As I pondered what to write about in our newsletter for Black History Month, my mind kept returning to my childhood and those wonderful women that made a loving and caring difference in my life. While growing up in Alabama and, undoubtedly, being a pest to my grandmother, she and her quilting circle of friends always encouraged me to never let go of God. They instilled in me to strive to be the best person that I can be, and to never forget that I am a “beautifully crafted piece of art made by God.”
During the unstable times of The Civil Rights Movement, I remember these wonderful women meeting in my grandmother’s living room to talk about what they could do to help the people that were protesting and marching in the Movement. Although this was a time of chaos, turbulence and fear, they proudly gathered at the church for fervent prayer; they strongly encouraged others to support the Movement and they dedicated themselves to raising money to help the grassroots organizers who were also unnamed. Although I was very young, I was in awe of them. They possessed a silent courage and walked in steps filled with purpose and pride. In spite of the fact that the names of these wonderful women were not well known, and even though their contributions were overlooked, these women realized that their silent work help tremendously toward obtaining equality for all black people. They were an anonymous part of a human rights struggle that far outweighed their desire for recognition. They stand among the many who stood in the background during those times of struggle and strife, but their courage goes unmatched.
It is a known fact that women were the backbone of the Civil Rights Movement and I honor them during Black History Month. Below, I write the names of these unknown women with pride and respect:
Mrs. Emma Barron (my grandmother)
Mrs. Ruth Abner
Mrs. Cissy Jefferson
Mrs. Rosie DuRamos
Mrs. Mary Curry
Mrs. Rosetta Montgomery
They were a strong, faithful, supportive part of a nationwide Civil Rights Movement who were domestic workers in the little known town of Atmore, AL. They were the secret agents of change in their small community. Their strong presence will always remain larger than life to me. They are my she-roes!
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Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell