Twenty Year's Experience of a Missionary
The John C. Martin Bible Movement.
While making a missionary tour through Clarksville and vicinity Virginia met Dr. S.G. Miller,
the representative of "The John C. Martin Educational Fund," a new movement that had for its
specific object the development of the moral and religious life of our people through the
systematic study of the Bible. We do not wonder that Virginia was delighted to learn that God
had raised up a man to prosecute the work that she had so long endeavored to encourage as
outlined by Miss J.P. Moore's Fireside school plan.
Dr. S.G. Miller, noting Virginia's interest upon a lengthy interview concerning her work and
that Mr. Martin was endeavoring to establish, solicited her co-operation and expressed a wish to
have her services as lecturer and organizer. When the woman's department was inaugurated,
Virginia began to use the
109"Bulletin," the organ of this movement in her institute work. From her first month's report which
consisted of outlines of sermons, and answers to questions on the month's Bible study, Dr. Miller
was so agreeably surprised to find any Negro woman so well versed in Bible history, that he
wrote her that she should have the first consideration in appointments for the woman's department
of the Bible institute work. Accordingly in May, 1905, while attending the Alabama State Bible
Institute, Virginia was appointed lecturer for woman's department of "The J.C. Martin
Educational Fund." Her work was highly complimented and approved by both the management
and the people among whom she labored. She traveled, lectured and organized women's unions
throughout the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Kentucky and Illinois. These unions were expected to meet regularly and discuss
the Bible lessons of the month as outlined in the Bulletin, and report their work monthly to
Our people en masse are so unaccustomed to such work, lacking the needed training to
succeed without some teacher or leader to constantly stimulate and instruct them that they failed
to report as desired, both the men in their local institutes and the women in their unions. Hence
Mr. Martin decided to transfer
110his efforts to our Christian institutions of learning altogether and thus help pin the religious
development of the youth of the race upon whom the future of the race so largely depends. This
work added much to Virginia's experience from the great opportunity given to visit the schools of
people. She is naturally optimistic, being often heard to say in meetings, "Praise the Lord!" Her
hope for the future of her people was brightened as she was the great army of Negro youth
gathered in our schools and colleges throughout this country, under the best instructors, using the
most improved methods of education ever known to mankind. What may we not expect?
Educators have all realized that they must develop the whole man; his threefold nature must be
developed and so the new education proposes to help the youth find out all his possibilities and to
prepare him to assert them. The fact that the Bible is being magnified and made a part of the
regular curriculum of our institutions of learning is chief cause of Virginia's hope for better things.
Any nation is blessed whose God is the Lord, and those who honor God will be honored of God.
The Psalmist says: "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Ps. 138;2. Surely when
the people of God magnify his word by studying, teaching and obeying it God's favor will rest
upon them. "No weapon that is formed against them will prosper. This
111is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." Is.
During Virginia's visits to the schools in the interest of the John C. Martin Bible movement,
she visited the A. & M. College, Normal, Ala., of which the distinguished Prof. W.H. Council is
president, a man who has been foremost in contending for the education of his people along
intellectual, industrial and religious lines, and for their peaceful and friendly cooperation with the
white people of the Southland, among whom they dwell, to make this country bloom and blossom
as a rose by developing its rich resources of mineral and agricultural wealth. During her visit to
this institution President Council and his faculty were greatly impressed with Virginia as a most
capable and effective Bible teacher. So ere she departed the president asked her to consider the
wisdom of returning to Normal should she take up the Bible work as outlined for schools and
colleges. Thus the Lord provided for the next step in our missionary's career.