Women have always had a remarkable influence on humanity. The Bible confirms in Luke 2nd chapter that a virgin woman named Mary was given the most preeminent task of all…that is to produce a Savior named Jesus to redeem mankind. Several millenniums later, the month of March was proclaimed as Women’s History Month.
Besides my own mother, Ruth Lawrence Hall, and my step-mother Emma Lou Mosley Hall, there are many other women who I believe should be acknowledged for the indelible impacts they’ve made upon mankind. Essentially, among them are these three:
Fanny Crosby: born in 1820, her life spanned almost 95 years. Based on her biography featured on an earnestlycontending.com website, we learn that Mrs. Crosby was blind for all of her life, and was considered as one of the greatest hymn writers in the history of the Christian Church. She later wrote “And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story -Saved by grace.” She saw over 8,000 poems set to music and over 100,000,000 copies of her songs printed. Wow! Talk about a gifted woman. It has been said that on several occasions, upon hearing an unfamiliar hymn sung, she would inquire about the author, and find it to be one of her own.
Mrs. Fanny gave the world such songs as: A Shelter in the Time of Storm, All The Way My Savior Leads Me, Blessed Assurance, Close to Thee, I Am Thine O Lord, Jesus Is Calling, My Savior First of All, Near The Cross, Pass Me Not, Praise Him… Praise Him, Safe InThe Arms of Jesus, To God Be The Glory, and Will Jesus Find Us Watching…to mention just a few. She also said, “when I go to Heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”
I must admit that as I joined in to sing some of her hymns while at church or at one of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodges, I thought the songs were ole negro spirituals. Actually, Mrs. Crosby was a very talented European American born in New York City.
Fannie Lou Hamer: based on her biography located on the National Women’s History Museum website, Mrs. Hamer was somebody! The web pages connote “Fannie Lou Hamer was born (youngest of 20 children) in Montgomery County, Mississippi in 1917. Forty seven years earlier, the 15th Amendment had given African-Americans the right to vote. In 1920, three years after her birth, the 19th amendment granted suffrage to American women. Yet, because of oppressive social circumstances, it wasn’t until 1962 when she was 45 that Hamer learned that she had a right to vote as an American citizen. From that day, Hamer became a leader in the struggle for civil rights, social equality, and economic improvement for the African-American community.”
It is important to note that she worked in the fields of a Mississippi plantation owner under very harsh conditions. Mrs. Hamer took on the responsibilities of house cleaner and plantation timekeeper because she was the only worker who could read and write.
Moreover, in 1965, Hamer helped organize a strike of black cotton pickers. In 1969, she established a Farm Cooperative, “The Freedom Farm Cooperative of Sunflower County,” and a “pig bank” to provide free pigs for poor people to breed, raise, and slaughter. She also founded “Head Start in the Delta” and acquired federal funding for housing projects. In 1971, Hamer helped to found the National Women’s Political Caucus. My, my what a magnanimous lady.
Indra Nooyi: According to her biographical profile as listed on the Business Week web site, Ms. Nooyi has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo since May 2007 and October 2006 respectively. She served as the President of PepsiCo since May 2001, its Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President since February 2000. In addition, she has served as its Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, Corporate Strategy and Development from 1994 to 2000. Fortune Magazine currently ranks her as the second most powerful woman in Business in the world today.
What does this have to do with me you might ask? Well, let me tell you that PepsiCo is a global food and beverage conglomerate that produces popular brands such as Quaker Oats oatmeal, Pepsi soft drinks, Doritos, Fritos, Gator-Aid, Cheetos and Tostitos. Anybody hungry?
Well, after all that we have learned about the inconceivable contributions to our society that have been made by women from all walks of life, let us celebrate and cherish them. Certainly, our young musicians should be careful to no longer dinergrate them with disrespectful lyrics, but conversely honor and esteem them for making our planet a better place to call home.
Rev. Gene Hall