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Title: Women of Achievement - Written for the Fireside Schools
Author: Brawley, Benjamin Griffith, 1882-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Women of Achievement

Written for The Fireside Schools

Under the auspices of the

Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society



Dean of Morehouse College

Author of "A Short History of the American Negro," "The Negro in
Literature and Art," "Your Negro Neighbor," Etc.

    Copyright, 1919
    by the
    Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society.


    I. Introduction.--The Negro Woman in American Life.

    II. Harriet Tubman.

    III. Nora Gordon.

    IV. Meta Warrick Fuller.

    V. Mary McLeod Bethune.

    VI. Mary Church Terrell.

[Illustration: JOANNA P. MOORE]


The work of the Fireside Schools was begun in 1884 by Joanna P. Moore,
who was born in Clarion County, Pennsylvania, September 26, 1832, and
who died in Selma, Alabama, April 15, 1916. For fifty years Miss Moore
was well known as an earnest worker for the betterment of the Negro
people of the South. Beginning in the course of the Civil War, at Island
No. 10, in November, 1863, she gave herself untiringly to the work to
which she felt called. In 1864 she ministered to a group of people at
Helena, Arkansas. In 1868 she went to Lauderdale, Mississippi, to help
the Friends in an orphan asylum. While she was at one time left
temporarily in charge of the institution cholera broke out, and eleven
children died within one week; but she remained at her post until the
fury of the plague was abated. She spent nine years in the vicinity of
New Orleans, reading the Bible to those who could not read, writing
letters in search of lost ones, and especially caring for the helpless
old women that she met. In 1877 the Woman's American Baptist Home
Mission Society gave her its first commission.

The object of the Fireside Schools is to secure the daily prayerful
study of God's word by having this read to parents and children
together; to teach parents and children, husbands and wives, their
respective duties one to another; to supply homes with good reading
matter; and also to inculcate temperance, industry, neighborly
helpfulness, and greater attention to the work of the church. The
publication of _Hope_, the organ of the Fireside Schools, was begun in
1885. Closely associated with the Schools are the Bible Bands, a single
band consisting of any two or three people in the same church or
neighborhood who meet to review the lessons in _Hope_ and to report and
plan Christian work. All the activities are under the general
supervision of the Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society, though
the special Fireside School headquarters are at 612 Gay Street,
Nashville, Tennessee. The present work is dedicated to the memory of
Joanna P. Moore, and to the wives and mothers and sisters, now happily
numbered by the thousands, who are engaged in the work of the Fireside



The Negro Woman in American Life

In the history of the Negro race in America no more heroic work has been
done than that performed by the Negro woman. The great responsibilities
of life have naturally drifted to the men; but who can measure the
patience, the love, the self-sacrifice of those who in a more humble way
have labored for their people and even in the midst of war striven most
earnestly to keep the home-fires burning? Even before emancipation a
strong character had made herself felt in more than one community; and
to-day, whether in public life, social service, education, missions,
business, literature, music, or even the professions and scholarship,
the Negro woman is making her way and reflecting credit upon a race that
for so many years now has been struggling to the light.

It was but natural that those should first become known who were
interested in the uplift of the race. If we except such an unusual and
specially gifted spirit as Phillis Wheatley, we shall find that those
who most impressed the American public before the Civil War were the
ones who best identified themselves with the general struggle for
freedom. Outstanding was the famous lecturer, Sojourner Truth. This
remarkable woman was born of slave parents in the state of New York
about 1798. She recalled vividly in her later years the cold, damp
cellar-room in which slept the slaves of the family to which she
belonged, and where she was taught by her mother to repeat the Lord's
Prayer and to trust God at all times. When in the course of the process
of gradual emancipation in New York she became legally free in 1827, her
master refused to comply with the law. She left, but was pursued and
found. Rather than have her go back, however, a friend paid for her
services for the rest of the year. Then there came an evening when,
searching for one of her children that had been stolen and sold, she
found herself without a resting-place for the night. A Quaker family,
however, gave her lodging. Afterwards she went to New York City, joined
a Methodist church, and worked hard to improve her condition. Later,
having decided to leave New York for a lecture tour through the East,
she made a small bundle of her belongings and informed a friend that
her name was no longer _Isabella_, as she had been known, but
_Sojourner_. Afterwards, as she herself said, finding that she needed
two names she adopted _Truth_, because it was intended that she should
declare the truth to the people. She went on her way, lecturing to
people wherever she found them assembled and being entertained in many
aristocratic homes. She was entirely untaught in the schools, but tall
and of commanding presence, original, witty, and always suggestive. The
stories told about her are numberless; but she was ever moved by an
abiding trust in God, and she counted among her friends many of the most
distinguished Americans of her time. By her tact and her gift of song
she kept down ridicule, and by her fervor and faith she won many friends
for the anti-slavery cause.

It was impossible of course for any single woman to carry on the
tradition of such a character as Sojourner Truth. She belonged to a
distinct epoch in the country's history, one in which the rights of the
Negro and the rights of woman in general were frequently discussed on
the same platform; and she passed--so far as her greatest influence was
concerned--with her epoch. In more recent years those women who have
represented the race before the larger public have been persons of more
training and culture, though it has been practically impossible for any
one to equal the native force and wit of Sojourner Truth. Outstanding in
recent years have been Mrs. Booker T. Washington and Mrs. Mary Church
Terrell. The spread of culture, however, and the general force of the
social emphasis have more and more led those who were interested in
social betterment to come together so that there might be the greater
effect from united effort. Thus we have had developing in almost all of
our cities and towns various clubs working for the good of the race,
whether the immediate aim was literary culture, an orphanage, an old
folks' home, the protection of working girls, or something else
similarly noble. Prominent among the pioneers in such work were Mrs.
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, of Boston, and Mrs. John T. Cook, of
Washington, D. C. No one can record exactly how much has been
accomplished by these organizations; in fact, the clubs range all the
way in effectiveness from one that is a dominating force in its town to
one that is struggling to get started. The result of the work, however,
would in any case sum up with an astonishing total. A report from
Illinois, fairly representative of the stronger work, mentioned the
following activities: "The Cairo hospital, fostered and under the
supervision of the Yates Club of Cairo; the Anna Field Home for Girls,
Peoria; Lincoln Old Folks' and Orphans' Home, founded by Mrs. Eva Monroe
and assisted by the Women's Club of Springfield; the Home for Aged and
Infirm Colored People, Chicago, founded by Mrs. Gabrella Smith and
others; the Amanda Smith Orphans' Home, Harvey; the Phillis Wheatley
Home for Wage-Earning Girls, of Chicago." In Alabama the State
Federation of Colored Women's Clubs has established and is supporting a
reformatory at Mt. Meigs for Negro boys, and the women are very
enthusiastic about the work. A beautiful and well ordered home for Negro
girls was established a few years ago in Virginia. Of the White Rose
Mission of New York we are told that it "has done much good. A large
number of needy ones have found shelter within its doors and have been
able to secure work of all kinds. This club has a committee to meet the
incoming steamers from the South and see that young women entering the
city as strangers are directed to proper homes." All such work is
touching in its tenderness and effectiveness. The National Association
of Colored Women's Clubs was founded in 1896. The organization has
become stronger and stronger until it is now a powerful and effective
one with hundreds of members. One of its recent activities has been the
purchase of the home of Frederick Douglass at Anacostia, D. C.

In education, church life, and missions--special forms of social
service--we have only to look around us to see what the Negro woman is
accomplishing. Not only is she bearing the brunt of common school
education for the race; in more than one instance a strong character,
moved to do something, has started on a career of success a good
secondary or industrial school. Representative are the Voorhees Normal
and Industrial School, at Denmark, S. C., founded by Elizabeth C.
Wright; the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls,
founded by Mrs. M. M. Bethune; and the Mt. Meigs Institute, Mt. Meigs,
Alabama, founded by Miss Cornelia Bowen. Noteworthy for its special
missionary emphasis is the National Training School of Washington, of
which Miss Nannie H. Burroughs is the head. One of the most important
recent developments in education has been the appointment of a number
of young women as supervisors in county schools under the terms of the
will of Anna T. Jeanes, a Quaker lady of Philadelphia who left a
considerable sum of money for the improvement of the rural schools of
the South. In church work we all know the extent to which women have had
to bear the burden not only of the regular activities but also of the
numerous "rallies" that still so unfortunately afflict our churches.
Deserving of special mention in connection with social service is the
work of those who have labored under the auspices of the Young Women's
Christian Association, which has done so much for the moral well-being
of the great camps in the war. In foreign mission work one of the
educational institutions sustained primarily by Northern Baptist
agencies--Spelman Seminary--stands out with distinct prominence. Not
only has Spelman sent to Africa several of her daughters from this
country, the first one being Nora Gordon in 1889; she has also educated
several who have come to her from Africa, the first being Lena Clark,
and for these the hope has ever been that they would return to their own
country for their largest and most mature service.

