- Program: NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COLORED WOMEN HELD IN BERKELEY HALL, BOSTON, MASS., JULY 29, 30, 31, 1895.
- Minutes: MINUTES OF THE FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COLORED WOMEN.
- Letter: LETTERS AND RESOLUTIONS.
- Report: REPORT OF THE WOMEN’S LOYAL UNION OF NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN.
- Report: REPORT OF THE WOMAN’S CLUB OF JEFFERSON CITY, MO.
- Report: THE WOMAN’S CLUB OF OMAHA.
- Letter: LETTER OF ONE THOUSAND WOMEN OF BETHEL CHURCH, NEW YORK.
- Letter: FROM OHIO TO HER SISTER STATES REPRESENTED
- Report: ST. LOUIS COLORED ORPHAN’S HOME.
- Letter: EXTRACTS FROM LETTER FROM MISS BALGARNIE.
- List: LIST OF DELEGATES TO NATIONAL CONFERENCE.
- Address: ADDRESS OF JOSEPHINE ST. P RUFFIN, PRESIDENT OF CONFERENCE.
- Poem: GREETING TO THE CONVENTION.
- Letter: A NOTEWORTHY CONVENTION..
- Report: WOMAN’S ERA CLUB RESOLUTIONS.
- Editorial: EDITORIAL.
- Report: LADY SOMERSET AND MISS WILLARD CONFESS OF THEMSELVES APOLOGISTS FOR LYNCHING.
- Social_Notes: SOCIAL NOTES.
- Report: TEXAS.
- Report: ILLINOIS.
- Report: PENNSYLVANIA.
- Report: OHIO.
- Review: LITERATURE DEPARTMENT.
- Report: CALIFORNIA.
- Report: THE OPEN COURT.
BOSTON, MASS., AUG., 1895. PRICE 10 CENTS.
ORGANIZATION (Not open to Public).
REPORTS FROM LEAGUES AND CLUBS.
ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT,
Mrs. J. St. P. Ruffin.
Mrs. H.A. Cook, Washington.
WOMAN AND THE HIGHER EDUCATION,
Ella L. Smith, A.B.A.M.
NEED OF ORGANIZATION,
Mrs. A.J. Cooper, Washington.
Miss A.T. Miner, Boston.
Miss L.C. Carter, New York.
A PLEA FOR JUSTICE.
Miss C.E. Hunter.
Mrs. E.E. Williams, New York.
Mrs. B.I. Washington, Tuskegee.
INDIVIDUAL WORK FOR MORAL ELEVATION,
Mrs. B.T. Washington, Alabama.
VALUE OF RACE LITERATURE,
Mrs. Victoria Matthews, New York.
POLITICAL EQUALITY, T. Thomas Fortune, Henry B. Blackwell,
William Lloyd Garrison.
Mrs. Agnes Adams, Boston.
Mrs. A.G. Brown, Boston; Mrs. L.C. Anthony, Missouri; Mrs. Butler, Atlanta, GA.
Hannah Smith and L.C. Carter
The First National Conference of Colored Women of America held in Boston, Mass., opened its session on Monday, July 29, at 10 A. M., Mrs. J. St. P. Ruffin, President of the Woman’s Era Club, calling the meeting to order. Miss Eliza Gardner, of the ERA club, offered prayer. The call was read by the Recording Secretary. A motion was made to elect officers for permanent organization, the chair to appoint the committee on nomination, with the following result:
Nominating Committee — Mrs. Aldridge, of Pittsburg, Pa.; Mrs. Jeffries, Rochester, N. Y.; Mrs. Sampson, Boston; Mrs. Garner, New York; Mrs. Pitts, St. Louis, and Mrs. Mahammitt of Omaha, who reported the following as officers for the convention: Mrs. J. St. P. Ruffin, of the Woman’s Era Club, President; Mrs. Helen A. Cook and Mrs. Booker T. Washington, Vice-Presidents; Mrs. Pitts and Miss Eliza C. Carter, Secretaries. Mrs. Pitts declined and the Secretary of the Woman’s Era Club, Mrs. H. Smith, was elected in her place.
A committee on resolutions was appointed to [ – ] to Miss Impey the expressions of sympathy from the convention, Mrs. Pitts, Miss Gardner and Mrs. Williams comprising the committee.
The following committee, on address to establish the platform of the convention, was appointed: Mrs. Victoria Matthews, Mrs. B. T. Washington, Mrs. Aldrich, Miss Ella Smith, Mrs. Pitts, Mrs. U. A. Ridley and Mrs. Mahammitt.
The chair then gave a few simple rules to govern the convention, which were adopted.
Pages Ernest Kenswin and Franklin Carmand were appointed.
Motion to adjourn.
Rules presented and adopted. 1. That speakers be limited to five minutes. 2. No person to speak more than twice on the same subject [ – ] unanimous consent of conference.
2 P. M.–The convention met at 2 P. M., and continued business by listening to the reports from the delegates. 14 states and the District of Columbia, 53 delegates, responded.
It was voted to defer the president’s address until the evening session.
Voted, that the report of Committee on Resolutions and Reports not responded to be read at [ – ] session.
Adjourned to meet at 8 P. M.
8 P. M.–The platform of the Convention was read by the Secretary, and the address of welcome was delivered by the President, Mrs. J. St. P. Ruffin.
The programme for the evening was carried out with the following additions: Mrs. Arianna Sparrow and Mr. M. M. Hodges singing solos. A collection was taken–$9.11.
10 A.M., Tuesday morning, July 30.–The Convention opened with devotional exercises.
Arrangements were made, as Mr. Henry Blackwell, husband of Lucy Stone, would be present at the evening session, to sing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” before his remarks.
The Convention went into secret session and discussed Jack’s letter. Resolutions were offered by Mrs. Ardelia Hin, Mrs. Anthony and Mrs. Mahammitt, followed by discussions by all the women, the whole culminating in a set of resolutions by Mrs. Matthews which were adopted by the Convention. Leaflets on Jack’s letter to be sent to England.
Letters were also read from Gen. O. O. Howard, Rev. Therkield, Berea College, Talladega College, George W. Cable and others.
Mrs. Mathews, Mrs. Dickerson and Mrs. Mahammitt were appointed to draw up resolutions to be forwarded to Judge Albion W. Tourgee, who is now in.
Voted that collections be taken for the printing of whatever matter the Convention, in its deliberation, may decide to have printed.
2 P. M.–The programme for the afternoon was carried out, with the exception of Mrs. Victoria Mathews’ paper, which was laid over until evening. Miss Hunter read a paper, “A Plea for Justice,” and a song was rendered by Miss Goings, also a paper read by Mrs. Williams of New York.
[ – ] The order of original programme [ – ] the introduction, before the regu- [ – ] of a paper on “Individual Work for Moral Elevation,” by Mrs. B. T. Washington, and a paper on “Race Literature,” by Mrs. Victoria Mathews.
10 A. M., Wednesday, July 31.–The morning session of the First National Convention of Colored Women was opened with prayer by Mrs. Agnes Adams. Singing by the Convention.
Minutes of Monday and Tuesday sessions read and approved, with the necessary corrections.
Dr. Crummell was invited to make some remarks and a rising vote of thanks was tendered him by the Convention. The exercises for the morning were reversed so that the remaining time could be given up to business. Subject of Social Purity was discussed and a paper by Mrs. Agnes Adams was read, Mrs. Dr. Butler and Mr. Chas. Morris making remarks on the same subject. The subject of Temperance was then taken up, Mrs. A.G. Brown reading a paper, followed by Mrs. Anthony.
Resolutions endorsing Miss Wells’ work and congratulations on her recent marriage were offered by Mrs. B.T. Washington, and adopted.
Committee on the Impey letter and resolutions to be sent to Judge Albion Tourgee reported and reports adopted.
Committee was appointed to draw up resolutions on the Georgia convict system, lynching, and the Florida state law making it a crime to teach white and colored children at the same time in the same schools, and other atrocities.
Voted, that this body support the Congregational church in its action in matter of the Florida law.
After singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic in honor of Julia Ward Howe, the convention adjourned.
2 P.M. — No papers were read on this afternoon.
Mrs. Ridley of Boston, Mrs. Maxwell of New York, and Mrs. Cooper of Washington, were appointed on the committee on resolutions relating to the Georgia convict system, Florida state school law, lynching, and other atrocities.
The Convention then took up the business of national organization. Mrs. Cook was allowed time to make the necessary explanations regarding the National League. Mrs. Matthews presented resolutions asking that a national organization now be formed.
The Convention adjourned to meet to finish business Thursday morning, at 10 A. M., in Charles St. Church to complete organization.
Thursday, Aug. 1. — The extra session of the Convention opened at 11 A.M. in Charles St. Church. Devotional exercises were led by Miss Gardner, Chaplain. Minutes read and approved. Mrs. Ruffin asked for time to make an explanation in regard to a false statement made in the Boston Journal, after which the docket was cleared for new business. Mrs. Ridley proposed that a national organization be now formed, with its own laws, officers, constitution, etc. Mrs. Matthews offered resolutions agreeing with Mrs. Ridley’s proposition, which were adopted, and a committee on organization, consisting of one delegate from each delegation was appointed. A discussion followed as to the clause looking to a union with the Colored Women’s National League.
A committee was then appointed to perfect organization, and the following names reported to be balloted for by the Convention: Mrs. B.T. Washington, Alabama, Pres.; Mrs. F.Y. Ridley, Boston, Cor. Sec.; Miss L.C. Carter, Brooklyn, Rec. Sec.; Mrs. Ruffin, Treas. Mrs. Ruffin positively declining to serve. Mrs. L.C. Anthony of Jefferson City, Mo., was substituted. The Vice Presidents were chosen by the Convention as follows: Mrs. Dickerson, Newport, R.I.; Mrs. Helen Crum, Charleston, S.C.; Mrs. Ella Mahammit, Omaha, Neb.; Mrs. Mabel Garner, New York.
Voted that the WOMAN’S ERA be made the organ of the national organization through which to gain all information regarding the organization.
Mrs. Mathews’ resolution to frame a constitution adopted.
Voted, that the name of the new organization be laid over; a collection to be taken to defray the expense of the leaflet; the clubs to be taxed pro rata; a new committee to be formed to gather up the loose ends of the Convention; Mrs. Mathews, Mrs. Carmand, Mrs. Casneau, Mrs. Agnes Adams, former committee on atrocities, discharged. That this Convention gives a rising vote of thanks to the pastor for allowing us the use of the church; to Mrs. B.T. Washington’s resolution to the Era Club; a rising vote for entertainment; vote to Franklin Carmand. That printed minutes be left in the hands of the ex-committee; officers and ex-board National Organ confer with the officers and ex-board Washington National League toward a union with the Colored Woman’s National League. To adjourn, subject to the call of the Pres., Mrs. B. T. Washington. That we thank the press generally for their courteous, kind and dignified report of the Conference, with the exception of the Boston Journal.
Convention adjourned, singing “God Be With You Tin We Meet Again.”
Miss Gardner dismissed with prayer.
Whereas, a most indecent, foul and slanderous letter, traducing American womanhood, has been sent to Miss Florence Balgarnie of England, by one Jno. W. Jacks, Pres. of the Mo. Press Association,
Be it therefore resolved, that this National Conference of Colored Women denounce this man as a traducer of female character, a man wholly without sense of chivalry and honor, and bound by the iron hand of prejudice, sectionalism, and race hatred, entirely unreliable and unworthy the prominence he seeks.
That no man capable of reverencing his mother or protecting the unsullied fame of any woman, much less Miss Balgarnie, whose life work entitles her to the respect at least of progressive and wholesome minds, regardless of sex, wherever principle and unselfish efforts to uplift struggling humanity exists. And as the man has not only slandered the women of negro extraction but the mothers of American morality, on a question that not only involves the good repute of the present generation, but generations yet to come,
Be it resolved, that our condemnation be expressed in leaflet form and forwarded to England, with the request that a copy of each be enfolded in all the publications sent out by the Anti-Lynching society.
