Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Anna Julia Cooper

"They call me the Mother of Black Feminism, but I just call that living my truth.  My theories seek to achieve social justice against the balance of conflict and power that stands in our society..."  ---Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964)

Anna Julia Cooper was born into slavery and spent most of her 105 years tirelessly fighting for African Americans and particularly, African American women.  A writer and a teacher, her first was book was published in 1892 and entitled, A Voice From the South By A Black Woman of the South.  Anna was only the fourth African American woman to earn a doctorate in Philosophy which she completed in 1925 at the tender age of 67; she had completed this at the Sorbonne!  She was one of the most prominent intellectuals and an engaging speaker.  Her social theories are still discussed today.

Today I am going to provide you with a link to an interesting article that was published on her in The Atlantic (here).  Please take a few minutes to read this or better still,  read Cooper's book-- I read a lot of it last night on Google books for free.

Stay safe and well!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961)  is credited as founding one of the first trade schools for African Americans.  She was born in Virginia; her parents had been former slaves and her father passed away during her childhood.  Her mother and she moved to Washington D.C. for better employment and educational opportunities.

If employment opportunities for white women were limited at the turn of the century, imagine what they were like for African American women.  Nannie Helen Burroughs had graduated from school with honors and hoped to become a domestic science teacher but even at African American schools, was unable to find a position.  Many sources suggest that she was not hired because her skin was too dark.

Nannie found other employment with the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention.  She remained aligned with the Baptist Church for the rest of her life.  She became active in the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1908, Nannie Helen Burroughs opened the National Training School.  Nannie had specialized in Domestic Science in high school and there was a strong emphasis on these studies at the school.  According to one interview, she said the school emphasized the three B's--Bible, bath and broom.  She was intent on improving the employment opportunities for African American Women.

First commencement of the National Trade School.

In just a few years, the school received national recognition that was syndicated throughout the country:

The National Trade School Basketball team.

She remained an outspoken advocate for African Americans and particularly African American women throughout her life and led her school  for 52 years.  The school is now an elementary school and renamed the Nannie Helene Burroughs School; it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991.  In 1976, a street in Washington D.C. was renamed Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, NE.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Lifting as we Climb

The motto of the National Association of Colored Women was 
"Lifting A We Climb."

It's been a tough weekend.  I would like to suggest a book for us to read, Lifting as We Climb:  Black Women's Battle for the Ballot.  

African American women fought on so many more fronts than white women.  They received little or no support from their white counterparts and faced traumas, lynching, and even death because of their advocacy.  

I had always intended to spend more time on African American suffragists but with the pandemic, I have--for the most part-- focused on lighter topics.  I suggest you re-read the original post on Lifting as We Climb here.   Also recommended reading would be the link about Mary Ann Shadd Cary here and Mary Church Terrell here. This week, let's focus on the brave women from the African American suffrage movement.

In the meantime stay safe.  Have a good day.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Flower Friday! May 29, 2020

After last week's post, you may understand why I was concerned when my yellow climbers began to bud and showed red.

No fears though, I have pretty yellow blooms!

And so do many of our cyber friends.  This week we honor our foremothers by posting flowers of yellow, purple, and white!  This week seems to be full of irises and columbine!

Barb S. shared these lovely white columbines!

I have some purple columbine in my garden:

Barb Z. shared purple and yellow irises!

White irises by Rosa!

Lorraine B. gifted me some iris tubers last year and they are a lovely shade of lilac!

And then there are Siberian irises!  Purple from Anna and John:

 White ones in my garden!

Please feel free to email ( photos of the lovely blooms in your gardens or that you see as you walk about!

Have a safe and pleasant day!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dining Out--The Suffrage Way!

A week ago, a nice young man in our neighborhood assured me he and his wife are doing fine during the pandemic.  He said his cooking skills have improved but he just misses the whole restaurant experience.  

Today our newspaper reported that restaurants have been cleared for "dining al fresco" or eating outdoors.

In 1912, the famed Alva Belmont funded a "Suffrage Cafeteria" in New York City.  

Alva Belmont was a multi-millionaire who later was a driving force in the National Woman's Party.  But in 1912, 5 years before the NWP, she was already a formidable proponent in the suffrage movement.  

The restaurant sported dishes and silverware with "Votes for Women" imprinted on them.
Reproduction dishes are sold now of this pattern!

There were a few ways that the suffragists marketed the cafeteria for men.  The first was that the food was good and cheap.  25 cents for lamb or beef roast (including sides) and 15 cents for stews and cheaper meals.

Another tactic was allotting space in the restaurant for men to eat amongst themselves:

An interesting article on the restaurant can be found here.

On a humorous note, I found this in the Boston Globe:

Have a good day and stay safe!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Friday, May 22, 2020

Flower Friday: May 22, 2020

 I knew it would be a massive job.

In  the spring of 2018, I decided to convert my front yard into a Suffrage Garden.  The challenge was to transform a 20+ year old established cottage garden and convert it to a simpler theme of yellow, white, and purple flowers.  The only lawn we have are paths around the four large borders.  Hundreds of plants needed to be transplanted.

I knew the biggest job would entail the move of the red rose bushes.  One cannot have red roses in a Suffrage Garden.  Red roses were the official flowers of the Anti-Suffragettes or "Antis" as they were often called.  

My bushes were vigorous and could grow taller than me when left unattended.  I knew I would have to allot at least a day for each bush in the spring of 2019.  The bushes were not only huge but they had developed a lot of thorns and some misshapen branches.  I along with the other gardeners in our neighborhood wondered what was wrong with the roses.

The following spring our newspaper began to report that our local rose garden had rose rosette disease, a virus that not only infects roses but is extremely contagious.  Sure enough, the red roses had the disease.  Problem solved;  I would have to dig out and remove the bushes anyway.  It was a bear of a job but I got it done.  

Happily, I transplanted flowers from the front to the back and vice-versa.  I dreamt of a garden in yellow, purple, and white and a fitting tribute to our foremothers.  I mused about a quilt design that I could call "The Suffrage Garden".  

Of course nothing is ever that easy.  

Last June, I noticed that my beautiful yellow climber rose had red buds.  It didn't seem right.  I couldn't remember if the buds always started red but maybe I had forgotten and the colors turned  as the buds opened.  The rose was at least 22 years old and had been a mainstay on the arbor my husband built.

Then I noticed there yellow buds as well.

Then the blooms happened:

Yes, yellow and red roses bloomed on the climber.

  A red rose called "Dr. Huey" is grafted to most roses; "Dr. Huey" makes the plant more vigorous.  But if the roses are attacked by disease or environmental problems, "Dr. Huey" takes over.  Eventually the plant becomes all red.  Some gardeners refer to this as a "Dr. Phoeey" takeover.  Obviously the plant was fighting off the Rose Rosette Disease and this had occurred.

I removed the climber.  It was difficult to find climbing yellow roses in June but eventually I found two, replaced the soil, and planted them on either side of the arbor.

And then,
ALL the roses in my garden (front and back) began to show red flowers...except one small pink rose bush out front.

My husband refers to this episode, as The Revenge of the Antis.  I laughed at the time but now I am beginning to wonder about the whole thing.  I mean what are the chances the roses would turn red, a pandemic would force me to put the business on hiatus, and we would get a snowfall in May?

Despite gardening challenges, some nice flowers are featured today:

Bill's amazing yellow peony!

Barb's lovely contribution!

Denise has planted lobelia and yellow zinnias!

Lilies of the valley are blooming here in the Lehigh Valley!

If you have flowers in yellow, white, or purple that you want to share with us, please email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!