In the realm of business the Negro woman has stood side by side with her
husband in the rise to higher things. In almost every instance in which
a man has prospered, investigation will show that his advance was very
largely due to the faith, the patience, and the untiring effort of his
wife. Dr. B. T. Washington, in his book _The Negro in Business_, gave
several examples. One of the outstanding instances was in the story of
Junius G. Groves, famous potato grower of Edwardsville, Kansas. This man
moved from his original home in Kentucky to Kansas at the time of the
well-known "Exodus" of 1879, a migration movement which was even more
voluntary on the part of the Negro than the recent removal to the North
on the part of so many, this latter movement being in so many ways a
result of war conditions. Mr. Groves in course of time became a man of
large responsibilities and means. It is most interesting, however, to go
back to his early days of struggle. We read as follows: "Soon after
getting the crop planted Mr. Groves decided to marry. When he reached
this decision he had but seventy-five cents in cash, and had to borrow
enough to satisfy the demands of the law. But he knew well the worth and
common sense of the woman he was to marry. She was as poor in worldly
goods as himself; but their poverty did not discourage them in their
plans. * * * * During the whole season they worked with never-tiring
energy, early and late; with the result that when the crop had been
harvested and all debts paid they had cleared $125. Notwithstanding
their lack of many necessaries of life, to say nothing of comforts, they
decided to invest $50 of their earnings in a lot in Kansas City, Kansas.
They paid $25 for a milk cow, and kept the remaining $50 to be used in
the making of another crop." In the course of a few years Mr. Groves,
with the help of his wife, now the mother of a large family, gathered in
one year hundreds of thousands of bushels of white potatoes, surpassing
all other growers in the world. Similarly was the success of E. C.
Berry, a hotel-keeper of Athens, Ohio, due to his wife. "At night, after
his guests had fallen asleep, it was his custom to go around and gather
up their clothes and take them to his wife, who would add buttons which
were lacking, repair rents, and press the garments, after which Mr.
Berry would replace them in the guests' rooms. Guests who had received
such treatment returned again and brought their friends with them." In
course of time Mr. and Mrs. Berry came to own the leading hotel in
Athens, one of fifty rooms and of special favor with commercial

Such examples could be multiplied indefinitely. It is not only in such
spheres that the worth of the Negro woman has been shown, however.
Daily, in thousands of homes, in little stores and on humble farms,
effort just as heroic has been exerted, though the result is not always
so evident. On their own initiative also women are now engaging in large
enterprises. The most conspicuous example of material success is
undoubtedly Mme. C. J. Walker, of the Mme. C. J. Walker Manufacturing
Company, of Indianapolis and New York, a business that is now conducted
on a large scale and in accordance with the best business methods of
America. Important also in this connection is the very great
contribution that Negro women--very often those without education and
opportunity--are making in the ordinary industrial life of the country.
According to the census of 1910, 1,047,146, or 52 per cent. of those at
work, were either farmers or farm laborers, and 28 per cent. more were
either cooks or washerwomen. In other words, a total of exactly 80 per
cent. were doing some of the hardest and at the same time some of the
most necessary work in our home and industrial life. These are workers
whose worth has never been fully appreciated by the larger public, and
who needed the heavy demands of the great war to call attention to the
actual value of the service they were rendering.

The changes in fact brought about within the last few years, largely as
a result of war conditions, are remarkable. As Mary E. Jackson, writing
in the _Crisis_, has said: "Indiana reports [Negro women] in glass
works; in Ohio they are found on the night shifts of glass works; they
have gone into the pottery works in Virginia; wood-working plants and
lumber yards have called for their help in Tennessee." She also quotes
Rachel S. Gallagher, of Cleveland, Ohio, as saying of the Negro women in
that city: "We find them on power sewing-machines, making caps, waists,
bags, and mops; we find them doing pressing and various hand operations
in these same shops. They are employed in knitting factories as winders,
in a number of laundries on mangles of every type, and in sorting and
marking. They are in paper box factories doing both hand and machine
work, in button factories on the button machines, in packing houses
packing meat, in railroad yards wiping and cleaning engines, and doing
sorting in railroad shops. One of our workers recently found two colored
girls on a knotting machine in a bed spring factory, putting the knots
in the wire springs."

In the professions, such as medicine and law, and in scholarship as
well, the Negro woman has blazed a path. One year after Oberlin College
in Ohio was founded in 1833, thirty years before the issuing of the
Emancipation Proclamation, the trustees took the advanced ground of
admitting Negro men and women on equal terms with other students. Of the
Northern colleges and universities Oberlin still leads in the number of
its Negro women graduates, but in recent years other such institutions
as Radcliffe, Wellesley, Columbia, and Chicago have been represented in
an increasing number by those who have finished their work creditably
and even with distinction in many instances. More and more each year are
young women at these institutions going forward to the attainment of the
higher scholastic degrees. In connection with medicine we recall the
work in the war of the Negro woman in the related profession of nursing.
It was only after considerable discussion that she was given a genuine
opportunity in Red Cross work, but she at once vindicated herself. In
the legal profession she has not only been admitted to practice in
various places, but has also been appointed to public office. It must be
understood that such positions as those just remarked are not secured
without a struggle, but all told they indicate that the race through its
womanhood is more and more taking part in the general life of the

In keeping with the romantic quality of the race it was but natural that
from the first there should have been special effort at self-expression
in literature, music, and other forms of art. The first Negro woman to
strike the public imagination was Phillis Wheatley, who even as a young
girl wrote acceptable verse. Her _Poems on Various Subjects_ published
in 1773 at once attracted attention, and it was fitting that the first
Negro woman to become distinguished in America should be one of
outstanding piety and nobility of soul. Just a few years before the
Civil War Frances Ellen Watkins, better known as Mrs. F. E. W. Harper,
entered upon her career as a writer of popular poetry. At the present
time attention centers especially upon Mrs. Georgia Douglas Johnson, who
early in 1918 produced in _The Heart of a Woman_ a little volume of
delicate and poignantly beautiful verse, and from whom greater and
greater things are expected, as she not only has the temperament of an
artist but has also undergone a period of severe training in her chosen
field. In the wider field of prose--including especially stories,
essays, and sketches--Mrs. Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson is prominent. In
1899 she produced _The Goodness of St. Rocque, and other stories_, and
since then has continued her good work in various ways. The whole field
of literature is a wide one, one naturally appealing to many of the
younger women, and one that with all its difficulties and lack of
financial return does offer some genuine reward to the candidate who is
willing to work hard and who does not seek a short cut to fame.

In music the race has produced more women of distinction than in any
other field. This was natural, for the Negro voice is world famous. The
pity is that all too frequently some of the most capable young women
have not had the means to cultivate their talents and hence have fallen
by the wayside. Some day it is to be hoped that a great philanthropist
will endow a real conservatory at which such persons may find some
genuine opportunity and encouragement in their development in their days
of struggle. In spite of all the difficulties, however, there have been
singers who have risen to very high things in their art. Even before the
Civil War the race produced one of the first rank in Elizabeth Taylor
Greenfield, who came into prominence in 1851. This artist, born in
Mississippi, was taken to Philadelphia and there cared for by a Quaker
lady. The young woman did not soon reveal her gift to her friend,
thinking that it might be frowned upon as something too worldly. Her
guardian learned of it by accident, however, and one day surprised her
by asking, "Elizabeth, is it true that thee can sing?" "Yes," replied
the young woman in confusion. "Let me hear thee." And Elizabeth sang;
and her friend, realizing that she had a voice of the first quality,
proceeded to give her the best instruction that it was possible to get.
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield had a marvelous voice embracing twenty-seven
notes, reaching from the sonorous bass of a baritone to the highest
soprano. A voice with a range of more than three octaves naturally
attracted much attention in both England and America, and comparisons
with Jenny Lind, then at the height of her great fame, were frequent.
In the next generation arose Madame Selika, a cultured singer of the
first rank, and one who by her arias and operatic work generally, as
well as by her mastery of language, won great success on the continent
of Europe as well as in England and America. The careers of some later
singers are so recent as to be still fresh in the public memory; some in
fact may still be heard. It was in 1887 that Flora Batson entered on the
period of her greatest success. She was a ballad singer and her work at
its best was of the sort that sends an audience into the wildest
enthusiasm. In a series of temperance meetings in New York she sang for
ninety consecutive nights, with never-failing effect, one song, "Six
Feet of Earth Make Us All One Size." Her voice exhibited a compass of
three octaves, but even more important than its range was its remarkable
sympathetic quality. Early in the last decade of the century appeared
also Mrs. Sissieretta Jones, whose voice at once commanded attention as
one of unusual richness and volume, and as one exhibiting especially the
plaintive quality ever present in the typical Negro voice.