Be it further resolved, that we hereby express our appreciation of Miss Balgarnie and the whole English people for their unselfish interest in the cause.
Whereas, it occurred to the Era Club of Boston to issue a fraternal call to the Colored Women’s Clubs of America to meet in this city to discuss the needs of the race,
And, whereas, the result of that call has brought together many of the noblest women of the race, who might otherwise never have met, and whereas the meeting has been one of profit and pleasure to the individuals and the race, be it therefore resolved, that we do now extend to the Era Club and its honored president our deepest appreciation of the pleasure, profit and courtesy extended to us as a conference and as their guests.
RESOLVED, That we, the representative women [ – ] in United States, have witnessed with great admiration the noble and truthful advocacy of Mrs. Ida B. Wells Barnett, defending us against the lying charge of rape, and we take this opportunity of congratulating her upon her recent marriage, and are glad to hail her, in the face of all her assailants, as our noble “Joanna of Arc.”
BOSTON, MASS, July 30, ’95.
MISS CATHERINE IMPEY, Street, Somerset, Eng.,
Dear Friend — The National Conference of Colored Women now assembled in Boston in the interest of the race and in the cause of oppressed womanhood, now turn from our deliberations, on hearing of the serious illness of your dear mother, to express to you our deepest and sincerest sympathy in your distress. To us you are inexpressibly dear, and we wish you to feel that your sorrow and anxiety are ours, and that the prayers of the colored women of America are that God, in his infinite mercy, may “let the cup pass” and spare your parent for many years, so that her watchful love and care may continue to guide you and help you in your noble work for humanity. But to one of your abiding faith there is no sweeter consolation than that “He doeth all things well.”
May the blessings of God rest upon you, may the Lord bless you and lift the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Yours, in deepest sympathy,
MRS. M. F. PITTS,> MRS. M. E. WILLIAMS,ELIZA GARDNER, Committee.
BOSTON, MASS., July 30, ’95.
ALBION W. TOURGEE, Mayville, N.Y.,
Esteemed Friend and Co-worker-The National Conference of Colored Women now assembled, being informed of your illness, voted unanimously to extend to you the heartfelt sympathy of the body and their earnest hopes for your speedy recovery. And further desire to express to you their appreciation of your life-long efforts in the cause of oppressed humanity.
VICTORIA MATHEWS, MARY DICKERSON, ELLA L. MAHAMMIT.
Kate V. Carmand
Feeling the need of our women coming in closer contact with one another to discuss matters of vital interest to the race we represent, and which can only be done by organization, the Women’s Loyal Union was formed December 5, 1892, with Mrs. Victoria Matthews as president, which office she now holds, and to whom much of the success of the Union is due.
We have for our watchwords, “Vigilant, Patriotic, and Steadfast.”
Our object is the diffusion of accurate and extensive information relative to the civil and social status of the colored American citizen, that they may be directed to an intelligent assertion of their rights, and unite in the employment of all lawful means to secure and retain the undisputed exercise of them.
The methods of the Union are, First, full and free discussion of existing evils, moral, physical, and political. Second, the circulation of printed matter relating to the colored American, whether written by them or not.
We have a membership of over seventy women, pledged as willing workers. Many have proven themselves, zealous, earnest, and always ready when called upon to contribute not only their time, but their means. Among, our members we claim professional women, doctors, school-teachers, literary women, writers of poetry and prose, trades women, artists, home-makers and housekeepers.
We have formed chapters, or branches, in Charleston, S. C., Memphis, Tenn., Philadelphia, Penn., and Brooklyn, N. Y. Since our organization, we have called public meetings in our churches to discuss topics affecting the interests of the race in the Southland and in our own section, with beneficial results. At one of our meetings we had the honor of having present as our guest, the President of your club, Mrs. Josephine Ruffin, who read a very interesting paper. We have contributed clothing and money to the Sea Island sufferers; presented a very fine Mason and Hamlin organ to the Colored Hospital and Home of this city. To stimulate race pride, we held in the parlors of a private residence an exhibition of art, work done by colored men and women, with marked results; so much so that an organization now holds an art exhibit every year.
Sent petitions on the Blair Resolution to Congress, signed by over ten thousand men and women. Through the untiring energy of our President, distributed hundreds of circular letters through the South and West, asking for information concerning the moral, intellectual, physical, and home life, generally, of families. Assisted various causes by giving entertainments. Presented Miss Hallie Q. Brown with a purse of money toward her mission in England, to solicit funds to establish a library at Wilberforce College, to be called Frederick Douglass Library. Presented to Miss Jennie Dean the sum of fifty dollars for the Manassas Industrial School.
In the death of the Honorable Frederick Douglass, we felt that the women of our land had lost a great advocate and staunch friend, and as a token of our appreciation of his efforts in our behalf and sorrow for our bereavement, our Union presented to his widow and family it handsomely engrossed, bound, memorial resolution.
In the early part of June last we gave an entertainment at Bethel Church, where Mr. Richings exhibited his views of people, places, industries, and progress made by the colored people, especially in the South, despite the oppression and disadvantages they labor under. The race problem seems to he solving itself. Give us a chance!
We are now turning our time and attention to the circulation of printed matter in the form of leaflets, which have been suggested to us by the answers contained in the replies to the circular letters. We have already printed for distribution, at a small price within the reach of all, leaflets addressed to “Parents and Guardians,” and will soon have another, “The Sanctity Of Home,” to be followed by others– all of which are written by members of our Association. In this way we hope to reach the masses, and do more effectual good than spoken words to the few.
We have not always had the helping hand extended to us that an organization and such an object calls for and demands, but by persistent effort in the future, as in the past, we hope to merit the good will and ready assistance of all good women throughout the land.
M.E. Dorsey, L.H. Wooldridge, S.A. Dupee, and M.E. Capelton
Under the name of the Harper W.C.T.U. a few of our women have been organized and work along reformatory lines for the past five years, the object being to better the condition of the colored people of the community by a gradual training of the mind to higher aims and purposes of life.
Realizing the value of the words of Solomon, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” we early opened a training school, and each Saturday afternoon gathered the children and gave them about an hour’s instruction in plain sewing, after which short talks on temperance, truthfulness, honesty, etc., were given by some of the women of the Union. Pretty songs were also taught which the children delighted in. At length a fair was held, and each article made by the children, together with fancy articles made by members and friends were placed on exhibition with the maker’s name attached. Each child delighted to point out to parent or friend any article she had made, and a parent delighted to buy because her child had made it. This training school proved very helpful to the children.
The Union also held mothers’ meetings, and special talks were given on “Child Culture,” “Social Purity,” “Value of Example,” etc.
Our much beloved and esteemed F.E.W. Harper was brought to Jefferson City to lecture, and the great zeal and inspiration of this race-loving woman is still bearing fruit, from seed sown when she was with us years ago.
In fact, any zeal that I, or most of the other colored women of Missouri have today for the uplifting of humanity, we owe to Mrs. Harper, who came to us and turned our thought to the great need of earnest effort by our women.
At Jefferson City, Mo., there was a number of women who, for various reasons, we could not enlist in our W. C. T. U. work, so in a meeting of the Union we decided to extend our borders, and admit women who were not specially pledged to temperance work. Therefore, the Woman’s Club was formed, the special object of which is to work more earnestly for the purity of our homes and the general advancement of colored women.
The first week as a club was to bring Miss Ida B. Wells Barnett to Jefferson City to lecture, June 18. By her graphic descriptions of the wrongs upon our race, she won the applause of all who heard her.
The ERA and other colored papers are read and discussed at our meetings.
When the call for this Conference was made through the ERA, to refute the charge of immorality by one J. W. Jacks of Missouri, on hearing his slanderous letter our women became aroused as never before. Committees were appointed to confer with ministers; as a result, three large public meetings were held and strong resolutions adopted and sent to Montgomery City, Mo., his home, to England, and the press.
Nothing has ever called forth such just indignation from the citizens of Jefferson as did this base letter, coming as it did from our own state. When this call for a Conference was read, they decided to send a delegate, at any cost, to utter their project. And never did women work more earnestly than did these slandered women to raise the money which makes it possible for me to be with you today. Their prayer is that we may yet bring good out of this great evil done us, by resolving here to so unite ourselves and concentrate our forces that we may be able to show to the world that we, as colored women, are struggling for a higher, nobler, and purer life.
The following resolutions were adopted and sent to this Conference:–
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., July 23, 1895.
National Convention of the Women’s Club, Boston, Massachusetts:
At a recent meeting of the Woman’s Club, located at Jefferson City, Missouri, in Cole County, a committee was appointed to draw up resolutions denouncing certain slanderous statements which were written in a letter to Miss Florence Balgarnie, London, England, dated March 6, 1895, by one J. W. Jacks, president of the Missouri Press Association. Whereas he says, first, that the Negroes of this country are wholly devoid of morality; second, that the women are prostitutes and all are natural liars and thieves.
THEREFORE be it resolved, That we denounce him publicly to the entire country as a falsifier, and his statement as wholly devoid of truth.
In answer to the call of Mrs. Ophelia Clenlaus and Mrs. Laura M. Craig, eighteen women assembled in Omaha, Feb. 14, ’95, to discuss plans for organizing the progressive women of the city into one united body, whose aims and purposes might be the education of the heart, hand and mind of the individual members and the promotion and advancement of all race measures. Realizing the fact that the best success results from concerted action, and that not individual effort, nor the efforts of the few, but rather the united efforts of the masses must win the desired end, the women unanimously agreed to organize themselves into a body that should be liberal in its principles, broad, charitable and far reaching.
The result was an association called “The Woman’s Club of Omaha,” which aims to serve a three-fold purpose. First, to stimulate intellectual development; second, to promote unity and good fellowship amongst its members, and thirdly, to strengthen by organization, individual, philanthropic and reformatory effort.
The club is strictly nonsectarian in its principles and offers its advantages to any respectable woman who is in sympathy with the work and may present herself for membership. Already the number has increased from 18 to 15 active workers, and the club enjoys the happy distinction of possessing the approbation and endorsement of nearly every broad-minded, race-loving, progressive citizen of Nebraska. As a further mark of recognition, the club has received greetings from the Omaha’s Woman’s Club, an organization composed of 600 white women; resolutions of endorsement from the Afro-American League of Nebraska, an institution operated by the negro talent of the state, and numerous letters of approval from the clergy, literary societies and private citizens. It is the hope of the women to soon establish themselves in permanent club rooms where they may hold their regular meetings, lectures, etc., and conduct a library and reading room for club members and any other women who may desire to take advantage.
A committee is now negotiating for such rooms and until the plans are completed the club will continue to hold bi-weekly meetings at the homes of the members.
For intellectual development the club work is divided into three departments, viz., Political Economy and Civil Government, Current Topics and English Literature and History. Every member of the club must register in some one of these departments, all of which, under competent leaders, are doing excellent work.
In all reformatory efforts affecting mankind generally and women particularly the club enters enthusiastically. At the last general assembly of the state of Nebraska it was engaged earnestly in the effort to stop the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the state, and joined heart and soul in the social purity question, sending down to the legislature a petition, bearing the names of 150 colored women, praying that the body to raise the “age of consent” from 15 to 18 years.
In many ways the association has helped individual advancement, and much credit attaches to it for its unceasing and untiring efforts in securing the appointment of a negro teacher in the public schools of Omaha.
