In the early 1920s, Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean and Genevieve R. Cline was the first woman appointed as a United States federal judge. During National Women’s History Month we celebrate the accomplishments of great women in history. However, I believe that we often forget the great accomplishments of the women in our own lives. Today, it is an honor to share with you the story of a woman who has accomplished greatness during a time of darkness for many people around the world.
The 1920s also presented resistance for the right to equality for all with the rise of Adolf Hitler and hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan who during this time held their first march on Washington. These social tensions paralyzed the lives of many, causing a suppression of what they had to contribute to the world. In 1925, amongst race riots and lynching, my partner’s Mother, Louise was born.
Like her Mother, who cleaned the front steps of the homes of white families, she too found work serving others. Her choices for employment and her opportunity to grow were minimal and not her own. I sometimes ask myself if I would have survived during this period. What would I have passed along to my children in the face of crisis? Would I be filled with anger, resentment or mistrust? Fortunately, with her faith in God, she rose above the challenges and saw the goodness in others.
Once her son was born, she realized that she wanted his life’s stage to be better than her own. In the face of adversity, with preparation, hard work, and commitment she took every step to ensure that he was given the chance to experience opportunities that were not hers. Each day she served meals to Philadelphia’s elite. It became her mission to ask questions about educational prospects for her child who she believed was gifted. Eventually she convinced a high powered official to set up an appointment with school officials to have him tested. Her determination paid off when he was accepted into a program at one of the city’s finest all-white schools. I am impressed by the fact that she not only advocated for his future, she instilled in him respect for himself and for others.
Today, I look into her eyes and see nothing but love and am reminded of just how much women do for others while trying to keep them on course. During her 89 years on this Earth, she has seen things that I have only read about and listened to from those who have come before me. I am so grateful for her tenacity to think beyond her own limitations and see the world as a place where hopes and dreams can come true. Louise, you are a great woman and I honor you for your character, your courage, and your commitment today during National Women’s History Month, and always.
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With love and respect,
Volunteer & Membership Manager