At the present time there are several promising singers; and there are
also those who in various ways are working for the general advancement
of the race in music. Mrs. E. Azalia Hackley, for some years prominent
as a concert soprano, has recently given her time most largely to the
work of teaching and showing the capabilities of the Negro voice.
Possessed of a splendid musical temperament, she has enjoyed the benefit
of three years of foreign study and generally inspired many younger
singers or performers. Prominent among many excellent pianists is Mrs.
Hazel Harrison Anderson, who also has studied much abroad and who has
appeared in many noteworthy recitals. Mrs. Maud Cuney Hare, of Boston, a
concert pianist, has within the last few years given several excellent
lecture-recitals dealing with Afro-American music.

As between painting and sculpture the women of the race have shown a
decided preference for sculpture. While there are some students of
promise, no woman has as yet achieved distinction on work of really
professional quality in the realm of painting. On the other hand there
have been three or four sculptors of genuine merit. As early as 1865
Edmonia Lewis began to attract attention by her busts of prominent
people. Within the last few years the work of Mrs. May Howard Jackson,
of Washington, has attracted the attention of the discerning; and that
of Mrs. Meta Warrick Fuller is reserved for special comment.

Any such review as this naturally has its limitations. We can indicate
only a few of the outstanding individuals here and there. At least
enough has been said, however, to show that the Negro woman is making
her way at last into every phase of noble endeavor. In the pages that
follow we shall attempt to set forth at somewhat greater length the life
and work of a few of those whose achievement has been most signal and
whose interest in their sisters has been unfailing.








       *       *       *       *       *


Used through courtesy of John Williams, Inc., Bronze Foundry and Iron
Works, New York, N. Y.]




Greatest of all the heroines of anti-slavery was Harriet Tubman. This
brave woman not only escaped from bondage herself, but afterwards made
nineteen distinct trips to the South, especially to Maryland, and
altogether aided more than three hundred souls in escaping from their

Araminta Ross, better known by the Christian name _Harriet_ that she
adopted, and her married name of _Tubman_, was born about 1821 in
Dorchester County, on the eastern shore of Maryland, the daughter of
Benjamin Ross and Harriet Greene, both of whom were slaves, but who were
privileged to be able to live their lives in a state of singular
fidelity. Harriet had ten brothers and sisters, not less than three of
whom she rescued from slavery; and in 1857, at great risk to herself,
she also took away to the North her aged father and mother.

When Harriet was not more than six years old she was taken away from her
mother and sent ten miles away to learn the trade of weaving. Among
other things she was set to the task of watching muskrat traps, which
work compelled her to wade much in water. Once she was forced to work
when she was already ill with the measles. She became very sick, and her
mother now persuaded her master to let the girl come home for a while.

Soon after Harriet entered her teens she suffered a misfortune that
embarrassed her all the rest of her life. She had been hired out as a
field hand. It was the fall of the year and the slaves were busy at such
tasks as husking corn and cleaning up wheat. One of them ran away. He
was found. The overseer swore that he should be whipped and called on
Harriet and some others that happened to be near to help tie him. She
refused, and as the slave made his escape she placed herself in a door
to help to stop pursuit of him. The overseer caught up a two-pound
weight and threw it at the fugitive; but it missed its mark and struck
Harriet a blow on the head that was almost fatal. Her skull was broken
and from this resulted a pressure on her brain which all her life left
her subject to fits of somnolency. Sometimes these would come upon her
in the midst of a conversation or any task at which she might be
engaged; then after a while the spell would pass and she could go on as

After Harriet recovered sufficiently from her blow she lived for five or
six years in the home of one John Stewart, working at first in the house
but afterwards hiring her time. She performed the most arduous labor in
order to get the fifty or sixty dollars ordinarily exacted of a woman in
her situation. She drove oxen, plowed, cut wood, and did many other such
things. With her firm belief in Providence, in her later years she
referred to this work as a blessing in disguise as it gave her the firm
constitution necessary for the trials and hardships that were before
her. Sometimes she worked for her father, who was a timber inspector and
superintended the cutting and hauling of large quantities of timber for
the Baltimore ship-yards. Her regular task in this employment was the
cutting of half a cord of wood a day.

About 1844 Harriet was married to a free man named John Tubman. She had
no children. Two years after her escape in 1849 she traveled back to
Maryland for her husband, only to find him married to another woman and
no longer caring to live with her. She felt the blow keenly, but did not
despair and more and more gave her thought to what was to be the great
work of her life.

It was not long after her marriage that Harriet began seriously to
consider the matter of escape from bondage. Already in her mind her
people were the Israelites in the land of Egypt, and far off in the
North _somewhere_ was the land of Canaan. In 1849 the master of her
plantation died, and word passed around that at any moment she and two
of her brothers were to be sold to the far South. Harriet, now
twenty-four years old, resolved to put her long cherished dreams into
effect. She held a consultation with her brothers and they decided to
start with her at once, that very night, for the North. She could not go
away, however, without giving some intimation of her purpose to the
friends she was leaving behind. As it was not advisable for slaves to be
seen too much talking together, she went among her old associates
singing as follows:

    When dat ar ol' chariot comes
      I'm gwine to leabe you;
    I'm boun' for de Promised Land;
      Frien's, I'm gwine to leabe you.

    I'm sorry, frien's, to leabe you;
      Farewell! oh, farewell!
    But I'll meet you in de mornin';
      Farewell! oh, farewell!

    I'll meet you in de mornin'
      When you reach de Promised Land;
    On de oder side of Jordan,
      For I'm boun' for de Promised Land.

The brothers started with her; but the way was unknown, the North was
far away, and they were constantly in terror of recapture. They turned
back, and Harriet, after watching their retreating forms, again fixed
her eyes on the north star. "I had reasoned dis out in my min'," said
she; "there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death. If
I could not have one, I would have de other, for no man should take me
alive. I would fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted, and
when de time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me."

"And so without money, and without friends," says Mrs. Bradford, "she
started on through unknown regions; walking by night, hiding by day, but
always conscious of an invisible pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by
night, under the guidance of which she journeyed or rested. Without
knowing whom to trust, or how near the pursuers might be, she carefully
felt her way, and by her native cunning, or by God-given wisdom she
managed to apply to the right people for food, and sometimes for
shelter; though often her bed was only the cold ground, and her watchers
the stars of night. After many long and weary days of travel, she found
that she had passed the magic line which then divided the land of
bondage from the land of freedom." At length she came to Philadelphia,
where she found work and the opportunity to earn a little money. It was
at this time, in 1851, after she had been employed for some months, that
she went back to Maryland for her husband only to find that he had not
been true.

In December, 1850, she had visited Baltimore and brought away a sister
and two children. A few months afterwards she took away a brother and
two other men. In December, 1851, she led out a party of eleven, among
them being another brother and his wife. With these she journeyed to
Canada, for the Fugitive Slave Law was now in force and, as she quaintly
said, there was no safety except "under the paw of the British Lion."
The winter, however, was hard on the poor fugitives, who unused to the
climate of Canada, had to chop wood in the forests in the snow. Often
they were frost-bitten, hungry, and almost always poorly clad. But
Harriet was caring for them. She kept house for her brother, and the
fugitives boarded with her. She begged for them and prayed for them, and
somehow got them through the hard winter. In the spring she returned to
the States, as usual working in hotels and families as a cook. In 1852
she once more went to Maryland, this time bringing away nine fugitives.

It must not be supposed that those who started on the journey northward
were always strong-spirited characters. The road was rough and attended
by dangers innumerable. Sometimes the fugitives grew faint-hearted and
wanted to turn back. Then would come into play the pistol that Harriet
always carried with her. "Dead niggers tell no tales," said she,
pointing it at them; "you go on or die!" By this heroic method she
forced many to go onward and win the goal of freedom.