While the club was organized primarily for intellectual improvement, social affairs are not entirely neglected, and its members strive to create and foster a spirit of kindliness and sociability amongst women generally by bringing them in friendly touch with one another, but the lighter amusements of life are discouraged in that the club as a club does not engage in them. To supply the diversion necessary to healthy social life, a series of lectures, followed by an hour’s social intercourse, has been inaugurated and is yielding excellent results. The annual lecture course consists of eight numbers, the most of which are to be gratuitously furnished by local talent, in which Omaha happily abounds, and as the club can arrange to do so the remaining numbers will be filled by the best imported talent the race affords.
Together with the prescribed club studies and readings and the lecture course the Woman’s Club of Omaha is thoroughly enjoying its initial year. Perfect harmony and good will prevail amongst the members, and the women seeking to “touch life with upward impulse” are quietly executing their desires to make our girls better women, our women better wives, our wives better mothers.
The western delegates were typical western women, bright and alert, and thoroughly at home on the floor. Unfortunately their stay was so limited, and the sessions of this congress so prolonged and fatiguing that Boston saw little of them socially. All of the westerners, Mrs. Pitts, Miss Anthony, and Mrs. Mahammit were at Mrs. Ransom’s.
The Women of Bethel Church, New York City.
To the Women’s Convention, Boston, Mass.
The call sent out by the Era Club proposing a gathering of Afro-American women in deliberative convention simply put in words what has long been the wish of thousands.
We are sorry, that the “Jack’s letter” should seem to be the prick which stung to activity. We would not have it to appear that we are aroused to action only by the irritation of external circumstances, but would be glad for the world to know that, in reality, our women are taking intelligent cognizance of the inner life of the race, and that the desire to be actually noble is more potent than the impulse to resent insult and seek vindication. What we think of ourselves is always more important than what others think of us, that is to say, self-respect based upon truth is the foundation we seek to lay.
We would desire the world to know that long before the base slanders, born in the vile mind of a common Missouri white man, were uttered, our women were actively at work among the masses of our people, seeking to ground them in the fundamental principles of true progress. The existence of such a sheet as THE WOMAN’S ERA, the existence of such organizations as the Women’s Loyal Union, the Women’s Afro-American League, the Women’s Meeting of Bethel Church, the work which these various enterprises have laid out and the earnestness with which it has been pursued, are in themselves a complete vindication against all slander. We trust that the vile “Jack’s letter” will not give color to your deliberations nor in any sense become the spur under which you lay out the work of the future. We would have the world to see that there is a large element of our women who, in convention assembled, can show complete freedom from the imaginative and mercurial disposition which has been the fatal defect in so many conventions of our men.
We believe that it would be unwise to permit this convention to be the sounding board of mere “agitators.” We recognize in the “Jack’s letter” and other such slanders the natural results of the resentment provoked by the fierce denunciations of “southern white women” that have been injudiciously indulged in by some of the “mercurial persons” of the race. We look with more hope to the conservative workers who seek to lay true foundations and who employ such means as the well-edited WOMAN’S ERA and the well-conducted organizations referred to above. The truly representative women of the race can never be enlisted in any movement that is lead by the ignorant enthusiasts or the fiery agitators, whose incentive to action is the intoxication of excited sensibilities, full of the chimeras of distempered fancy.
We know the character of those under whom this convention is called, and we have faith in the calm sobriety which has always characterized their endeavors. We send to you Mrs. Hannah Jones, who will represent the one thousand Afro-American women of Bethel congregation. Our work is among the masses and our motto is “true progress.” We can and will lend powerful support to such enterprises as promise true good to the race.
May God prosper your great undertaking.
THE WOMEN OF BETHEL CHURCH. New York City.
Miss Josie B. Hunt and Mrs. Granville Hunt
NEW YORK, JULY 24, 1895.
To the Woman’s Conference in session in Boston, Mass., under the auspices of the Woman’s Era Club:
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Rom. 12: 9.
We, the Cleave Circle of King’s Daughters of the Antioch Baptist Church, New York City, regret very much that we find it impracticable to be represented among you in person, and take great pleasure in conferring with you by letter. We heartily unite with you in all good in behalf of the object of your work. We think it a very timely move, and hail with joy the “era” of woman’s activity amid the many interests which should demand the attention of every “energetic” woman, for upon each rest greatly individual thought, expression, and action, which can and shall do much toward revolutionizing the preset state of affairs existing in this most enlightened age of all time–the dawn of the twentieth century–and believe much can be done in this direction by working in conference for the improvement of law, leading to equity in the administration of the rules of government, without partiality.
The Rev. Granville Hunt, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, kindly called our attention to the infamous letter written by John W. Jacks of
Missouri to Miss Florence Balgarnie of London, England, regarding the characters, etc., of colored women. After having considered it thoroughly, we are prepared to say emphatically that it is erroneous and contradictory as a whole; and we are inexpressibly sorry that enlightened America has a citizen in public service, who manifests in plain English his lack of that sensibility, love for neighbor, which teaches us to consider both sides, yes, all sides of a man’s condition, especially when treating on character .
As members of an organization striving for the betterment of humanity along all lines impartially, we would advice John W. Jacks to read Prov. 28 and digest its contents; and we pray that he, through Christ, may be lead to think and act according to God’s own words as written in his Book. May he be saved! And as to the disposition of his letter, we are content that your mature judgment will, with divine guidance, manage it aright. After this manner, we pray for you in all your deliberations, and most co-operatively sign ourselves,
Yours, in His Name, the Cleave Circle of King’s Daughters.
MISS JOSIE B. HUNT, Leader. MRS. GRANVILLE HUNT, Sec.
Sada J. Woodson Anderson
WOMEN’S MITE MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, TOLEDO, OHIO, July 29, 1895.
To the National Conference of Colored Women now in session in Boston, Mass.;
My dear Sisters –This is a very trying ordeal for me to undergo, this of not being able to be with you. However, I pray God’s guidance in all you do. I feel that I voice the sentiment of all the noble women of the grand Buckeye State, in saying that in the galaxy of states represented in the Conference, none are more loyal to the cause of justice than Ohio, “the fairest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely. May the grace of a triune God overshadow you as a cloud by day, and when the shades of night appear may this same grace protect you as a wall of fire. God bless you!
Yours for the protection of our women,
SADA J. WOODSON ANDERSON, Cor. Sec.
Jno. Albert Williams
OMAHA, Neb., July 21, 1895.
To the National Convention of Colored American Women assembled in Boston, Mass.:
It was proposed in local circles-too late, however, to become practicable-that joint resolutions and a general letter endorsing your Convention and expressing sympathy with its motive and tenor be prepared by the various religious bodies and other altruistic organizations in this vicinity, and sent by the hand of the Nebraska Delegate to your Convention.
In lieu of such general documents from my congregation, I send you most gladly a personal letter, less authoritative, perhaps, but none the less sincere, as an individual expression of my deep interest in this advance movement among the women of our race, which issues in your Convention.
This is the age of centralization and unification: concentration of forces, unity of purpose. You show yourselves children of the age by assembling in convention for “devising liberal things” for the advancement of the interests of and for the protection of the womanhood of the Negro race in America.
National conventions are not necessary, however, to vindicate the honor and good name of Negro womanhood from libelous attacks by obscure Southern journalists, such as the unknown individual from Missouri, whose letter to Miss Balgarnie was in part responsible for your Convention. What vindication needs Negro womanhood? Look at our happy and virtuous homes. If our womanhood is depraved by what miracle are our homes preserved? National conventions of Negro women are necessary, however, to demand such legislation as will protect comely colored girls and women from the insults and rapacity of Southern chivalry.
Your deliberations will be, I trust, marked with wisdom, and fruitful in results.
Awaiting with interest reports from your Convention, I am with cordial sympathy and good will, Yours faithfully,
JNO. ALBERT WILLIAMS, Rector Ch. Of St. Philip the Deacon.
One of the interesting features was a delegate from “the thousand women of Bethel Church, New York,” Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones was a calm and dignified delegate and, representing so many women, attracted much attention.
M.F. Pitts and Miss L. Carter
One of the departments of work taken up by Harper W.C.T.U. is the care of orphan and neglected children. In October, 1888, the ladies opened a home for homeless children. Since that time it has fed, clothed, and for a time, schooled 110 children. The management consists of a board of fifteen ladies chosen from the W.C.T.U., under whose entire charge is the care of the Home. The Home is unendowed, our means support being by donation, subscription, and entertainment. Our current expenses are from $100.00 to $115.00 per month. We keep regularly employed a matron, nurse, and cook. While non-sectarian, it is emphatically a religious institution. While we try to meet the physical and mental wants of our children, we also give them religious instructions and a reverence and love for God’s word.
Friends or strangers are welcome to make inspection of our Home at any time. We have 42 children in our Home at present. We receive no children under two years of age or over twelve years. At the age of twelve years we find homes for them, as we know the individuality of each child can better be preserved, its character studied and molded and more freedom granted in a private home than in an institution.
We place children out for adoption on three month’s trial. If, at the end of that time, the party and institution are both satisfied, we make the stay permanent by adoption; if either is dissatisfied the child is recalled. When adopted, so far as possible, we keep in communication with them and know their welfare.
As to our resources, we have none. All of our expenses are met by donations from a generous public and entertainments, without which our Home would long since have closed its doors, but with which we have thus far been able to receive and properly care for all its inmates.
It will be readily seen that upon a Board of fifteen ladies there is entailed in this work of soliciting a very arduous task. With great cause for gratitude in the past, we look earnestly into the future, hoping the time is not far distant when the St. Louis Colored Orphan Home, which has proven itself a necessity in the community, will not be allowed to struggle on without an endowment fund, the income of which will be sufficient to relieve us of the outside and humiliating work of securing money to feed and care for the helpless orphans who appeal to our sympathy. We cannot measure the good it reaches into eternity.
MRS. M.F. PITTS, Pres. MISS L. CARTER, Sec.
Copy of resolutions passed at a meeting of the Afro-American League of Omaha held July, 1895:
OMAHA, Neb., July 20, 1895.
To the Honorable President of the Woman’s National Convention, Boston, Mass.,–
WHEREAS, one John W. Jacks, President of the Missouri Press Association, has written a letter to Miss Florence Balgarnie, Honorable Secretary of the Anti-Lynching League of London, England, whereby he attempts to traduce the womanhood of the American negro, and whereas the future of every race of people is entirely dependent upon the intellectual and moral status of its womanhood, and,
Whereas, the letter referred to is a willful misrepresentation of facts, originating from a morbid brain and a lack of appreciation of truth and justice,
Therefore, resolved, that we hereby denounce and brand the Southern gentleman as a willful and malicious falsifier and traducer of womanhood. That no gentleman worthy of the name could afford to lay aside his dignity to indulge in such language as that contained in the letter to Miss Balgarnie from John W. Jacks; that we entertain no fear for the anti-lynching cause through such agencies or methods.
Be it further resolved, that we heartily endorse the action of the Colored Woman’s Club of Omaha in sending a delegate to the National Convention to be held at Boston, that they have our sympathy and will have our co-operation in all they may do for the elevation of mankind, regardless of race or nationality.
Be it further resolved that a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Woman’s National Convention through the representative of the Colored Woman’s Club of Omaha.
W. H. C STEPHENSON President Afro-American League, Omaha. M.L. WILSON, J.W. LONG, W.H. SCROGGINS, Committee.
Mrs. Carmand and Mrs. Garner of New York, Mrs. Dickerson of Newport, Mrs. Crum of Charleston, were among the intelligent “reliables.”
Rev. W.J. Brown and Lavinia Carter
ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 24, 1895.
To the Conference of Colored American Women assembled in Boston, Mass.:
The colored women of St. Louis have received with pleasure the call issued by their sisters of the Woman’s Era Club for a conference to be held in Boston. We recognize the fact that there is a pressing need for such a conference, since never in the history of our country ha prejudice against our race been more active, and in certain directions more influential and more regnant.
