The first woman (Eve) came from man (Adam): “And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2: 18). Lest we forget, only God can make a woman, and only God can make a man. However, a man can create a thing. “And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto to a man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken from Man” (Genesis 2: 21-23). The concept woman simply means one-man. However, a woman has a womb (Garden of Eden; whereby life is given by God as a precious gift). Imitation is not always the best form of flattery, because it is easier for a woman to imitate a man than it is for a man to imitate God. A woman has a visual pattern, but a man must see God with the eyes of a spiritual mind. Therefore, this is a profound spiritual truth: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22).
Women are the carriers of culture (behavioral-moral-codes), and down through Biblical history this social fact of human existence was accentuated in everyday living. For example, Ruth the daughter-in-law of Naomi gave up the luxury of the Palace for the gleaning of wheat and barley in fields, because she had a godly conscience experience, and desired to remain with her mother-in-law. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Esther became the King’s favorite wife (Queen) through the teachings and training of Mordecai, and consequently, Esther was able to receive favor from the King to the benefit of the Israelites (Esther 2: 1-23).
In spite of the institutional racism and sexism obstacles placed in their pathways by a racist society, many women have been able to achieve godly greatness. For example, listed below are some unsung women “sheroes” in American history. These Black women are rarely, if ever mentioned. And, at the same time, there are those historic personalities that all of us know about, and above all, highly respect. All of the women mentioned are stellar women of God, and have been god-fearing stewards in American society.
- Jane Matilda Bolin the first Black female judge in America (1928).
- Gabrielle Kirk McDonald the first Black to be appointed to the federal bench in Texas (1979).
- Georgiana Simpson the first Black woman to receive a PhD from an American university (1927).
- Alice Augusta Ball a Chemist/Researcher who discovered a break through treatment for leprosy (1915).
- Bessie Coleman the first Black female pilot in America (1921). In 1995 appeared on U.S. postage stamps.
- Ida B. Wells media/communication pioneer who documented the history of lynching in American society (1884).
And, there are many historic trailblazing Black women who have said I am determined; therefore “here I am Lord send me”. Therefore, in honor of National Women’s History Month, we honor and highlight the achievements of some notable trailblazing women:
- Harriet Tubman initiated the “underground railroad” that freed over three hundred slaves (1849).
- Sojourner Truth known for her speech “Ain’t I a woman?” Fighter for gender equality (1843).
- Rosa Parks known as the “Mother of Freedom”: Civil Rights Movement/Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955).
- Madame CJ Walker beauty products business entrepreneur. The first Black female self-made-millionaire (1905).
- Mary McLeod Bethune founder of Bethune-Cookman University with faith in God, a dollar and a half, and five little girls built Faith Hall in Daytona Beach, Florida (1923).
- Fannie Lou Hammer Civil Rights Activists in Mississippi. Known for the phrase: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” (1955).
- Gwendolyn Brooks the first Black to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry (1950).
- Shirley Chisholm, an advocate for minority rights, and was the first Black female to be elected to Congress. And, the first Black to seek the U. S. Presidency (1972).
- Barbara Jordan the first Black female from the South to be elected to congress (1967).
- Shelia Jackson-Lee 18th congressional district representative (1995).
- State Representative Senfronia Thompson district 141 (Harris County): longest serving State Representative in Texas (1972).
Last, but not least, Karen Carter Richards current owner/editor of the Forward Times Newspaper has done a yeoman’s job of elevating the newspaper to a higher dimension of community consciousness, civic awareness, and corporate responsibility. Through adversities, trials and tribulations the Forward Times for over fifty-five-years has been published on time, all the time, in order that Houston’s Black community is well-informed. While other “major/big city” newspapers have gone out of business the Forward Times is creating bigger, and better business opportunities through its knowledgeable readership.
This editorial is dedicated to the stellar contributions of women; however, congratulations and salutations are extended to Karen Carter Richards for her visionary leadership as the editor-in-chief of this great community-based-asset (newspaper). In conclusion, I reference this scriptural thought: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3: 24). Hooray for the many stellar contributions of Black women in America. Selah!
Bobby E. Mills is an accomplished college professor and public sector administrator. He earned a B.D. degree in Theology from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York and a Ph.D. degree in Sociology from Syracuse University, New York. He has written and published numerous professional articles concerning the pressing social ills confronting American society.