Unfailing was Harriet Tubman's confidence in God. A customary form of
prayer for her was, "O Lord, you've been with me in six troubles; be
with me in the seventh." On one of her journeys she came with a party of
fugitives to the home of a Negro who had more than once assisted her and
whose house was one of the regular stations on the so-called Underground
Railroad. Leaving her party a little distance away Harriet went to the
door and gave the peculiar rap that was her regular signal. Not meeting
with a ready response, she knocked several times. At length a window was
raised and a white man demanded roughly what she wanted. When Harriet
asked for her friend she was informed that he had been obliged to leave
for assisting Negroes. The situation was dangerous. Day was breaking and
something had to be done at once. A prayer revealed to Harriet a place
of refuge. Outside of the town she remembered that there was a little
island in a swamp, with much tall grass upon it. Hither she conducted
her party, carrying in a basket two babies that had been drugged. All
were cold and hungry in the wet grass; still Harriet prayed and waited
for deliverance. How relief came she never knew; she felt that it was
not necessarily her business to know. After they had waited through the
day, however, at dusk there came slowly along the pathway on the edge of
the swamp a man clad in the garb of a Quaker. He seemed to be talking to
himself, but Harriet's sharp ears caught the words: "My wagon stands in
the barnyard of the next farm across the way. The horse is in the
stable; the harness hangs on a nail;" and then the man was gone. When
night came Harriet stole forth to the place designated, and found not
only the wagon but also abundant provisions in it, so that the whole
party was soon on its way rejoicing. In the next town dwelt a Quaker
whom Harriet knew and who readily took charge of the horse and wagon for

Naturally the work of such a woman could not long escape the attention
of the abolitionists. She became known to Thomas Garrett, the
great-hearted Quaker of Wilmington, who aided not less than three
thousand fugitives to escape, and also to Grit Smith, Wendell Phillips,
William H. Seward, F. B. Sanborn, and many other notable men interested
in the emancipation of the Negro. From time to time she was supplied
with money, but she never spent this for her own use, setting it aside
in case of need on the next one of her journeys. In her earlier years,
however, before she became known, she gave of her own slender means for
the work.

Between 1852 and 1857 she made but one or two journeys, because of the
increasing vigilance of slaveholders and the Fugitive Slave Law. Great
rewards were offered for her capture and she was several times on the
point of being taken, but always escaped by her shrewd wit and what she
considered warnings from heaven. While she was intensely practical, she
was also a most firm believer in dreams. In 1857 she made her most
venturesome journey, this time taking with her to the North her old
parents who were no longer able to walk such distances as she was forced
to go by night. Accordingly she had to hire a wagon for them, and it
took all her ingenuity to get them through Maryland and Delaware. At
length, however, she got them to Canada, where they spent the winter. As
the climate was too rigorous, however, she afterwards brought them down
to New York, and settled them in a home in Auburn, N. Y., that she had
purchased on very reasonable terms from Secretary Seward. Somewhat later
a mortgage on the place had to be lifted and Harriet now made a
noteworthy visit to Boston, returning with a handsome sum toward the
payment of her debt. At this time she met John Brown more than once,
seems to have learned something of his plans, and after the raid at
Harper's Ferry and the execution of Brown she glorified him as a hero,
her veneration even becoming religious. Her last visit to Maryland was
made in December, 1860, and in spite of the agitated condition of the
country and the great watchfulness of slaveholders she brought away with
her seven fugitives, one of them an infant.

After the war Harriet Tubman made Auburn her home, establishing there a
refuge for aged Negroes. She married again, so that she is sometimes
referred to as Harriet Tubman Davis. She died at a very advanced age
March 10, 1913. On Friday, June 12, 1914, a tablet in her honor was
unveiled at the Auditorium in Albany. It was provided by the Cayuga
County Historical Association, Dr. Booker T. Washington was the chief
speaker of the occasion, and the ceremonies were attended by a great
crowd of people.

The tributes to this heroic woman were remarkable. Wendell Phillips said
of her: "In my opinion there are few captains, perhaps few colonels,
who have done more for the loyal cause since the war began, and few men
who did before that time more for the colored race than our fearless and
most sagacious friend, Harriet." F. B. Sanborn wrote that what she did
"could scarcely be credited on the best authority." William H. Seward,
who labored, though unsuccessfully, to get a pension for her granted by
Congress, consistently praised her noble spirit. Abraham Lincoln gave
her ready audience and lent a willing ear to whatever she had to say.
Frederick Douglass wrote to her: "The difference between us is very
marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause
has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step
of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I
have wrought in the day--you in the night. I have had the applause of
the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the
multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few
trembling, scarred, and footsore bondmen and women, whom you have led
out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt 'God bless you' has
been your only reward."

Of such mould was Harriet Tubman, philanthropist and patriot, bravest
and noblest of all the heroines of freedom.


[A] While this sketch is drawn from various sources, I feel specially
indebted to Sarah H. Bradford's "Harriet, the Moses of Her People." This
valuable work in turn includes a scholarly article taken from the
"Boston Commonwealth" of 1863 and loaned to Mrs. Bradford by F. R.
Sanborn. This article is really the foundation of the sketch.--B. B.

[Illustration: NORA A. GORDON]




This is the story of a young woman who had not more than ordinary
advantages, but who in our own day by her love for Christ and her zeal
in his service was swept from her heroic labor into martyrdom.

When Nora Gordon went from Spelman Seminary as a missionary to the
Congo, she had the hope that in some little way she might be used for
the furtherance of the Master's kingdom. She could hardly have foreseen
that she would start in her beloved school a glorious tradition; and
still less could she have seen the marvellous changes taking place in
the Africa of the present. She had boundless faith, however,--faith in
God and in the ultimate destiny of her people. In that faith she lived,
and for that faith she died.

Nora Antonia Gordon was born in Columbus, Georgia, August 25, 1866.
After receiving her early education in the public schools of La Grange,
in the fall of 1882 she came to Spelman Seminary. It was not long before
her life became representative of the transforming power of
Christianity. Being asked, "Do you love Christ?" she answered "Yes"; but
when there came the question, "Are you a Christian?" she replied "No."
It was not long, however, before she gained firmer faith, and two months
after her entrance at Spelman she was definitely converted. Now followed
seven years of intense activity and growth--of study, of summer
teaching, of talks before temperance societies, of service of any
possible sort for the Master. She brought to Christ every girl who was
placed to room with her. A classmate afterwards testified of her that
the girls always regarded Nora somewhat differently from the others. She
was the counsellor of her friends, ever ready with sweet words of
comfort, and yet ever a cheerful companion. In one home in which she
lived for a while she asked the privilege of having prayer. The man of
the house at first refused to kneel and the woman seemed not interested.
In course of time, however, the wife was won and then the man also
knelt. At another time she wrote, "Twenty-six of my scholars were
baptized to-day;" and a little later she said, "Ten more have been

In 1885 Nora Gordon completed her course in the Industrial Department,
in 1886 the Elementary Normal, and in 1888 the Higher Normal Course. Her
graduation essay was on the rather old and sophomoric subject, "The
Influence of Woman on National Character;" but in the intensity of her
convictions and her words there was nothing ordinary. She said in part:
"Let no woman feel that life to her means simply living; but let her
rather feel that she has a special mission assigned her, which none
other of God's creatures can perform. It may be that she is placed in
some rude little hut as mother and wife; if so, she can dignify her
position by turning every hut into a palace, and bringing not only her
own household, but the whole community, into the sunlight of God's love.
Such women are often unnoticed by the world in general, and do not
receive the appreciation due them; yet we believe such may be called
God's chosen agents." Finally, "we feel that woman is under a twofold
obligation to consecrate her whole being to Christ. Our people are to be
educated and christianized and the heathen brought home to God. Woman
must take the lead in this great work."

After her graduation in 1888 Nora Gordon was appointed to teach in the
public schools of Atlanta. She soon resigned this work, however, in the
contemplation of the great mission of her life. The secretary of the
Society of the West wrote to Spelman to inquire if there was any one who
could go to assist Miss Fleming, a missionary at work in Palabala in the
Congo. Four names were sent, and the choice of the board was Nora A.
Gordon. The definite appointment came in January, 1889. On Sunday
evening, February 17, an impressive missionary service was held in the
chapel at Spelman. Interesting items were given by the students with
reference to the slave-trade in East Africa and the efforts being made
for its suppression, also with reference to Mohammedanism, the spiritual
awakening among the Zulus, and the mission stations established,
especially those on the Congo. Several letters were read, one from Miss
Fleming exciting the most intense interest; and throughout the meeting
was the thought that Nora Gordon was also soon to go to Africa. On March
6 a farewell service was held, and attended by a great crowd of people,
among them the whole family of the consecrated young woman; and she
sailed March 16, 1889.