We recognize the fact that we are no longer wards of the nation; the time when we could ask for special legislation in our behalf, either by the national Congress or the state legislatures, has passed; that to ourselves, and ourselves alone we must look for progress in the future, and that that progress must come through the cultivation and exercise and virtues proper to a Christian civilization.
Living in the state from whence has recently emanated a foul slander upon our people, we emphatically protest against the truthfulness of the same, and joyfully join our sisters of the whole country in vindicating the womanhood of our race.
Hoping that deliberations of the Conference may be moderate in tone and wise in purpose, and that the plans of action proposed may be prudent and practicable, we pledge ourselves to the extent of our ability to aid in carrying out the work which it may propose.
Signed by the Committee, REV. W.J. BROWN,Pres.LAVINIA CARTER,Sec.
Annie L. Blanchard and Anna M. Barbadoes
SALEM, July 2, 1895.
The Woman’s Progressive Club of Salem was formed June 12, ’95. The purpose of this club is to broaden and strengthen the moral, social, intellectual and religious life of its members, and through them to make itself a power for good, not only in their home, but abroad in other fields; also to help those who have not had the advantages of home influence and education, thereby assigning them to a higher plan of living.
As our club is of very recent formation, the report is necessarily brief, but as the days and months pass by we shall be enabled to accomplish some good. Our club consists of 17 members, who are wide awake, enthusiastic, and interested in helping to solve the various problems of our day and time.
ANNIE L. BLANCHARD, Pres. ANNA M. BARBADOES, Sec.
Elizabeth E. Lane
July 21, 1895.
To the Woman’s Era Club:
We, a few of the members of the Tuskegee Woman’s Club, though numbering more than those necessary for a quorum, feel that we would express to the Conference our sentiments, and take for granted the ready agreement of those of our members who are debarred from joining us, because of absence attendant upon the summer vacation of the Tuskegee Normal School.
We consider this Woman’s Conference to be a matter of vital importance to the women of our race, and would extend our hearty goodwill and appreciation of the movement through Mrs. B. T. Washington, the originator and president of our club, who, with Miss Susie H. Porter, our vice-president, will represent us and our aim,–that of the welfare of our women, based upon our general intellectual development.
- Sara Peake Green.
- Mary M. Fleming.
- Estelle C. Penney.
- Leonora L. Chapman.
- Adella Hunt Logan.
- Emma G. Young.
- Ida T. McCall.
- A. K. Hamilton.
- E. J. Scott.
- Evy A. Johnson.
- Norma W. Caster.
- Fannie E. Killian.
- S. M. Washington.
- Nannie S. Calloway.
- Lottie T. Greene.
- Virginia L. Driver.
- Alice A. Torbert.
- Estelle Maude Jackson.
- M. Louise Jenkins.
ELIZABETH E. LANE, Secretary Tus. Woman’s Club, Tuskeega, Ala.
At a meeting of the Woman’s Club of Omaha, held July 20, the following resolutions were adopted:–
RESOLVED, That we, the Woman’s Club of Omaha, congratulate you on the forming of the organization of a National Club of Negro Women, and will heartily co-operate in very effort towards the advancement of the race, and
Whereas, a calumnious letter has been written by John W. Jacks, in which he characterizes the Negroes of this country, especially the women, as being immoral, be it
Resolved, That we denounce such accusations as false, and that the convention take such steps as it may deem necessary to refute these scandalous statements.
AUGUSTA, GA., July 31, 1895.
Care Mrs. Ruffin, 103 Charles St., Boston.
Greetings. May success attend the meeting. We need houses, homes, good mothers.
Mrs. Rebecca Aldrige
PITTSBURG, July 27, 1895.
To the First National Conference of Colored Women, Boston, Mass.
We, the members of the Belle Phoebe League of the twin cities, namely Pittsburg and Allegheny, beg leave to submit the following report to your noble body:
We were organized November 20, 1894. Object: Self culture, and to advance the interest of the women of our race on all lines pertaining to the development of a nobler womanhood and the securing of our rights in every legitimate way, and to second the efforts of our leading women such its Mrs. Ida B. Wells-Barnett and others. Number of members, nineteen; monthly taxation, five cents. Our league is in a flourishing condition. Signed on behalf of said league,
MRS. REBECCA ALDRIGE, Pres., MRS. S. A. BENTLEY, Vice-Pres., LILLIAN S. DORKINS, Sec., LIZZIE H. MONROE, Rec. Sec.
July 25,1895. Women of the Era Club:
The Woman’s League of Denver, Col., send you greetings!
We have received your call and respond in spirit, if not in presence. We are not lacking in progressiveness neither in indignation at the slur cast upon our mothers, sisters, daughters, and ourselves by Mr. Jacks’ letter, but circumstances involving finances prevent us from sending a delegate. Our women have held meetings, read and re-read the articles sent by your club, and we assure you that every sentence of Mr. Jacks’ letter–the most infamous ever written by a man possessing the attributes of manhood–has been literally burned in each and all hearts.
Whatever action may be taken by the women who will meet you to discuss present conditions and how best to elevate the race, you can count upon our co-operation.
We wish you a pleasant and satisfactory gathering. I am very cordially yours,
IDA DePRIEST, Cor. Sec.
LOS ANGELES, CAL., July 25, 1895.
To President and Members of Women’s Conference, Berkeley Hall:
Greetings. Owing change date Conference regret inability to send Mrs. Veno, our delegate.
- Rev. D. R. Jones,
- M. E. Syke, M. D.,
- Mrs. H. M. Spiller,
- Mrs. E. A. Talbot,
- Rev. S. A. Hawkins,
- Mrs. Lillia Williams,
- Mrs. Emma Baker,
- Citizens’ Committee.
The objects of this Committee are to obtain reliable information on the subject of Lynching and Mob Outrages in America, to make the facts known and to give expression to public opinion in condemnation of such outrages in whatever way may best seem calculated to assist the cause of humanity and civilization.
LONDON, ENG. July 19, 1895.
MY DEAR MRS. RUFFIN RIDLEY,
I shall think of you and your friends in your convention beginning on the 29th, and only wish I could be there. You have done just what I expected brave, true-hearted women would do, that is, put on a bold front to the traducers of your race and sex. I am sure great good will come out of your discussions. Please let me see your paper if it contains accounts of it. I am most anxious to learn all particulars.
Please also convey my expressions of sympathy to your friends, and make it quite clear to them that in sending you the letter I was convinced of its utter and dastardly falsehood from the first. You have a hard fight before you in America, but never fear, right must triumph, and with God on your side you are in a majority.
Your loyal comrade in the cause,
CHICAGO, ILLS. July 29, 1895.
To Women’s Conference, care of Mrs. Josephine Ruffin, Berkeley Hall;
Our earnest greetings! Success to your endeavors! Our letter later.
IDA B. WELLS, Woman’s Club.
Washington Colored Women’s League – Mrs. Annie J. Cooper, Miss Ella L. Smith, Miss Lucinda Cook, Miss Marion P. Shadd, Mrs. Helen A. Cook.
Omaha, Neb.- Mrs. Ella Mahammitt.
Golden Rule Club, Cambridge – Mrs. James E. Wilson.
Salem, Mass – Mrs. Lucy Washington, Miss Annie Blanchard.
Boston – Ruth Circle, Mrs. Ruth Turner, Mrs. J. Hopewell.
Working Women’s League, Providence, R.I. Mrs. Hannah Greene.
Female Benevolent Firm, Boston – Miss Elizabeth Smith, Mrs. M. Stephenson.
W.A.A.U., New York – Mrs. E.E. Williams, Flushing, N.Y.
St. John, N.B – Mrs. Whetsel
Women’s Loyal Union of New York and Brooklyn – Mrs. Matthews, Mrs. Garner, Mrs. L.C. Carter; Mrs. Carmand.
Alabama – Mrs. B.T. Washington, Miss Porter.
B.T. Tanner Club, Chelsea – Mrs. M. C. Bond, Mrs. Matilda Delt, Mrs. Carrie Roberts, Mrs. Carrie Hopewell.
Woman’s Era Club, Boston – Mrs. J. St. P. Ruffin, Mrs. Richardson, Mrs. R. P. Ransom, Mrs. Hannah Smith, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. U.A. Ridley, Miss Eliza Gardner.
Wayman Club, Everett – Mrs. M.C. Bond, Miss Ida Price.
Newport League – Mrs. Mary Dickerson.
Woman’s Club of St. Louis, Mo., Citizen’s of St. Louis, Harper W.C.T.U. – Mrs. M.F. Pitts.
Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, N.Y. – Mrs. Katharine Maxwell, Miss Charlotte Berry.
Woman’s Club of Jefferson City, Mo., Citizens of Jefferson City – Mrs. Libbie B. Anthony.
Women’s Protective Club, Rochester, N.Y. – Mrs. Jerome Jeffrey.
Belle Phoebe League, Pittsburg, Pa – Mrs. Taylor Aldrich.
One thousand women of Bethel Church, New York – Mrs. Hannah Jones.
Calvary Circle of King’s Daughters, Boston – Mrs. G.W. Smith.
E.M. Thomas Lodge, I.O.G.T , Boston – Miss Rachel Thompson.
Lend-a-Hand Circle of King’s Daughters – Mrs. Arianna Gould.
Gloucester A. & I. School, Cappahosie, Va. – Mrs. Susie E. Edwards.
Woman’s Club, Charleston, S.C. – Mrs. Ellen Crum.
Clubs sending greetings – Woman’s League, Kansas City, Mo.; Woman’s Club, Los Angeles, Cal.; Woman’s Club, Chicago, Ill.; Women of Toledo, Ohio; Woman’s Club, Denver, Col.; W.C.T.U., Charlotte, N.C.; Cleave Circle of King’s Daughters, New York.
It is with especial joy and pride that I welcome you all to this, our first conference. It is only recently that women have waked up to the importance of meeting in council, and great as has been the advantage of women generally, and important as it is and has been that they should confer, the necessity has not been nearly so great, matters at stake not nearly so vital, as that we, bearing peculiar blunders, suffering under especial hardships, enduring peculiar privations, should meet for a “good talk” among ourselves. Although rather hastily called, you as well as I can testify how long and how earnestly a conference has been though of and hoped for and even prepared for. These women’s clubs, which have sprung up all over the country, built and run upon broad, strong lines, have all been a preparation, small conferences in themselves, and their spontaneous birth and enthusiastic support have been little less than inspirational on the part of our women and a general preparation for a large union such as it is hopes this conference will lead to. Five years ago we had no colored women’s clubs outside of those formed for special work; to-day, with little over a month’s notice, we are able to call representatives from more than twenty clubs. It is a good showing, it stands for much, it shows that we are truly American women, with all the adaptability, readiness to seize and possess our opportunities, willingness to do our part for good as other American women.
The reasons why we should confer are so appar-
ent that it would seem hardly necessary to enumerate them, and yet there is none of them but demand our serious consideration. In the first place we need to feel the cheer and inspiration of meeting each other, we need to gain the courage and fresh life that comes from the mingling of congenial souls, of those working for the same ends. Next, we need to talk over not only those things which are of vital importance to us as women, but also the things that are of especial interest to us as colored women, the training of our children, openings for our boys and girls, how they can be prepared for occupations and occupations may be found or opened for them, what we especially can do in the moral education of the race with which we are identified, our mental elevation and physical development, the home training it is necessary to give our children in order to prepare them to meet the peculiar conditions in which they shall find themselves, how to make the most of our own, to some extent, limited opportunities, these are some of our own peculiar questions to be discussed. Besides these are the general questions of the day, which we cannot afford to be indifferent to: temperance, morality, the higher education, hygienic and domestic questions. If these things need the serious consideration of women more advantageously placed by reason of all the aid to right thinking and living with which they are surrounded, surely we, with everything to pulls us back, to hinder us in developing, , need to take every opportunity and means for the thoughtful consideration which shall lead to wise action.
