visited upon women are much different than those for men.  Women are kidnapped, raped, and sometimes forced to marry their captors.  If they are later rescued some must leave their children behind and are then shunned by family and community.  This is a type of sexual warfare resurfacing and being used (see link below).

Cheaper to Rape A Woman than Waste a Bullet

But praise the Lord! The world just can't keep us down!  I am so happy to be part of a gender of survivors!  And that's why I welcome the opportunity to celebrate women not only this month, International Women History Month, but every day of each month!

My February post featured Black History reflections in recognition of the month.  Yes, it was a bit on the negative side but I truly believe what George Santayana said:  Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!  So let me redeem myself by sharing with you something more positive this time.  

I mentioned in that post, The Green Book by author, Victor H. Green. It was a traveler's guide for blacks from 1936-1967 in racially torn America.  I'm ashamed to say that I'd never heard of it!  Now that a movie by the same name has won an Oscar for Best Picture, more of us are acquainted with its significance.  I've still not seen the movie but was fortunate to catch a documentary on the Smithsonian Channel the other day: The Green Book: Guide to Freedom.

It showed the ingenuity and business prowess of many blacks forced to fill the void of decent accommodations for black travelers, i.e.,  hotels, restaurants, rest stops, etc.  Advertisement for these businesses were published in The Green Book, and many of the most successful ones were owned by black women! One in particular was entrepreneur Alberta Ellis, owner of Alberta's Hotel in Springfield, Missouri, a prominent establishment on the famous Route 66 of the 1940s and 1950s.

Miss Alberta, as she was known, worked for the Bell Telephone Company.  She used her wages to initially start an eatery, and then parlayed those earnings into ownership of a hotel.  With $10,000 in cash, she purchased and renovated an old hospital up for auction.  The finished project included a beauty salon, barber shop and dining room.  It was frequented by celebrities such as Nat King Cole and the Harlem Globetrotters.

She later acquired a farm and was positioned to build an empire of sorts until racism reared its ugly head.  Alberta eventually lost the hotel through eminent domain and the various stresses she endured hastened her demise.  She died in her early fifties.  But what a trailblazer she was for young business women today who now have a model for both brains and beauty!

Another firebrand personality featured in the documentary was civil rights pioneer, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, owner of Motel Simkins in Columbia, South Carolina.  She too  owned a hotel but was also co-founder and employee of Victory Bank, the first black-owned bank in South Carolina.  Her passion for better health and education for the poor caused her to start the South Carolina Conference of the N.A.A.C.P.   This conference held planning meetings that championed the renowned Brown vs. Board of Education court case ending school segregation in America.

Modjeska Simkins, endured much discrimination in her lifetime.  Her hotel was attacked several times by local racists.  Her name was besmirched during the McCarthy Red Scare era, and suffered many other forms of harassment.  Yet, she like Alberta Ellis were among the unsung heroes of the twentieth century who left legacies that inspired men and women for years to come!

As a Christian blogger you may wonder why I chose to highlight these two since I have no idea of their religious background.  Unfortunately, none of the resources I came across mentioned their personal histories.  But this I know.

These women discovered their purpose early in life and hatred and bigotry could not deter them.  They knew that they were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).  Their passion was fueled by a spirit of service  and kindness to others -  For I was hungry and you fed me.  I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you invited me in (Matthew 25:35).  They persevered and accomplished the work God gave them to do (John 17:4).  And To God goes all the glory!!  These attributes among others make them as much like 
Jesus as any Christian I know!


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