First of all she went to London, tarrying at the Missionary Training
Institute conducted by Rev. and Mrs. H. Grattan Guinness. Under date
April 11 she wrote: "It has been so trying to remain here so long
waiting. I feel that this is the dear Lord's first lesson to me in
patience. I am thankful to say that I feel profited by my stay. * * * *
Yesterday coming from the city we saw a number of flags hanging across
the street, and among them was the United States flag. Never before did
the Stars and Stripes seem so beautiful. I am glad Miss Grover put one
in my box. * * * * I do praise God for every step I get nearer to my
future home. We expect to sail next Wednesday, April 17, from Rotterdam
on the steamer _African_, Dutch line. We hope to get to the Congo in
three weeks."

For two years she labored at Palabala, frequently writing letters home
and occasionally sending back to her beloved Spelman a box of curios.
Said she of those among whom she worked: "When the people are first
gathered into a chapel for school or religious services, it is sad and
amusing to see how hard they try to know just what to do, a number
sitting with their backs to the preacher or teacher. When the teacher
reproves a child, every man, woman, and child feels it his or her duty
to yell out too at the offender and tell him to obey the teacher. Often
in the midst of a sermon a man in the congregation will call out to the
preacher, 'Take away your lies,' or 'We do not believe you,' or 'How can
this or that be?' One of the first workers, after speaking to a crowd of
heathen, asked them all to close their eyes and bow their heads while he
would pray to God. When the missionary had finished his prayer and
opened his eyes, every person had stealthily left the place." Then
followed a detail of the atrocities in the Congo and of the encounters
between the natives and the Belgian officers, and last of all came the
pertinent comment: "The Congo missionary's work is twofold. He must
civilize, as well as Christianize, the people."

Early in 1891 Nora Gordon, sadly in need of rest and refreshment, went
from Palabala for a little stay at Lukungu. Hither had come Clara A.
Howard, Spelman's second representative, under appointment of the
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the East. Lukungu is a station two
hundred and twenty miles from the mouth of the Congo, in a populous
district, and was the center from which numerous other schools and
churches sprang. The work was in charge of Mr. Hoste, an Englishman,
who, when Miss Gordon wrote of him in 1894, had spent ten years on the
Congo without going home. Other men were associated with him, while the
elementary schools, the care of the boys and girls, and work among the
women, naturally fell to the women missionaries. A little later in 1891
Nora Gordon left Palabala permanently to engage in the work at Lukungu.
Under date September 25 she wrote to her friends back home: "Doubtless
Clara has told you of my change to this place. You can not imagine how
glad we are to be together here. I have charge of the printing-office
and help in the afternoon school. I am well, happy, and am enjoying my
work. In the office I have few conveniences and really not the things we
need. Mr. Hoste has written the first arithmetic in this language and I
am now putting it up. I was obliged to stop work on it to-day because my
figures in type gave out, and you know we have no shops in this land.
My boys in the office are doing nicely."

Thus she worked on for two years more--hoping, praying, trusting. By
1893 her health was in such condition that it was deemed wise for her to
return to America. So she did, and she brought back two native girls
with her. All the while, however, her chief thought was upon the work to
which she had given herself, and she constantly looked forward to the
time when she might be able to go back to Africa. In 1895 she became the
wife of Rev. S. C. Gordon, who was connected with the English Baptist
Mission at Stanley Pool. She sailed with her husband from Boston in July
and reached the Congo again in August. The station was unique. It was an
old and well established mission, the center of several others in the
surrounding country. It had excellent brick houses, broad avenues and
good fruit-trees, and the students were above the average in
intelligence. But soon the shadow fell. Nora Gordon herself saw much of
the well known Belgian atrocities in the Congo. She saw houses burned
and the natives themselves driven out by the state officials. They
crossed over into the French Congo; but hither Protestants were not
allowed to come to preach to them. In spite of the great heartache,
however, and declining health the heroic woman worked on, giving to
those for whom she labored her tenderest love. Seven months after the
death of her second child a change was again deemed necessary, and she
once more turned her face homeward. After two months in Belgium and
England she came again to America, and to Spelman. But her strength was
now all spent. She died at Spelman January 26, 1901. She was only
thirty-four; but who can measure in years the love and faith, the hope
and sorrow, of such a life?

Nora Gordon started a tradition, Spelman's richest heritage. Three other
graduates followed her. Clara Howard was in course of time forced by the
severe fevers to give up her work, and she now labors at home in the
service of her Alma Mater. Ada Jackson became the second wife of Rev. S.
C. Gordon and also died in service. Emma B. DeLany was commissioned in
1900 and still labors--in recent years with larger and larger
success--in Liberia. Within two or three years of Nora Gordon's return
in 1893, moreover, not less than five native African girls had come to
Spelman. The spirit still abides, and if the way were just a little
clearer doubtless many other graduates would go. Even as it is, however,
the blessing to the school has been illimitable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such have been the workers, such the pioneers. To what end is the love,
the labor--the loneliness, the yearning?

It is now nearly five hundred years since a prince of Portugal began the
slave-trade on the west coast of Africa. Within two hundred years all of
the leading countries of western Europe had joined in the iniquitous
traffic, and when England in 1713 drew up with France the Peace of
Utrecht she deemed the slave-trade of such importance that she insisted
upon an article that gave her a practical monopoly of it. Before the end
of the eighteenth century, however, the voice of conscience began to be
heard in England, and science also began to be interested in the great
undeveloped continent lying to the South. It remained for the work of
David Livingstone, however, in the middle of the nineteenth century
really to reveal Africa to the rest of the world. This intrepid explorer
and missionary in a remarkable series of journeys not only traversed
the continent from the extreme South to Loanda on the West Coast and
Quilimane on the East Coast; he not only made known the great lake
system of Central Africa; but he left behind him a memory that has
blessed everyone who has followed in his steps. Largely as a result of
his work and that of his successor, Stanley, a great congress met in
Berlin in 1884 for the partition of Africa among the great nations of
Europe. Unfortunately the diplomats at this meeting were not actuated by
the noble impulses that had moved Livingstone, so that more and more
there was evident a mad scramble for territory. France had already
gained a firm foothold in the northwest, and England was not only firmly
intrenched in the South but had also established a rather undefined
protectorate over Egypt. Germany now in 1884 entered the field and in
German East Africa, German Southwest Africa, Kamerun, and the smaller
territory of Togoland in the West ultimately acquired a total of nearly
a million square miles, or one-eleventh of the continent. All of this
she lost in the course of the recent great war. Naturally she has
desired to regain this land, but at the time of writing (November, 1918)
there is no likelihood of her doing so, a distinguished Englishman, Mr.
Balfour, the foreign secretary, having declared that under no
circumstances can Germany's African colonies be returned to her, as such
return would endanger the security of the British empire, and that is to
say, the security of the world. This problem is but typical of the
larger political questions that press for settlement in the new Africa.
Whatever the solution may be, one or two facts stand out clearly. One is
that Africa can no longer rest in undisturbed slumber. A terrible war,
the most ruinous in the history of humanity, has strained to the utmost
the resources of all the great powers of the world. Where so much has
been spent it is not to be supposed that the richest, the most fertile,
land in the world will indefinitely be allowed to remain undeveloped.
Along with material development must go also the education and the
spiritual culture of the natives on a scale undreamed of before. In this
training such an enlightened country as England will naturally play a
leading role, and America too will doubtless be called on to help in
more ways than one. It must not be supposed, however, that the task is
not one of enormous difficulties. As far as we have advanced in our
missionary activities in America, we have hardly made a beginning in
the great task of the proper development of Africa. Here are
approximately 175,000,000 natives to be trained and Christianized. Let
us not make the common mistake of supposing that they are all ignorant
and degraded savages. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many
individuals have had the benefit of travel and study in Europe and more
and more are themselves appreciating the great problems before their
country. It is true, however, that the great mass of the population is
yet to be reached. In the general development delicate questions of
racial contact are to be answered. Unfortunately, in the attitude of the
European colonist toward the native, South Africa has a race problem
even more stern than that of our own Southern states. As for religion we
not only find paganism and Mohammedanism, but we also see Catholicism
arrayed against Protestantism, and perhaps most interesting of all, a
definite movement toward the enhancement of a native Ethiopian church,
with the motto "Africa for the Africans." Let us add to all this
numerous social problems, such as polygamy, the widespread sale of rum,
and all the train of African superstition, and we shall see that any one
who works in Africa in the new day must not only be a person of keen
intelligence and Christian character, but also one with some genuine
vision and statesmanship. Workers of this quality, if they can be found,
will be needed not by the scores or hundreds, but by the thousands and
tens of thousands. No larger mission could come to a young Negro in
America trained in Christian study than to make his or her life a part
of the redemption of the great fatherland. The salvation of Africa is at
once the most pressing problem before either the Negro race or the
Kingdom of Christ. Such a worker as we have tried to portray was Nora
Gordon. It is to be hoped that not one but thousands like her will
arise. Even now we can see the beginning of the fulfilment of the
prophecy, "Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch
out her hands unto God."





The state of Massachusetts has always been famous for its history and
literature, and especially rich in tradition is the region around
Boston. On one side is Charlestown, visited yearly by thousands who make
a pilgrimage to the Bunker Hill Monument. Across the Charles River is
Cambridge, the home of Harvard University, and Longfellow, and Lowell,
and numerous other men whose work has become a part of the nation's
heritage. If one will ride on through Cambridge and North Cambridge and
Arlington, he will come to Lexington, where he will find in the little
Lexington Common one of the most charming spots of ground in America.
Overlooking this he will see the Harrington House, and all around other
memorials of the Revolution. Taking the car again and riding about seven
miles more he will come to Concord, and here he will catch still more of
the flavor of the eighteenth century. Walking from the center of the
town down Monument Street (he _must_ walk now; there is no trolley, and
a carriage or automobile does not permit one to linger by the wayside),
he will come after a while to the Old Manse, once the home of Emerson
and of Hawthorne, and then see just around the corner the Concord Bridge
and the statue of the Minute Man. There is a new bridge now, one of
concrete; the old wooden one, so long beloved, at length became unsafe
and had to be replaced. In another direction from the center of the town
runs Lexington Road, within about half a mile down which one will see
the later homes of Emerson and Hawthorne as well as that of Louisa May
Alcott. Near the Alcott House, back among the trees, is a quaint little
structure much like a Southern country schoolhouse--the so-called
Concord School of Philosophy, in which Emerson once spoke. It is all a
beautiful country--beautiful most of all for its unseen glory. One gives
himself up to reflection; he muses on Evangeline and the Great Stone
Face and on the heroic dead who did not die in vain--until a lumbering
truck-car on the road calls him back from it all to the workaday world
of men.

It is in this state of Massachusetts, so rich in its tradition, that
there resides the subject of the present sketch. About halfway between
Boston and Worcester, in the quiet, homelike town of Framingham, on a
winding road just off the main street, lives Meta Warrick Fuller, the
foremost sculptor of the Negro race.

There are three little boys in the family. They keep their mother very
busy; but they also make her very happy. Buttons have to be sewed on and
dinners have to be prepared for the children of an artist just as well
as for those of other people; and help is not always easy to get. But
the father, Dr. S. C. Fuller, a distinguished physician, is also
interested in the boys, so that he too helps, and the home is a happy

At the top of the house is a long roomy attic. This is an improvised
studio--or, as the sculptor would doubtless say, the workshop. Hither,
from the busy work of the morning, comes the artist for an hour or half
an hour of modeling--for rest, and for the first effort to transfer to
the plastic clay some fleeting transient dream.

Meta Warrick Fuller was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 9,
1877. For four years she attended the Pennsylvania School of Industrial
Art, and it was at this institution that she first began to force
serious recognition of her talent. Before very long she began to be
known as a sculptor of the horrible, one of her first original pieces
being a head of Medusa, with a hanging jaw, beads of gore, and eyes
starting from their sockets. At her graduation in 1898 she won a prize
for metal work by a crucifix upon which hung the figure of Christ in
agony, and she also won honorable mention for her work in modeling. In a
post-graduate year she won a much coveted prize in modeling. In 1899
Meta Warrick (then best known by her full name, Meta Vaux Warrick) went
to Paris, where she worked and studied three years. Her work brought her
in contact with many other artists, among them Augustus St. Gaudens, the
sculptor of the Robert Gould Shaw Monument at the head of Boston Common.
Then there came a day when by appointment the young woman went to see
Auguste Rodin, who after years of struggle and dispraise had finally won
recognition as the foremost sculptor in France if not in the world. The
great man glanced one after another at the pieces that were presented to
him, without very evident interest. At length, thrilled by the figure
in "Silent Sorrow," sometimes referred to as "Man Eating His Heart Out,"
Rodin beamed upon the young woman and said, "Mademoiselle, you _are_ a
sculptor; you have the sense of form." With encouragement from such a
source the young artist worked with renewed vigor, looking forward to
the time when something that she had produced should win a place in the
Salon, the great national gallery in Paris. "The Wretched," one of the
artist's masterpieces, was exhibited here in 1903, and along with it
went "The Impenitent Thief." This latter production was demolished in
1904, after meeting with various unhappy accidents. In the form as
presented, however, the thief, heroic in size, hung on the cross torn by
anguish. Hardened, unsympathetic, and even defiant, he still possessed
some admirable qualities of strength, and he has remained one of the
sculptor's most powerful conceptions. In "The Wretched" seven figures
greet the eye. Each represents a different form of human anguish. An old
man, worn by hunger and disease, waits for death. A mother yearns for
the loved ones she has lost. A man bowed by shame fears to look upon his
fellow-creatures. A sick child suffers from some hereditary taint. A
youth is in despair, and a woman is crazed by sorrow. Over all is the
Philosopher who suffers perhaps more keenly than the others as he views
the misery around them, and who, powerless to relieve it, also sinks
into despair.

Other early productions were similarly characterized by a strongly
romantic quality. "Silent Sorrow" has already been remarked in passing.
In this a man, worn and gaunt and in despair, is represented as leaning
over and actually eating out his own heart. "Man Carrying Dead Body" is
in similar vein. The sculptor is moved by the thought of one who will be
spurred on by the impulse of duty to the performance of some task not
only unpleasant but even loathsome. She shows a man bearing across his
shoulder the body of a comrade that has evidently lain on the
battlefield for days. The thing is horrible, and the man totters under
the great weight; but he forces his way onward until he can give it
decent burial. Another early production was based on the ancient Greek
story of Oedipus. This story was somewhat as follows: Oedipus was the
son of Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes. At his birth an
oracle foretold that the father Laius would be killed by his son. The
child was sent away to be killed by exposure, but in course of time was
saved and afterwards adopted by the King of Corinth. When he was grown,
being warned by an oracle that he would kill his father and marry his
mother, he left home. On his journey he met Laius and slew him in the
course of an altercation. Later, by solving the riddle of the sphinx, he
freed Thebes from distress, was made king of the city, and married
Jocasta. Eventually the terrible truth of the relationship became known
to all. Jocasta hanged herself and Oedipus tore out his eyes. The
sculptor portrays the hero of the old legend at the very moment that he
is thus trying to punish himself for his crime. There is nothing
delicate or pretty about all such work as this. It is grewsome in fact,
and horrible; but it is also strong and intense and vital. Its merit was
at once recognized by the French, and it gave Meta Warrick a recognized
place among the sculptors of America.

On her return to America the artist resumed her studies at the School of
Industrial Art, winning in 1904 the Battles first prize for pottery. In
1907 she produced a series of tableaux representing the advance of the
Negro for the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, and in 1913 a group
for the New York State Emancipation Proclamation Commission. In 1909 she
became the wife of Dr. Solomon C. Fuller, of Framingham, Massachusetts.
A fire in 1910 unfortunately destroyed some of her most valuable pieces
while they were in storage in Philadelphia. Only a few examples of her
early work, that happened to be elsewhere, were saved. The artist was
undaunted, however, and by May, 1914, she had sufficiently recovered
from the blow to be able to hold at her home a public exhibition of her

After this fire a new note crept into the work of Meta Warrick Fuller.
This was doubtless due not so much to the fire itself as to the larger
conception of life that now came to the sculptor with the new duties of
marriage and motherhood. From this time forth it was not so much the
romantic as the social note that was emphasized. Representative of the
new influence was the second model of the group for the Emancipation
Proclamation Commission. A recently emancipated Negro youth and maiden
stand beneath a gnarled, decapitated tree that has what looks almost
like a human hand stretched over them. Humanity is pushing them forth
into the world while at the same time the hand of Destiny is restraining
them in the full exercise of their freedom. "Immigrant in America" is in
somewhat similar vein. An American woman, the mother of one strong
healthy child, is shown welcoming to the land of plenty the foreigner,
the mother of several poorly nourished children. Closely related in
subject is the smaller piece, "The Silent Appeal," in which a mother
capable of producing and caring for three sturdy children is shown as
making a quiet demand for the suffrage and for any other privileges to
which a human being is entitled. All of these productions are clear cut,
straightforward, and dignified.