I have left the strongest reasons for our conferring together until the last. All over America there is to be found a large and growing class of earnest, intelligent, progressive colored women, women who, if not leading full useful lives, are only waiting for the opportunity to do so, many of them warped and cramped for lack of opportunity, not only to do more but be more; and yet, if an estimate of the colored women of America is called for, the inevitable reply, glibly given, is, “For the most part ignorant and immoral, some exceptions, of course, but these don’t count.”
Now, for the sake of the thousands of self-sacrificing young women teaching and preaching in lonely southern backwoods for the noble army of mothers who have given birth to these girls, mothers whose intelligence is only limited by their opportunity to get at books, for the sake of the fine cultured women who have carried off the honors in school here and often abroad, for the sake of our own dignity, the dignity of our race, and the future good name of our children, it is “mete, right and our bounden duty ” to stand forth and declare ourselves and principles, to teach an ignorant and suspicious world that our aims and interests are identical with those of all good aspiring women. Too long have we been silent under unjust and unholy charges; we cannot expect to have them removed until we disprove them through ourselves. It is not enough to try to disprove unjust charges through individual effort, that never goes any further. Year after year southern women have protested against the admission of colored women into any national organization on the ground of the immorality of these women, and because all refutation has only been tried by individual work the charge has never been crushed, as it could and should have been at the first. Now with an army of organized women standing for purity and mental worth, we in ourselves deny the charge and open the eyes of the world to a state of affairs to which they have been blind, often willfully so, and the very fact that the charges, audaciously and flippantly made, as they often are, are of so humiliating and delicate a nature, serves to protect the accuser by driving the helpless accused into mortified silence. It is to break this silence, not by noisy protestations of what we are not, but by a dignified showing of what we are and hope to become that we are impelled to take this step, to make of this gathering all object lesson to the world. For many and apparent reasons, it is especially fitting that the women of the race take the lead in this movement, but for all this we recognize the necessity of the sympathy of our husbands, brothers and fathers.
Our woman’s movement is woman’s movement in that it is led and directed by women for the good of women and men, for the benefit of all humanity, which is more than any one branch or section of it. We want, we ask the active interest of our men, and, too, we are not drawing the color line; we are women, American women, as intensely interested in all that pertains to us as such as all other American women; we are not aleniating or withdrawing, we are only coming to the front, willing to join any others in the same work and cordially inviting and welcoming any others to join us.
If there is any one thing I would especially
enjoin upon this conference it is union and earnestness. The questions that are to come before us are of too much import to be weakened by my trivialities or personalities. If any differences arise let them be quickly settled, with the feeling that we are all workers to the same end, to elevate and dignify colored American womanhood. This conference will not be what I expect if it does not show the wisdom, indeed the absolute necessity of a national organization of our women. Every year new questions coming up will prove it to us. This hurried, almost informal convention does not begin to meet our needs, it is only a beginning, made here in dear old Boston, where the scales of justice and generosity hang evenly balanced, and where the people “dare be true” to their best instincts and stand ready to lend aid and sympathy to worthy strugglers. It is hoped and believed that from this will spring an organization that will in truth bring in a new era to the colored women of America.
Alice T. Miller
We greet you with glad welcome who have come
To share with us the fruit of garnered years,
To share our joys and griefs, our hopes and fears,
To join us in this–Wisdom’s harvest–home!
Now may the truth we gather here become
A treasured store, –like the golden ears
The farmer safe bestows, ere winter nears,
To feed his flocks withal, –that we to some
Sad heart may comfort give, some want relieve,
Lend hand or voice to aid some strife for Right;
And learn we with our gifts ourselves must live.
So may we hail with joy the dawning bright
On the fair days when all their rights receive.
Once more, we welcome you this summer night.
They say the woman’s era dawns at last,
When now this century draws near its end,
Old notions of man’s lordship, failing fast,
Make way for woman’s aid to help to mend
Affairs that sorely need her presence bright
Nor can it be denied, when fairly tried,
Suffrage has proved a lover for the right
Equally shared; for unto neither side
Reason and sense belong, but unto both
And where one sex doth supplement the other,
Causes are weighed more wisely than the truth,
Laws surely made more just for wife and mother.
“Union is strength”; let all, not half, unite,
Bravely to war against all foes of Right
Boston was a fitting place to hold the first conference of colored women that has ever been held in the history of the country. No one could look at their bright, intellectual faces and listen to their earnest words without feeling a new hope for the race which has such mothers and teachers.
As the colored woman has been the most oppressed and downtrodden, so now as she comes into the light of the new era, she will be the leader not only to those of her own sex who have not yet been so favored but to the other. The colored race, like every other, will rise or fall, be honored or degraded, according to the status of its wives and mothers, daughters and sisters.
We are sure that this convention will be an inspiration to the colored women of our country, and that the electric impulse will be felt North and South, East and West. If Phyllis Wheatley could only have seen this day! She whose star went down early in the eclipse of an unfortunate marriage, but whose short life was a dim earnest and prophecy of the heights in literature, science, and philosophy, which the Afro-American woman is yet to attain. — Woman’s Voice, Boston.
Arianna C. Sparrow
The following has been received at the Journal office:
“At a special called meeting of the Woman’s Era Club, held Monday evening, Aug. 5, it was voted that inasmuch as an article which appeared in the Boston Journal of Aug. 1, and headed, ‘It Made Talk,’ in which article the President of the convention is incorrectly reported ‘to have said she was proud that she had no Southern blood in her veins,’ and as the said misstatement is calculated to work harm to the cause the conference was called to promote, it was, therefore,
“Resolved, that the Woman’s Era Club call upon the Journal to correct the statement, and give the same prominence to the retraction as was given to the false report.
(Signed)”ARIANNA C. SPARROW,”Asst. Cor. Sec y.”
(The Journal willingly publishes the foregoing. It can only say that the article to which it refers was printed in good faith, and was based on a positive statement made to its convention reporter by a person who claimed to have been present at the meeting referred to. –Ed.)
Mrs. Matthews of New York stopped with Mrs. Comer at the Highlands. To many minds Mrs. Matthews was the “star” of the convention; so devoted was she to the interests of the Conference that Boston saw comparatively little in a social way of this gifted woman.
There has just closed in Boston a conference of the colored women of America. This conference was held three days, and during that time there were read papers as fine as any ever produced at any gathering; important matters were discussed earnestly and sensibly, and the large body of women brought together dissolved with the most amicable feelings toward each other.
It is you, women north, east, south and west, who made it possible to hold this convention, which has been a marked event of the times; it was your ready response, your intelligent appreciation of the situation, your singleness of purpose, which made the success of this gathering. You may well feel pleased with the outcome of it all. The callers of the convention reckoned wisely, they knew your temper better than those men who, in the light of their own experience, predicted disastrous failure.
But this is only a beginning. We want our national organization to be a model, an ideal body. We want it run on the broadest lines and conducted in the most intelligent manner. You have done well; now prepare to do better than well, and in this, as in all things, prove yourselves a shining light to your brothers.
The selection of Mrs. B.T. Washington, of Tuskegee, Ala., as the president of the National Federation of Afro-American Women is going to prove beneficial in more ways than one. “Putting aside Mrs. Washington’s personal. fitness for the position and the advantages for the work which her position as a co-worker with her husband will give her, this choice will go further than anything else in uniting the intelligent women of the North and South. It will cement the friendly feelings already existing. It will be the means of building up in the South large clubs for culture and race work such as already exist in the North. It is an earnest of the single-mindedness of our women and a good omen of the future efficiency and prosperity of our organization. Under the leadership of Mrs. Washington, who has devotion, energy, intelligence, and a large charity, no colored woman who has the interest of her race at heart can find excuse not to enlist.
The WOMAN’S ERA desires that its position in regard to the W.C.T.U. should be clearly defined. At the conference lately held in Boston a resolution endorsing the work and methods of the W.C.T.U. was introduced by Mrs. Anthony of Missouri, and an effort made to “rush” it through the convention. Mrs. Ridley, realizing that the majority of women present were unacquainted with the facts in the case, made an explanation, and in order that time might be gained to lay the matter squarely before the women, supported the president in her voting of the resolution as out of order. However, the Washington delegation pushed the matter, the resolution was presented and carried with half the women not voting and our dissenting voices. The resolution, though passed, never appeared for record and is still missing.
However, the matter was brought up at a special meeting of the Woman’s Era Club. The following resolutions were presented by Mrs. Ridley and unanimously endorsed.
In closing let it be understood that the editors of this paper stand by Mrs. Wells-Barnett squarely in her position on this matter and fully endorse her work.
RESOLVED, That this club, while it recognizes and appreciates the good work done by the W.C.T.U., does not hesitate to condemn that body for its position upon the lynch law question and to deplore that the latest regulation passed at the London convention should be in effect a condonation of lynching.
That, in the light of the recent action of the W.C.T.U., the circular addressed to colored people and sent out first some two years ago, is misleading, and should be withdrawn.
That this club, believing the attitude taken by the W.C.T.U. is calculated to mislead foreigners as to the true state of affairs in the United States, calls upon representative colored women of the W.C.T.U. to be careful not to allow themselves to be included in the company of “apologists for lynch law,” but, in the prosecution of their good work, let their loyalty to their race be known, not taken for granted.
That this club believes that in Miss Florence Balgarnie, of England, who stood so valiantly for our cause in the London Convention, the colored people have a brave and devoted friend.
If any one doubts that Lady Somerset and Miss Willard are apologists for lynching, let him read the following marked editorial from their English organ, The Woman’s Signal, sent to Mrs. Ridley, with the above-mentioned ladies names as editors underscored:
“The Battersca tragedy follows close upon the Walthamstow horror; in each instance a little girl, a child, is the sacrifice to man’s brutality and cruel passion. Are these crimes growing in England? And if so, as it seems to us they are, where are we to look for the reason? Is it not in the failure to mete out justice to such offences? Look up the records and see how often capture of the offenders has utterly failed, and how often sentence has been commuted to inadequate punishment. It is such crimes and such travesties of justice that have made lynching possible in the United States. There is little likelihood that England will relapse into barbarism; but how should we like to hear of societies in America formed to secure Safety Of Person to English Female Children?”
We feel much satisfaction in being able to publish this; it settles the disputed question as to the position of these ladies of the W.C.T.U. on lynch law.
The argument set forth in this republished note has been made so many times that it hardly calls for an answer now. What interests us most is the fact that these ladies, out of their own mouths, convict themselves and stand self-confessed endorsers of lynch law.
We only make room in our already overcrowded columns for an extract from remarks on the lynching question by Mr. Moncure D. Conway, and published in the London Daily News of July 30.
Mr. Conway’s remarks meet this matter, and with his refutation we let the matter pass for this issue, only making these points in passing:
- 1. Only One fourth of the Negroes actually lynched in these United States are ever accused of rape.
- 2. The majority of these cases have been found to be “trumped up.”
- 3. No negro has ever escaped punishment for this offence.
- 4. If this liewere true, that the law fails to punish the negro, then the lawshould be attacked, and the energies of the people directed to good government..
- 5. “Two wrongs never did nor never can make one right.” It is at least expected of reformers to recognize this truth.
Mr. Moncure Conway has presented to the Anti-Lynching Committee his report of observations on this subject made during his six months’ sojourn in the United States. Mr. Conway, who is a native Virginian, says that his visit greatly strengthened his conviction of the value and importance of the English Committee. There is a combination of forces in America tending to induce torpor with regard to the lynchings in the South. He has not seen in any daily paper of New York for several years a single editorial protest, of any earnestness, against these atrocities. In Boston, the Boston Transcript, an influential evening paper, has, however, written powerfully on the subject, and in Chicago, the residence of Miss Wells, now Mrs. Barnett, the services of the Chicago Inter-Ocean have been very great. But the American conscience has not been fully aroused. At the late meeting in London of the British Women’s Temperance Association an American speaker, Mrs. Rounds, said, ‘If we in America could only feel that when a criminal has been brought to trial and condemned, his sentence would be carried out, we should feel very different on this question of lynching. ‘This,’ says Mr. Conway, ‘was a were imposition on the English women. Where are the instances of pardons contrary to public feeling? In all American history there has never been an instance of pardon for a Negro violator of a white women or child. That anyone making such a misleading statement in the presence of leading American women should not have been checked, illustrates what I have said, that my countrywomen are not yet awakened to this frightful wrong.'”
