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The role Women have always been instrumental in directing the congregational and community stated Kesslyn Brade for many years(Brade, 312). The women were not the first to come and ask for advice or set up strategies for the family. It took a long time for women to have status in society without being judge. Women in medieval played many roles in their lifetime. I don't know if it was alright to be a woman in that era. Women were categorize in a variety of groups such as single, femmes soles, black women who had to be dealt with in society. According to James Massachaele, two groups have come in for special scrutiny, women who has passed through a phrase of singleness outside of their natal households prior to marriage and women who chose to remain single throughout their entire lives without obvious religion motivation (Massachaele, 195). The women had a lot to prove to the society. Investigation was done toward women becoming acceptable by the people. The main focus was on women intellectual capabilities, social designation and classification questioning James Massachaele (Massachaele, 195). Why does women have to be classified who they are in life? It should not matter how a woman is classified because she knows her life story. Women had to get ready for the time of their life. Women kept pressing on into the light whatever came their way. The problem was a battle between identity being situational and changeable for women said Beattie provided by James Massachaele (Massachaele, 195). This was a lesson learned not to put an label on women. Women have their own identity.The central focus of the women was religion. According to Emma Cavell, the main cultural discourses , particularly religious, that influence the construction of social categories, together with some of the socioeconomic and political developments in the late medieval England, may have a bearing on the process of social classification(Cavell, 504). Religion involved chastity among the virgins, widows, and femme sole effecting the practice of marriages and singleness(Cavell, 504).Christianity and the common law stood out as powerful forces indeed in the shaping of social categories pertaining to women discussed by the author Emma Cavell. In general, there were studies that impacted dominant cultural discourses on the classification of groups and individuals, who especially women, according to sexuality or their husbands' status(Cavell, 504). It doesn't matter whether the woman was married, virgin or a widow; she didn't equal up to the single man. You cannot get away from sex which was associate with the single woman.Now, let's move on to the 18th century concerning black women in those times. African American women has been involved with the community in different roles. They found themselves as the leading ladies of the church, social workers and scholars. The black woman were an interesting group of women to read about. I really enjoyed the article which was surprisingly hit home for me.According to Kesslyn Brade, women were instrumental in initiating and developing child welfare services, including orphanages, kindergartens and schools for people of color, especially for women receiving formal and practical education. African American women supported and uplifted racial equality by reaching out to the community when giving help to them. These women establish clubs to address the needs of African Americans happening in America. The article discusses female Christian preaches and activists such as Jarena Lee, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and others establishing community organizations and the 'helping tradition'. They wanted survival tips from one generation to the next. In particular, there were two women who stood out to become leaders of the women society such as Nannie Burroughs and Margaret Murray Washington. They were stirred up and couldn't take it anymore. The women had commitment to God and was about to make it known. The voices of the community would be heard by educators and social activists which had national & international support. I would like to start with Nannie Helen Burroughs who was classify as a 'radical womanist educator' with a distinctive Christian purpose (Brade, 314). She was born in Orange, VA on May 2 of 1883 or 1897. At the age of 5, She moved to Washington, DC with her mother and adventure into a world of possibilities. Ms. Burroughs was very energetic while at school helping others as much as possible. She wanted a job at a local school for colored girls in Washington DC.Nannie Buuroughs received other opportunities to expand her knowledge base as a bookkeeper and editor at Christian Banner of Philadelphia(Bradde, 315). Later on, Burroughs moved to Kentucky and served again as a bookkeeper, stenographer and editorial secretary in the Office of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention(Brade, 315). Also, she organized an women club where she taught different subjects supported by dues from women in the club. The school was a big success with everyone in the community. She was advise by a caucasian woman concerning the school implementing ways of financial assistance.She didn't forget about the dream of opening up a school for colored girls in Washington DC. Nannie Burroughs adventure on into doing other social events. She served as chair for an organizationinvolving women and mission projects in Africa. While the business was doing great, she approach the committee about the colored girl school and the accepted the challenge. The school was started two years later on October 19, 1909 called “The National Training School for Women and Girls.” The school focused on three major components for curriculum: The Bible-emblems of clean lives, The Bath- clean bodies & The Broom- clean homes(Brade, 316-317)Nannie Burroughs left a legacy in social policy and religion. She encouraged black women to take their families to the polls and vote on issues directly affecting black life. Nannie Burroughs was credit for establishing Women Day observances and opening the doors for females to preach(Brade 317). This was an remarkable woman working toward a good cause because she felt the pain in a man society.The next dominant woman is Mary Murray Washington. She was born between 1861 and 1865 to a Caucasian Irish immigrant named James Murray and an African American washer woman Lucy Murray. Until her father's death when she was 7 years old, Washington lived in Macon, MS and was one of ten children. (I am very familiar with Macon because its only about 20 minutes from my hometown). A Quakers family in a local community educated her about the importance of social activism, piety and good works. This is when she discovered her niche as a teacher(Brade, 318).She attended Fisk University Preparatory School in 1881. She studied Latin, Greek, German, French, philosophy, science and literature. Later on, she moved to Alabama to begin her new life. Margaret Washington met her husband, Booker T. Washington, at school which they both shared an interest for education and similar interactions with the students(Brade, 318). She had leadership abilities that focus on social well-being and education of women and specifically on rural women. This particular exclusive club promoted the general intellectual development of women concerning the needs of the community prompted more activity from women club(Brade, 319).Margaret Washington served as an educator, social activist and community reformer. She promoted Christian values, helping tradition and a community leader as well as an international advocate. Mrs. Washington taught the townspeople courses in reading, cooking, sewing, carpentry and tailoring in rural Alabama. She started many organizations locally and abroad for women of color. One of the organization was the National Association of Colored Women. In 1896, Mrs. Washington promoted issues such as women suffrage, anti-lynching, improved education and awareness of w omen’s problems. There was a change in the people who were poor were now being feed, possessed knowledge, skills and opportunity(Brade, 320) WOW! What a woman.Those two women provided opportunities for women of color. They were commitment to the Christian faith in action and commitment to social justice, ethic, American thought and social welfare. Women did it all single or married played an important role during those times and is still making a difference today. Women were strong then and strong now in a man society and will be in the years to come.


If it wasn't for the Women..........Black Women's Experience Womanist Culture in Church and Community.Montagno, Karen B.Anglican Theological Review 84.1 (Winter 2002) 152-154

Lessons from Our Past : African American, Christian Women and Integration of Faith and PracitceBrade, Kesslyn A. Social Work & Christianity 35.3 (Fall 2008):312-313

Medieval Single Women: The politics of Social Classification in late Medieval England. By, James Massachaele, The American Historical Review 114: 1 (Feb. 2009): 195.

Medieval Single Women: The poilitics of social classification in late Medieval England. By Cavel, Emma, Women History Review Vol.18 Issue 3, (Jul. 2009) p.503, 3p