In May, 1917, Meta Warrick Fuller took second prize in a competition
under the auspices of the Massachusetts Branch of the Woman's Peace
Party, her subject being "Peace Halting the Ruthlessness of War." War is
personified as on a mighty steed and trampling to death numberless human
beings. In one hand he holds a spear on which he has transfixed the head
of one of his victims. As he goes on his masterful career Peace meets
him and commands him to cease his ravages. The work as exhibited was in
gray-green wax and was a production of most unusual spirit.

Among other prominent titles are "Watching for Dawn," a conception of
remarkable beauty and yearning, and "Mother and Child." An early
production somewhat detached from other pieces is a head of John the
Baptist. This is one of the most haunting creations of Mrs. Fuller. In
it she was especially successful in the infinite yearning and pathos
that she somehow managed to give to the eyes of the seer. It bears the
unmistakable stamp of power.

In this whole review of this sculptor's work we have indicated only the
chief titles. She is an indefatigable worker and has produced numerous
smaller pieces, many of these being naturally for commercial purposes.
As has been remarked, while her work was at first romantic and often
even horrible, in recent years she has been interested rather in social
themes. There are those, however, who hope that she will not utterly
forsake the field in which she first became distinguished. Through the
sternness of her early work speaks the very tragedy of the Negro race.
In any case it is pleasant to record that the foremost sculptor of the
race is not only an artist of rank but also a woman who knows and
appreciates in the highest possible manner the virtues and the beauties
of the home.


[B] For the further pursuit of this and related subjects the attention
of the reader is invited to the author's "The Negro in Literature and
Art" (Duffield & Co., New York, N. Y., 1918).

[Illustration: MARY McLEOD BETHUNE]




On October 3, 1904, a lone woman, inspired by the desire to do something
for the needy ones of her race and state, began at Daytona, Florida, a
training school for Negro girls. She had only one dollar and a half in
money, but she had faith, energy, and a heart full of love for her
people. To-day she has an institution worth not less than one hundred
thousand dollars, with plans for extensive and immediate enlargement,
and her school is one of the best conducted and most clear-visioned in
the country. Such has been the result of boundless energy and thrift
joined to an unwavering faith in God.

Mary McLeod was born July 10, 1875, in a three-room log cabin on a
little cotton and rice farm about three miles from Mayesville, South
Carolina, being one in the large family of Samuel and Patsy McLeod.
Ambitious even from her early years, she yearned for larger and finer
things than her environment afforded; and yet even the life that she
saw around her was to prove a blessing in disguise, as it gave to her
deeper and clearer insight into the problems, the shortcomings, and the
needs of her people. In course of time she attended a little mission
school in Mayesville, and she was converted at the age of twelve. Later
she was graduated at Scotia Seminary, Concord, North Carolina, and then
she went to the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In the years of her
schooling she received some assistance from a scholarship given by Miss
Mary Chrisman, a dressmaker of Denver, Colorado. Mary McLeod never
forgot that she had been helped by a working woman. Some day she
intended to justify that faith, and time has shown that never was a
scholarship invested to better advantage.

In 1898 Mary McLeod was married. She became the mother of one son. Not
long after, the family moved to Palatka, Florida. Now followed the hard
years of waiting, of praying, of hoping; but through it all the earnest
woman never lost faith in herself, nor in God. She gained experience in
a little school that she taught, she sang with unusual effect in the
churches of the town, and she took part in any forward movement or
uplift enterprise that she could. All the while, however, she knew that
the big task was yet to come. She prayed, and hoped, and waited.

By the fall of 1904 it seemed that the time had come. In a little rented
house, with five girls, Mrs. Bethune began what is now the Daytona
Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. By means of concerts
and festivals the first payment of five dollars was made on the present
site, then an old dump-pile. With their own hands the teacher and the
pupils cleared away much of the rubbish, and from the first they invited
the co-operation of the people around them by lending a helping hand in
any way they could, by "being neighborly." In 1905 a Board of Trustees
was organized and the school was chartered. In 1907 Faith Hall, a
four-story frame house, forty by fifty feet, was "prayed up, sung up,
and talked up;" and we can understand at what a premium space was in the
earlier days when we know that this building furnished dormitory
accommodations for teachers and students, dining-room, reading room,
storerooms, and bathrooms. To the rear of Faith Hall was placed a
two-story structure containing the school kitchen and the domestic
science room. In 1909 the school found it necessary to acquire a farm
for the raising of live stock and vegetables and for the practical
outdoor training of the girls. After six weeks of earnest work the
twelve-acre tract in front of the school was purchased. In 1914 a Model
Home was built. In this year also an additional west farm of six acres,
on which was a two-story frame building, was needed, asked for and
procured. In March, 1918, the labors of fourteen years were crowned by
the erection and dedication of a spacious auditorium; and among the
speakers at the dedication were the Governor of Florida and the
Vice-President of the United States. Efforts now look forward to a great
new dormitory for the girls.

Such a bare account of achievements, however, by no means gives one an
adequate conception of the striving and the hopings and the praying that
have entered into the work. To begin with, Daytona was a strategic place
for the school. There was no other such school along the entire east
coast of Florida, and as a place of unusual beauty and attractiveness
the town was visited throughout the winter by wealthy tourists. From the
very first, however, the girls were trained in the virtues of the home,
and in self-help. Great emphasis was placed on domestic science, and
not only for this as an end in itself, but also as a means for the
larger training in cleanliness and thrift and good taste. "We notice
strawberries are selling at fifty and sixty cents a quart," said a
visitor, "and you have a splendid patch. Do you use them for your
students or sell them?" "We never eat a quart when we can get fifty
cents for them," was the reply. "We can take fifty cents and buy a bone
that will make soup for us all, when a quart of berries would supply
only a few."

For one interested in education few pictures could be more beautiful
than that of the dining-room at the school in the morning of a day in
midterm. Florida is warm often even in midwinter; nevertheless, rising
at five gives one a keen appetite for the early breakfast. The ceiling
is low and there are other obvious disadvantages; but over all is the
spirit of good cheer and of home. The tablecloths are very white and
clean; flowers are on the different tables; at the head of each a
teacher presides over five or six girls; the food is nourishing and
well-prepared; and one leaves with the feeling that if he had a sister
or daughter he would like for her to have the training of some such
place as this.

Of such quality is the work that has been built up; and all has been
accomplished through the remarkable personality of the woman who is the
head and the soul of every effort. Indomitable courage, boundless
energy, fine tact and a sense of the fitness of things, kindly spirit,
and firm faith in God have deservedly given her success. Beyond the
bounds of her immediate institution her influence extends. About the
year 1912 the trustees felt the need of so extending the work as to make
the school something of a community center; and thus arose the McLeod
Hospital and Training School for Nurses. In 1912, moved by the utter
neglect of the children of the turpentine camp at Tomoka, Mrs. Bethune
started work for them in a little house that she secured. The aim was to
teach the children to be clean and truthful and helpful, to sew and to
sweep and to sing. A short school term was started among them, and the
mission serves as an excellent practice school for the girls of the
senior class in the Training School. A summer school and a playground
have also been started for the children in Daytona. Nor have the boys
and young men been neglected. Here was a problem of unusual difficulty.
Any one who has looked into the inner life of the small towns of
Florida could not fail to be impressed by the situation of the boys and
young men. Hotel life, a shifting tourist population, and a climate of
unusual seductiveness, have all left their impress. On every side to the
young man beckons temptation, and in town after town one finds not one
decent recreation center or uplifting social influence. Pool-rooms
abound, and the young man is blamed for entering forbidden paths; but
all too often the Christian men and women of the community have put
forth no definite organized effort for his uplift. All too often there
results a blasted life--a heartache for a mother, or a ruined home for
some young woman. In Daytona, in 1913, on a lot near the school campus,
one of the trustees, Mr. George S. Doane, erected a neat, commodious
building to be used in connection with the extension work of the
institution as a general reading-room and home for the Young Men's
Christian Association; and this is the only specific work so being done
for Negro boys in this section of the state. A debating club, an
athletic club, lecture club, and prayer-meetings all serve as means
toward the physical, intellectual, and spiritual development of the
young men. A "Better Boys Movement" is also making progress and the
younger boys are becoming interested in canning and farming as well as
being cared for in their sports and games.