Our August number has been delayed in order to give our readers the news from the conference. We wish that we were large enough and rich enough to print altogether the splendid papers read on this occasion. We can only give them a few at a time, and feel that even in this way our readers will be eager to get them.
We did not aim to be, but we werean object lesson and revelation to the men. We hesitate to speak of the compliments received, but in the interest of the spread o intelligence, we must. We believe the high tributes paid us by Dr. Crumwell, T.T. Fortune and Booker T. Washington were heartfelt, and just as welcome and just as sweet were the hearty but inelegantly expressed commendations of the males of our own household, who did not hesitate privately to tell us “You girls are daisies,” “we men have got to hustle.”
It was hoped to print in this issue the address of Mrs. B.T. Washington to the Conference. Although promised, the copy has not yet been received, and after waiting several days we go to press without it.
The Inventive Age says: “The most unique of all inventions which will be placed on exhibition at Atlanta by the colored people is Miss Miriam E. Benjamin’s device known as the ‘Gong Signal Chair.’ This young lady inventor is at present a medical student in one of the colleges of the District of Columbia. She was born in South Carolina, and educated in Massachusetts. In 1888 the patent was issued to her, and soon after an improvement was added in order to cheapen as well as to add to the utility of the appliance.
“The invention is one of those useful novelties suitable for chairs in hotels and restaurants, on steamboats or railroad trains. It can also be used in theatres or legislative halls, and for invalids’ chairs in the hospitals.
“The object of the invention is to mainly reduce the expenses by decreasing the number of attendants usually required for the convenience of guests; also to obviate the necessity of hand-clapping and loud calling, where the service of a page or waiter is needed. The present system now in vogue is to have one attendant for about every three or four guests. By the use of this invention, it is claimed, one waiter will be enabled to attend to the wants of from twelve to fifteen guests.”
The young and flourishing Newbury Association of Boston held a delightful dinner and smoke talk at the suburban residence of Mr. J. B. Tatum, West Medford, early last mouth. A score or more of the members were present, and shared Mr. Tatum’s hospitality in the way of a bountiful course dinner. Covers were laid for sixteen. Among the guests were Lawyer Clifford Plummer and Mr. Samuel Hodges, both of whom made encouraging and instructive addresses. Mr. Shirley Liggins, toastmaster, introduced the members in a particularly witty vein, and hearty responses were made to the toasts.
The young men composing the Association are for the most part so progressive as to be already well known in connection with successful business enterprises, Mr. J.B. Tatum being manager of the well-known catering establishment of J.R. Young, Mr. Clarence Robinson, associated with his father in the express business, and Mr. W.H. Scott occupying a trustworthy position with the Washington Street Stationer, M.R. Warren. Besides these gentlemen the Association includes Mr. W.H. Wilson, president, Messrs. Dane and Phillips, vice-presidents, Messrs. King, Hawkins, W. F. Phillips, Stith, Hipkins, and E.S. Hodges.
Miss Emma Wariner will remain away from Boston during the summer months.
Boston has been a veritable Mecca in this, the summer of ’95. The C.E. brought a small army of visitors, and later the Conference swelled the number.
During the early part of July, Misses Miranda Vennig. and Carrie Compton of Philadelphia were in the city, the former the guest of Mrs. Lewis Terry; Misses Cora and Gertrude Smith of Washington the guests of the Misses Smith of Jamaica Plain; Miss Julia Wormley of Washington, who visited Mrs. B. R. Wilson; Mrs. Ellen Cruns and Miss Ingalls of Charleston; the Misses Williams of Washington; Mrs. Clough of Worcester, Miss Murphy, Miss McCloud, and Miss Param of St. Louis. So many of the young and shining lights necessarily called forth something in the way of social festivities. Among the occasions was a reception by Mrs. Terry and the Misses Smith; a musicale by Miss Glover; a large harbor party managed by Mrs. J. H. Lewis, an “At Home” by Miss Grant, and a supper by Miss Lillian Lewis; besides these were numerous smaller teas, luncheons, theatre parties, and excursions.
Miss Marion Shadd is spending the entire summer with Mrs. B.R. Wilson. Miss Shadd is studying geology at Harvard and most of her recreation is in this manner as excursions taken by the class in the study of rocks, etc. Mrs. Wilson has also entertained her brother, Mr. Bruce Evans, and Mrs. J.F. Cook and Miss Cook of Washington. Mrs. Cook was a delegate to the Conference, and both she and her daughter have been the recipients of much attention.
Mrs. G.F. Grant entertained Miss Smith and Miss Hunter during the Conference week.
Mrs. R. Jerome Jeffrey of Rochester, formerly of Boston has surprised and pleased her old friends by a visit to Boston, where she has taken up things just where she left; not only has she been prominent socially, but was also one of the active workers in the Conference.
The Misses. Baldwin have been entertaining Mrs. Cooper and Miss Barier of Washington and Miss Florence Lewis of Philadelphia. It would be hard to get together a group of brighter women than these, and it goes without saying that the group of pleasure trips planned by the Misses Baldwin for their guests which included pilgrimages to Concord and to Plymouth, and trips down the harbor and drives through the country were in every respect delightful.
Miss Edwina Kruse of Washington is also in Boston; Miss Kruse is one of those general favorites who is welcomed wherever she goes.
Miss Marie L. Burgess has only just left the work she is so devoted to in the hospital at Hampton Institute, and come on to Boston to enjoy the few remaining weeks of her vacation.
Among the best known and most conspicuous women of the convention were Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Matthews, and Mrs. Cooper; all of these are women of unusual ability, and yet each is essentially different from the other. Mrs. Cook, intelligent and practical, and although versed in parliamentary tactics –always a cultured lady; Mrs. Matthews, full of fire and intensity, with natural gifts as a speaker and writer; Mrs. Cooper calm, thoughtful, and analytical,–a woman to mould opinion, rather than a leader of men. Mrs. Cooper, the student; Mrs. Matthews, a born leader; Mrs. Cook, the trained leader.
Another conspicuous figure was that of Mrs. B.T. Washington. Mrs. Washington wins love; she is warmhearted and largehearted, practical and earnest.
Miss Hunter and Miss Smith were among the younger members of the council, and were conspicuous for their culture and intelligence.
Mrs. Williams of New York was also a notable figure. Mrs. Williams was ready in debate, and in her paper on the race work was one of those who “caught” the conference.
The alacrity with which our gentlemen friends responded to an invitation to address the conference one evening, on “political economy” proves what we have always asserted, that intelligent people who are earnestly and honestly seeking to advance the humanities, are not divided by either race or sex or section. T. Thomas Fortune, whose position as chief editor of the New York Age, special writer on the New York Sun and Age-Herald, makes him easily the foremost among colored journalists, ran over from New York to show his interest in the woman movement, and immediately ran off again to his work, thus depriving the ladies of the W.E.C. of the chance to show him some of the attention they thought he deserved and they had planned to give him. Henry B. Blackwell hastened back to Boston from a Chautauquan engagement in New Hampshire to tell the ladies, as no other could, their duty and opportunity in the coming crisis in the cause of woman suffrage. His speech was thoroughly appreciated and made converts to the cause he always advocates, both among the men and women present. Wm. Lloyd Garrison promptly accepted the invitation, and as usual honored the gathering with an address as carefully prepared as would have been done for delivery before the U.S. Senate. To show the position of the “new” man on the subject of woman suffrage, Stanley Ruffin had been invited and was prepared to deliver an address. on that topic, but in the pressure for time home folk had to take a back seat.
The Courant‘s excellent report of the convention deserves especial notice.
The WOMAN’S ERA is not satisfied with Miss Willard’s rather mild treatment of the lynching outrages at the South, while it recognizes the fact that “Miss Willard is at the head of a tremendous organization, and in that capacity and in order to keep everything and everybody harmonious, is obliged to be politic, and for the welfare of the W.C.T.U. not to antagonize any section of this country.”
No one yields to the Woman’s Voice in its admiration of Miss Willard, but a little more vim and fire in her utterances on this and kindred subjects would be refreshing. The milk and water resolution passed at the London W.C.T.U. Convention that “We deplore the taking of life without trial,” must strike our Southern brethren in much the same light that “Miss Feely’s whips” did Topsy, as more amusing than painful. —Woman’s Voice
Cora L. Smith
Tillotson College at Austin has added a regular nursing department and will soon be turning out trained nurses. It is to be hoped that many of our young women will grasp this opportunity to make themselves proficient in this most useful occupation. I believe this is the only school in the state which makes a specialty of nursing. Why do not our other large schools attempt something in this line? It does not require the expenditure of any amount of money and is far more useful and practical than so much fancy work and drawing, for few, very few, ever become skillful in either of these arts.
Since the meeting of the Teachers’ Convention at Austin everything has settled down into a monotonous routine and the teachers are scattered to the four winds. Now is the hard part of the teacher’s lot. The all-absorbing question is, “Shall I be successful in procuring a summer Normal certificate?” Those who are not spending these hot days in teaching in some Normal are studying for the examination, occupying every spare moment in trying to master all the technicalities of each subject. It is certainly hard that teachers have to be called up at the most inopportune moments for examinations. The time which should be given to light reading and pleasant recreations must be spent in the hottest weather in hard study. In no other profession is this the case. There is little time for reading, for the text book must be one’s constant companion. Why cannot successful teachers, who have taught a certain number of years, be given permanent certificates? The last legislature repealed this act before it had been given a fair trial.
The election of officers of the State Teachers’ Association seems to have given entire satisfaction. There were few dissenting voices and little or no caucusing, which was somewhat unusual. The following officers were elected : Prof. M.H. Broyes, Pres.; F.W. Gross, W.M. Taylor, Miss Hattie E. Lee, B.T. Wilson and Mrs. D. Abner, Jr., Vice-Pres. ; Miss Cora L. Smith, Sec., and Mr. W.R. Taylor, Asst. Sec., with Mr. E.L. Blackshear, Treas. The next meeting of the Association will be held at Corsicana.
All of the large cities in most of the other states are having woman’s clubs, whose objects are to elevate and better the condition of women both morally and intellectually. Why cannot we, in Texas, have a few clubs? Let the leading women of each city get together and organize and go to work for ourselves. We must be taught to be good mothers; must learn how to train up our sons and daughters, for the future of our race depends upon the rising generation. Much good is being accomplished all over the union by the women’s clubs, and Texas must not be behind in the march of progress.
The last of the summer Normals opened on the l6th of July and will close on the 16th of August. It was a happy thought of Mr. Carlisle’s to have two examinations, one in July and one in August. It gives teachers two chances to win certificates, which is certainly encouraging to those who fall by the way.
We are all glad that our little friend, Mrs. Wright Cuney, is at last convalescing. She has been so ill as to cause grave fears of her recovery, but now there seems little doubt that she will soon be around among us again. Miss Maud is already looking much more cheerful, as is also Mr. Cuney and Lloyd.
June weddings were numerous and aristocratic this year. That of Dr. W.T. Green, of Bryan, to Miss Leonora Bowers, of Galveston, was one of the most pleasing affairs of the season. The bride was most charming and even more graceful than usual. The presents were most costly and numerous.
Many fine papers prepared for the conference remained unread; we might have been in session a week and then not have exhausted ourselves. Mrs. Luellan Williams, who is known to our readers as an able writer, sent a paper; Miss Ella Spencer’s interesting paper on Art remained unread, as also did Mrs. Felts on Social Purity, Mrs. Anthony’s and Mrs. Pitts’, both on Race Work, and Mrs. Ridley’s on What We Need for a More Equable Development.
The papers especially prepared for the conference would make a creditable book, and although it is only possible for the ERA to print them singly, or at most doubly, it is hoped that in some way or other, at some time or other, they may all be collected in one volume.
The sessions of the conference were brightened and lightened by some excellent music. Among contributors were Mrs. A. C. Sparrow, Miss Fisher, the WOMAN’S ERA protege, Miss Goines, Mr. Moses Hodges and Mr. Geo. L. Ruffin.
Fannie Barrier Williams
Colored graduates from western schools, colleges, and universities this year seem to be exceptionally numerous and have excited an amount, of favorable comment from the public press that cannot fail to affect public opinion to a considerable extent. The one thing to be especially noted is the fact that those great journals which were once so hostile or disrespectful in all their references to colored people are now eager and pronounced in their encouragement and splendid estimate of the present worth and possibilities of the Negro race. As to the rights and wrongs of colored people, there is no longer any distinction between Democratic and Republican journals in the North. In this respect we have made a decided gain in our struggles to cultivate and win a favorable public opinion. This growing habit on the part of hitherto hostile and unfriendly papers of telling the truth about us will inevitably beget among their readers the practice of doing justly.
The public is being gradually educated up to the feeling that the American Negro is a very interesting person in his self-emancipating efforts. There is so much of pathos, of desperate triumphs and tragic disappointments in every achievement of the race that the onlooking world cannot fail to be moved with wholesome interest. This interest will certainly increase and deepen with each year of our advancement, and become more and more allied to the kindly forces which are subtly working out our destinies.
Referring again to colored graduates from western institutions, especial mentions should be made of Mr. Charles Winter Wood who received a B. A. from Beloit College, Wisconsin. This is a case where a college degree contains more meaning than can be expressed in its perfunctory Latin and official signatures of president and faculty. When Charles Winter Wood was gathered from the street gammins of Chicago and sent to Beloit College some years ago, hope of his recovery from the blight of his associations seemed ridiculous. When he left Beloit the other day, polished, fluent, full of honors, and with the unstinted acclaim of the gathered thousands about him, his degree seems trifling when compared to his achievements.
To say that Mr. Wood’s especial distinction is his histrionic powers, may seem to cheapen his worth, because false standards have given a wearying prominence to so many “barn-stormers”! It is not too much to say that these so-called “dramatic readers” can sustain no sort of comparison to Charles Winter Wood.
Eight years ago the present Mr. Wood was discovered as “Charley” by Judge Jarvis Blume of this city, a man of fine literary taste, and a man full of chivalric kindness of disposition. At the time of discovery Mr. Wood as a hopeless and almost homeless little urchin, but could imitate Irving with a wonderful accuracy and appreciation. Judge Blume immediately decided he had found a rough diamond. He took the boy to his office and got him to recite from Shakespeare to a company of gentlemen. Every one was astonished, and after that actors and literary men, notably the late Prof. David Swing, heard him in parlors and testified to his exceptional gifts. Interest in his education became manifest and finally a Mr. Hanson, a wealthy gentleman of this city, gladly assumed all responsibility for his proper education and has kept him in the Wisconsin Institution for the past seven years.
While in the college he won nearly all the prizes in the college oratorical contests. In the Greek tragedy, “Oedipus Rex,” performed by the students at Beloit and Chicago, Mr. Wood took the title role and scored an extraordinary triumph. The dramatic critics in Milwaukee and Chicago papers pronounced his rendition “phenomenal.” In voice, facial aptitudes, grace of movement and dramatic feeling, Mr. Wood is surprisingly gifted. It is not enough to say that he is not equalled in America by any of his race.
In deference to the wishes of his generous benefactor, Mr. Wood has decided to take a theological course in Princeton. To those who have seen and heard him there is an instant wish that he might be given the utmost opportunity to develop his dramatic gifts. He is a gentleman of such splendid rectitude of character, so refined I taste and culture-bent, that nothing would be too high, to hope for him on the stage, were he but untrammeled by the tyranny of American prejudice.
We Chicago women feel more or less ashamed in not being represented in the Boston Conference. The coming together of our representative women for high purposes is important enough to make us feel deeply concerned in the outcome. The character of the women who have been able to respond to the call inspires the absent ones with confidence that the Conference will mean much to every cause of peculiar interest to colored women. With such women it is not too much to hope that the Conference will set in force influences that will reach in their helpfulness the farthest confines of colored women’s needs.
The Woman’s Clubs throughout the country are furnishing our women with the right kind of training for organic work. Out of those clubs must come women strong in the elements of leadership for any cause having in it the spirit and purpose of reform.
Heaven grant to our sisters in council the inspiration to see and point the way that leads to a sweeter realization of the blessed privileges of a purer womanhood!
The foulness of the Missouri scribbler may be the ignoble cause of a combination of womanly influences that will mark an epoch in the advancement and moral assertion of Negro womanhood.
Dora J. Cole
PITTSBURG, July 13, 1895.
July 4th to 7th was of unusual interest to the colored people of Pittsburg and vicinity. The occasion of this interest was the convention of the Woman’s Mite Missionary Society of the Third Episcopal District. Some of the most distinguished divines of the A. M. E. church, noted professors and many of the brightest women of the race were in the city: 114 delegates were present. The secretary reported over $1,000 collected during the year by small contributions. Reports from the various societies were most encouraging and marked great advancement in the work during the past year.
At the first session welcome addresses were made by Rev. I.W. Ross, Mrs. Gracie P. Offer, Mrs. D.S. Bently, Rev. W.H. Brown. These were responded to by Rev. Ransom of Cleveland, Mrs. S.T. Mitchell of Wilberforce, Mrs. Rosa Johnson of Cleveland, Bishop Arnett, Dr. Derrick. A letter of welcome from Mayor McKenna was read. Most of the next three days was spent in hearing papers and discussing questions relative to the work of this society.
That the association is far from partial in its missionary efforts needs no further proof than the importance paid the subjects, “Our West Indian,” “Our Indian Mission,” “Our Librarian Mission.” Very able papers on these subjects were read by Miss Anderson, Mrs. Caliman, and Mrs. Hicks. “The Short Line to the Redemption of Africa” was treated in a very original way by Mrs. Ransom of Cleveland. She said the ladies are collecting money to bring native Africans to this country to be educated and return to teach their own people. She lived in joyful anticipation of the time when the colored women of Africa and the colored women of America would clasp hands at the foot of the cross. A very beautiful talk, full of inspiration to the younger women, was that of Miss Lizzie Jackson of Wilberforce, who told of “Woman’s Work in the Mission Field.” Mrs. Draper and Mrs. Thurman were always entertaining and instructive in any discussion. It was a rare treat and one fully appreciated to have at the same time and for three successive days our own Bishop Barnett, Dr. Derrick and President S.T. Mitchell of Wilberforce.
One very noticeable feature of the convention and worthy of commendation was the harmonious spirit that prevailed throughout the meeting. It was undoubtedly a gathering of Christian workers intent upon doing the bidding of the Master. We are glad to have had such a gathering of intelligent, zealous, Christian women among us. Their presence has been cheering and inspiring.
The following are the officers for the ensuing year: Pres., Mrs. Gracie P. Offer; Cor. Sec., Mrs. Anderson of Drayton, C.; Rec. Sec., Miss Lizzie Jackson of Wilberforce; Asst. Rec. Sec., Mrs. D.S. Bently of Allegheny; Treas., Mrs. S.T. Mitchell of Wilberforce.
THE WOMAN’S ERA is on sale and can be obtained of BEUNKE, STATIONER, 550 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., CAMBRIDGE.
Sada J. Anderson
July was a month of conventions. We have been busily engaged every day since the glorious Fourth.
Our Woman’s Mite Missionary Convention which met in Pittsburg, Pa., was well attended and grand success followed our meeting. Surely this organization of women of the Third Episcopal District is doing a noble work for humanity. We were highly honored with our own fearless Bishop Arnett and the indefatigable Dr. Derrick. These two were our timely counselors when our own storehouse of knowledge failed to meet the demand. After a very pleasant four day’s session of reviewing the work of the past year and formulating plans for the future, we very reluctantly took leave of one another, feeling that the convention was a success from the opening song to the fond benediction.
We had no more than reached home and become partially rested before we were ready to be off again to our S.S. Institute at Hamilton, Ohio. This institute is not composed of women alone, but to lookers on it would seem as though the women had the day there. Owing to the absence of our President, Rev. Priolean, the first vice, Miss Jessie Henderson, presided, and for the impartial way in which she ruled she was elected president for the ensuing year. Miss Henderson is quite young, a graduate of the high school and normal of Springfield, Ohio, and a student of Wittenburg College of the same place. She is a power for good among our people and as bold as a lion in upholding the right. On the second day of our institute it afforded us unbounded pleasure to welcome the fraternal delegate from the Southern Ohio Institute in the person of Miss Minnie Moore, who came bringing greetings from the sister institute. After three days’ successful labor the convention adjourned to the banquet room, where, beneath palms and among flowers and happy faces, we lingered until the approach of the “wee sma'” hours.
Time is fleeting. The conference of noble women is now a thing of the past, and although it was not our good fortune to clasp the hand of those who dare stand up for our womanhood, when recording the names of all the rest may ours stand out in bold relief as that of Abon Ben Adhern.
Medora W. Gould
The scene of Hall Caine’s latest novel, “The Shadow of a Crime,” is England, and the time is the English Restoration. It is a story of the many lives, upon which the shadow of the crime has fallen, and though perhaps not quite as good as his three celebrated novels, “The Deemster,” “The Bondman,” and “The Manxman,” is sufficiently good to make a name for its author had these never been written. The hero, Ralph Ray, like all of Hall Caine’s heroes is a fine, strong, self-sacrificing man, who is ready to surrender his happiness to another; and his heroine, after deciding which of the two brothers she loves, sets about delivering him from a fearful suspicion in which she finally succeeds.
Says the “Twentieth Century”: “The cause of social reform in this country is immensely indebted to Howells. His work is of priceless value. He has the ear of all that is best and most cultured in this republic. In preaching socialism to his countrymen our greatest living author has conferred a service upon his native land of which the value cannot but increase with the passing years.”
“A Madonna of the Alps,” a recent publication of German fiction is translated into English by Nathan Haskell Dole. Its deep romance and dramatic episodes together with its exquisite local descriptions make for its author, B. Schultze-Smidt, a high place in the ranks of the novelist. It is the story of an artist who in his travels in the Alps, falls in with a couple over whom a cloud of mystery and trouble has fallen. The wife is accused of having killed her child, which in reality died by accident, and she by her sweetness of disposition and patient endurance of false accusation awakens a more than passing interest
on the part of the artist-hero. He finally brings about a reconciliation between her and her husband, whose love had also become estranged. To the husband, too, he renders great service by removing from his mind the fear that he, in his duties as an Alpine guide, was responsible for the loss of one of a party whom he was conducting on a dangerous expedition.
“The Girl from the Farm,” an English story by Miss Gertrude Dix, is the story of a young woman with a university education, and a great longing for some sort of philanthropic work in which to distinguish herself. She, however, cannot see work ready to her hand in her own family which she could have done to great benefit to herself and others.
The International Education Series has been augmented by a translation of Frederic Froebet’s “Pedagogies of the Kindergarten,” by Josephine Jarvis. It is designed to aid mothers as well as teachers in developing the mind of the young child.
Mr. Crawford’s latest novel, “The Ralston’s,” is better liked in England than in this country. It has run through its first edition there.
“One Fair Daughter,” by Mr. Frank Frankfort Moore, is an interesting love story, though somewhat sentimental and sensational.