No sketch of this woman's work should close without mention of her
activities for the nation at large. Red Cross work or a Liberty Loan
drive has alike called forth her interest and her energy. She has
appeared on some great occasions and before distinguished audiences,
such as that for instance in the Belasco Theatre in Washington in
December, 1917, when on a noteworthy patriotic occasion she was the only
representative of her race to speak.

Her girls have gone into many spheres of life and have regularly made
themselves useful and desirable. Nearly two hundred are now annually
enrolled at the school. The demand for them as teachers, seamstresses,
or cooks far exceeds the supply. In great homes and humble, in country
or in town, in Daytona or elsewhere--North, South, East, West--they
remember the motto of their teacher and of the Master of all, "Not to be
ministered unto but to minister;" and year after year they accomplish
better and better things for the school that they love so well and
through it for the Kingdom of God.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two thousand years ago the Savior of Mankind walked upon the earth, a
man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and the people hid as it were
their faces from him. But one day he went into the home of a Pharisee
and sat him down to meat. And a woman of the city, when she knew that
Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of
ointment, exceeding precious, and began to wash his feet with her tears,
and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and
anointed them with the ointment. And there were some that had
indignation among themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the
ointment made? But Jesus said, Let her alone. She hath wrought a good
work on me. She hath done what she could. Verily, I say unto you,
Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world,
this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

To-day as well as centuries ago the Christ is before us, around us,
waiting. We do not always know him, for he appears in disguise, as a
little orphan, or a sick old woman, or even perhaps as some one of high
estate but in need of prayer. Let us do what we can. Let each one prove
herself an earnest follower. To such end is the effort of Mary McLeod
Bethune; and as we think of all that she has done and is doing let us
for our own selves once more recall the beautiful words of Sister Moore:
"There is no place too lowly or dark for our feet to enter, and no place
so high and bright but it needs the touch of the light that we carry
from the Cross."





With the increasingly complex problems of American civilization, woman
is being called on in ways before undreamed of to bear a share in great
public burdens. The recent great war has demonstrated anew the part that
she is to play in our factories, our relief work, our religious
organizations--in all the activities of our social and industrial life.
The broadening basis of the suffrage in some states and the election of
a woman to a seat in Congress have also emphasized the fact that in the
new day woman as well as man will have to bear the larger
responsibilities of citizenship. In all this intense life the Negro
woman has taken a part, and she will have to do still more in the
future. Even before the Civil War there were women of the race who
labored, sometimes in large ways, for the influencing of sentiment and
the salvation of their people. In the present period of our country's
history new problems arise, sometimes even more delicate than those that
went before them and even more difficult of solution--problems of
education, readjustment, and of the proper moulding of public opinion.
They call for keen intelligence, broad information, rich culture, and
the ability to meet men and women of other races and other countries on
the broad plane of cosmopolitanism. In public life and in the higher
graces of society no woman of the race has commanded more attention from
the American and the international public than Mary Church Terrell.

The life of this woman is an example of the possibilities not only of
Negro but of American womanhood. She has appeared on platforms with men
and women of other races, sometimes sturdy opponents on public
questions, and more than held her own. She has attended an international
congress in Europe and surpassed all the other women from her country in
her ability to address audiences in languages other than English. With
all this she has never forgotten the religious impulse that is so strong
in the heart of her people and that ultimately is to play so large a
part in their advancement. One admirer of her culture has said, "She
should be engaged to travel over the country as a model of good manners
and good English."

Mary Church was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Robert R.
and Louisa Ayres Church. When she was yet very young her parents sent
her to Ohio to be educated, and here she remained until she was
graduated from the classical course in 1884. Then for two years she
taught at Wilberforce University in Ohio, and for one year more in a
high school in Washington. Desirous of broadening her attainments,
however, she now went to Europe for a period of study and travel. She
remained two years, spending the time in France, Switzerland, Germany,
and Italy, generally improving herself in language. On her return she
resumed her work in Washington, and she was offered the registrarship at
Oberlin College, a distinct compliment coming as it did from an
institution of such high standing. She declined the attractive position,
however, because of her approaching marriage to Robert H. Terrell, a
graduate of Harvard College and formerly principal of a high school in
Washington, who was appointed to a judgeship in the District of Columbia
by President Roosevelt.

Since her marriage Mrs. Terrell has written much on topics of general
interest and from time to time has formally appeared as a public
lecturer. One of her strongest articles was that on Lynching in the
_North American Review_ for June, 1904. The centenary of the birth of
Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1912 found her unusually well posted on the
life and work of the novelist, so that after she lectured many times on
the subject she brought together the results of her study in an
excellent pamphlet. She was the first president of the National
Association of Colored Women's Clubs, was twice re-elected, and,
declining to serve further, was made honorary president for life. She
was chosen as one of the speakers at the International Congress of Women
held in Berlin in June, 1904. Said the _Washington Post_ of her
performance on this occasion: "The hit of the Congress on the part of
the American delegates was made by Mrs. Mary Church Terrell of
Washington, who delivered one speech in German and another in equally
good French. Mrs. Terrell is a colored woman who appears to have been
beyond every other of our delegates prominent for her ability to make
addresses in other than her own language." In a letter to some of the
largest newspapers in the country Mrs. Ida Husted Harper said further:
"This achievement on the part of a colored woman, added to a fine
appearance and the eloquence of her words, carried the audience by
storm and she had to respond three times to the encores before they were
satisfied. It was more than a personal triumph; it was a triumph for her

Mrs. Terrell has ever exhibited an intense interest in public affairs.
On the occasion of the discharge of the Negro soldiers in Brownsville,
Texas, in 1906, she at once comprehended the tremendous issues involved
and by her interviews with men high in the nation's life did much for
the improvement of a bad situation. When, some years ago, Congress by
resolution granted power to the Commissioners of the District of
Columbia to appoint two women upon the Board of Education for the public
schools, Mrs. Terrell was one of the women appointed. She served on the
Board for five years with signal ability and unusual success, and on the
occasion of her resignation in 1912 was given a magnificent testimonial
by her fellow-citizens.

It would be difficult to record all the different things that Mary
Church Terrell has done or the numerous ways in which she has turned
sentiment on the race problem. In recent years she has been drawn more
and more to her own home. She is in constant demand as a speaker,
however, and one or two experiences or incidents must not pass
unremarked. In 1906 she was invited by Prof. Jeremiah W. Jenks to come
to Cornell University to deliver her address on the Bright Side of the
Race Problem. She was introduced by Prof. F. A. Fetter of the Department
of Economics. When she had finished her lecture she was greeted by
deafening applause, and then she was surrounded by an eager crowd
desirous of receiving an introduction. One enthusiastic woman exclaimed,
as she warmly shook the speaker's hand, "I was so glad to hear you say
something about the bright side, and--do you know?--every Southern
faculty woman was here." A little later she was the guest of honor at a
reception in the home of Ex-Ambassador Andrew D. White, the first
president of Cornell University.

Just what Mary Church Terrell means as an inspiration to the young women
of the Negro race one might have seen some years ago if he could have
been present at Spelman Seminary on the occasion of the twenty-fifth
anniversary of this the largest school for Negro girls in the world. She
was preceded on the program by one or two prominent speakers who tried
to take a broad view of the race problem but who were plainly baffled
when they came face to face with Southern prejudice. When Mrs. Terrell
rose to speak the air was tense with eagerness and anxiety. How she
acquitted herself on this occasion, how eloquently she plead, and how
nimbly and delicately she met her opponents' arguments, will never be
forgotten by any one who was privileged to hear her.

The compliments that have been paid to the eloquence, the grace, the
culture, the tact, and the poise of this woman are endless. She exhibits
exceptional attainments either on or off the platform. Her words bristle
with earnestness and energy, quickly captivating an audience or holding
the closest attention in conversation. Her gestures are frequent, but
always in sympathetic harmony. Her face is inclined to be sad in repose,
but lights quickly and effectively to the soul of whatever subject she
touches. Her voice is singularly clear and free from harsh notes. She
exhibits no apparent effort in speaking, and at once impresses an
audience by her ease, her courage, and her self-abnegation. Through all
her work moreover constantly thrills her great hope for the young men
and women of her race, so many of whom she has personally inspired.

Such a woman is an asset to her country and an honor to the race to
which she belongs.

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