“The Woman’s Manual of Parliamentary Law” is a safe-guide and great comforter to women in their efforts to know more of the management of public affairs. Every club woman should have one for her reference.
S. Willie Layton
California is so far away, and from Boston seven day’s mail, therefore news by mail, which has become stale in eastern circles, is fresh to us behind the Rockies. To here offer good wishes for the success of the convention would be out of date, for before this appears in print the convention will have adjourned and the life of its good work begun. Jacks’ letter here and probably elsewhere received as much consideration as the laudable call to convention–possibly that too was wisdom’s way. Said one of our women: “No one better knows than Jacks that the assertions in his letter are false. I do not fear his power to proselyte to his letter wording, believers from those who have not ‘grown up in the wild and woolly west,’ as I do fear the intimidation of many who might become part and parcel of public sentiment, condemning the unjust treatment of the negroes of this country. Our own boasted locality has recently demonstrated the sort of intimidating influences on a small scale that I argue.”
“I neither agree nor fully comprehend your argument,” interrupted our dear little enthusiast, tiptoeing to a covert height. “To a certain extent Jacks’ letter is true. A story that is partly true is harder to contradict than one wholly untrue. I think individual efforts to higher and better living, voiced here and there in a quiet way through the medium of the press, will more effectually overcome the belief in such charges than these short-lived excitements. Though the convention may do some good, it is a splendid opportunity.”
“Jacks’ reflections are no more true of us than of other races, not as much,” continued the first speaker in our group, tenacious of her view of the situation, and as if interrupted. “We are aware of what followed the lecture of Rev. O. Summers, first negro chaplain of the late Cal. Assembly, protesting against the one blot now on the statute books of our state, the law making unconstitutional mixed marriages. At the close of the lecture one of our influential white divines, stirred by honest conviction and approval for every effort to elevate the moral condition of our state, in bold and strong words condemned class legislation and evidenced his influence to assist in striking from the California code the word ‘black’ or ‘negro and mulatto’ as it actually reads. In a few days after, you remember, appeared in one of our dailies a letter from an M.D., not as vile in slander of our morals as Jacks’, but every whit as deeply colored with contemptible prejudice, I may even say blasphemous, for he attempted to base his illogical logic on God’s word. The white divine knew then, I believe he feels yet, that he spoke truth, but the M.D.’s criticism was stinging and severe, he became personal; the white divine had to reply. He did not retract entirely his former statements, neither did he sustain them–was intimidated. Expediency in his situation
wrote a different explanation. Do you sabe my argument now?”
While we were for the second silently absorbed in thought, an old ’49er looked over her specs and said: “Girls, I dunno how that Jack’s letter hez struck other places, but my ‘pinion is, that letter should be follered by er few mo jess like it; it’ll do good yit; bitter medicine is sometimes the best. That letter hez struck Los Anguls frum centre to circle in the way uv studin our gineral good. It shows you it is more’n talk an’ rezolutions. Nothin’ but lively intrust, hard work, backed with dollars, ‘ll overcum sich things. An’ anuther thing no good, that letter hez borned more I ‘race’ ( ?) men and womin then ever we knew we hed, since I crossed the plains.”
The press has attracted a great deal of attention to the defense of a notorious criminal of Philadelphia, whose mother has tried to secure executive clemency for him on the plea of inherited criminal tendency. She pleads that he is not responsible for his acts, that she, the mother, is; that she was forced by cruel treatment from his father, before the son’s birth, to steal from the father’s pockets money for her actual sustenance. She writes: “Thus I went through all the brain sensations of a daring burglar, even such as I am informed you have become. Shortly after that you were born, and I firmly believe you came into the world a thief, owing to that crime-like though necessary practice of mine.” Medical science asserts and has proven that mothers influence the character of their children before they are born, and such a plea, while new as an argument of defense, is worthy of serious consideration, especially to colored women in view of the fact of the serious charges made against us. Sacred should be esteemed the privileges of motherhood and jealously guarded, that only the noblest and best influences be exercised in the formation of the child’s character before its birth. As some one has said, “The successful reformation of a nation is begun before ‘it is born.’
The comments of the local press on the successful rendition of the sparkling operetta, “New Flower Queen,” classes it so far above ordinary social events, that our letter would be incomplete without its mention. Those of us bemoaning our “crow feet” age signs are elated over compliments, “you girls were just lovely.” How could it have been other than a success under the able direction of Mrs. Harry Reed?
Mrs. N.F. Mossell
To the various friends who have kindly subscribed for the ERA through this department, I desire to say that the receipts for all subscriptions will be mailed or otherwise placed in their possession sometime during the month of September. A number of petty illnesses and absence from the city for two months has prevented me attending promptly to various business matters, and has also prevented my attendance at the National Women’s Convention, or even representation by a paper on some subject worthy of the occasion. It is my very earnest hope that many friends will send in their names as subscribers for the ERA, beginning with the September issue. Those desiring to secure the convention or August issue may state the fact when sending their subscription.
Mrs. J.F.A. GARDINER,
128 Alder St., Pittsfield, Mass.
Will accommodate a few private boarders during the summer months. Five minutes walk from maple woods. Terms reasonable.
Wholesale and Retail Dealer in
51 Court Street,
Near Scollay Square. BOSTON.
MRS. H.L. KEMP, Artistic Dressmaking and Millinery,
170 FRANKLIN AVENUE,
Near Myrtle, BROOKLIN, N.Y.
Imported styles always on hand. Competent dressmakers always in attendance.
ATLANTA UNIVERSITY, ALTANTA, GA.
REV. HORACE BUMSTEAD, D. D. President.
This Institution trains and sends out a superior class of teachers and leaders for work among the Freedom of the South. It solicits the attendance of intelligent and earnest young men and women, and contributions from those who are willing to help toward their education. Write to the President.
SUBSCRIBE FOR MRS. CASNEAU’S GUIDE TO ARTISTIC DRESS CUTTING AND MAKING.
It is entirely original and is sure to satisfy a long felt want of young dressmakers, women who do their sewing at home, and those who anticipate learning the trade as the means of gaining a livelihood.
The book is self-teaching and can be used with any system or with paper patterns.
The order of arrangement places the rules where they will come in regular order for cutting and making a gown. In fact, the aim has been to make the work eminently practical for the average woman.
Liberal inducements to agents everywhere.
For further information and circulars, send stamp to
Mr. Elmer E. Casneau,
9 Greenwich St.,
Condensed Milk Co.’s
Plain condensed (unsweetened) Milk Is the best known food for infants. Best article in the world for a cup of coffee. Sold in jars at the office, 2 1/2 Park Sq., Boston. Delivered three times per week.
I have used the plain condensed milk and found it worked like a miracle in transforming my weak, puny baby into a strong, plump one, after all other foods had failed.
10 Lindall Place, Boston.
THE AMERICAN WRINGER CO.
Nos. 13 and 15 Broadway Extension,
Manufacturers of Clothes Wringers.
All kinds of Wringers and Swoopers Repaired. Orders by Mail promptly attended to.
New goods received by steamer every week. We never have an opening.
Always ready to show goods.
– MILLINERY –
The old reliable house retains the same stand,
19 Temple Place, Boston.
THE NEW WORLD TYPEWRITER
A useful and elegant present for ladies and gentlemen.
Over 100,000 in use.
Perfectly simple, practical, and durable.
No $100 machine can do better work.
Writes 77 characters. Capitals and small letters.
Never gets out of order. Perfect alignment always.
No instruction required.
Send for illustrated catalogue.
THE TYPEWRITER IMPROVEMENT CO.
4 K Post Office quare, — Boston, Mass.
Will be opened June 1 to accommodate a few select boarders.
For terms address
MRS. E.E. CRISPELL,
WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass
P. 0. Box 45.
THE SUCCESS OF THE SEASON
MRS. N.F. MOSSELL’S BOOK
THE WORK OF THE AFRO-AMERICAN WOMAN
The First Edition has been nearly exhausted. An edition of 5000 is to be issued March 1st.
“Above all, let the negro know that the elevation of his race can come only and will come surely through the elevation of its women.” – Senator Geo. F. Hoar.
Miss Emma K. White, one of Chester’s most successful teachers, says: “The volume entitled The Work of the Afro-American Women [sic] Woman is a great success at this point.”
Miss Julia Songow, Germantown, Pennsylvania: “I have sold seventy-five copies of the Work of the Afro-American Woman within two weeks.”
Mrs. Jennie Euola Johnson of Trenton, N.J.: “I have been very successful in my canvass of The Work of the Afro-American Woman.”
Agents Wanted: General [ – 1 word] Offered.
Let [ – 4 words] desire to canvass during the summer, apply at [ – 7 words] of effort have already done well.
[ – 3 words] Red or Brown Cloth, 75 cents, White and Gold, $1.
Apply to Mrs. N.F. Mossell
1432 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
HOUSEKEEPERS SHOULD SEE THE NEW
A Soft, Pliable, Odorless Matting,
Warm in Winter, Cool in Summer.
An Ideal Sanitary Chamber Carpet
For All the Year Round.
Sews together and turns under.
Does not break or require binding.
No odors or germs or disease.
Insects do not trouble it.
Heavy furniture does not break it.
Double faced — double wear.
Artistic colors — stylish designs.
We cordially invite inspection.
HODGES FIBRE CARPET CO.
Manufacturers and Patentees,
50 Essex St. (cor. Chauncy) Boston, Mass.
BOARDING AND LODGING,
MRS. W.H. YOUNG,
No. 1208 Pine Street, Philadelphia.
PRIVATE DINING ROOM.
“Violets and Other Tales.”
A Collection of Short Stories and Poems.
By Alice Ruth Moore.
In Paper Covers, 50c.; Cloth, $1.00.
Apply to ALICE RUTH M00RE, 1924 Palmyra Street New Orleans, La.
COPIES FOR SALE AT
Office of Woman’s Era, 103 Charles St., Boston.
Washington D.C., July 1, 1895
Furnishes instruction in the following departments and courses:
Theological, Medical, Dental, Pharmaceutical, Legal, College Preparatory, Normal, Musical, and Manual Training, including practice in carpenter shop, printing office, book bindery, tin shop and sewing school.
All students have the privilege of library and reading room without extra charge.
Tuition free in all courses except Medical Dental and Pharmaceutical.
Term opens September 18.
J.E. RANKIN, D.D., L.L.D., President.
J.B. Johnson, Secretary.
Homes for the People!
In Southern California, The Italy of America.
Lands Within Reach of Poor Men’s Means.
THE FRUITLAND COLONY COMPANY,
Of Los Angeles, California, Have placed upon the market
20,000 ACRES 20,000
Of the finest land on earth, which they intend to colonize with colored people, and at prices within reach of men of small means. In order to induce investments in these lands we offer 2,000 acres to the first settlers at $20 per acre and guarantee to deliver water to each 20 acres sold, sufficient for irrigation. These lands lie 60 miles north from Los Angeles, and 7 miles from the Southern Pacific R.R., and consist of a rich friable loam, being of sedimentary formation mingled with decomposed granite. The soil is from 4 to 50 feet deep, and is capable of producing everything on earth that grows in this land of wonderful production.
It lies at an altitude of 2,500 feet above sea level and is peculiarly on the land of the olive and almond.
are the rule in Southern California and more profit can be realized from 20 acres here than on 160 acres in the East.
AFTER 2,000 ACRES HAVE BEEN SOLD
the price will be $35.00 per acre.
It is not an unusual thing for trees in bearing to yield
From $100 to $1000 per Acre.
These lands have perfect title and will be sold for one-third cash, balance one, two and three years, with interest at 6 per cent per annum.
Full information will be given by applying to
H.A. PIERCE, President, or T.M. GIBSON, Secretary,
Room 37, Bryson Block, Los Angeles, California.