Brown, Hallie Q.
|MRS. S. J. S. GARNETT -- An Appreciation|
At her home in Brooklyn, N. Y., there passed from labor to reward, Mrs. S. J. S. Garnett, one of our most remarkable women. The subject of our sketch was the widow of the famous Henry Highland Garnett, clergyman and diplomat, and as distinguished as her renowned husband, having served in the highest degree, her day and generation. She was a member of an old and highly honored family of Brooklyn. She attended school, was an apt scholar and at an early age became a teacher, being one of the first of the race to adopt that profession. Her energy and ability were soon recognized. From the grades she was elected principal of a large number of teachers and pupils. She was always frail of body, never self-assertive, but possessed with a supreme faith and confidence in God and a dauntless courage in the face of the evil-doer. She belonged to that old school of heroines which crossed cudgels with the enemy and batled unceasingly for the full manhood rights of the Negro. When certain discriminations were made against colored teachers of New York, Mrs. Garnett, Bishop W. B. Derrick and Lawyer T. McCants Stewart, went to Albany, confronted the legislature with indisputable facts and won the contest.
After a long career in the schoolroom Mrs. Garnett retired on a handsome pension. She could have withdrawn from life's busy throng and lived in ease and comfort, but her zeal was not one whit abated for the great principles she had espoused. The cry of humanity and its needs rang clearer and stronger than a life of self-ease and inactivity. Duty called; she must obey! Her intellectual ability and nobility of character made her the center of attraction in any circle. Mrs. Garnett was founder of the Equal Suffrage League, the only colored organization in Brooklyn representing
Mrs. Garnett literally died in harness. While in London she gathered suffrage literature and twenty-four hours before her promotion to her Heavenly Home, was distributing the same among her club in Broklyn. She fell asleep without serious illness or a struggle.
What is the summary of this beautiful character? Mrs. Garnett's life has been as a bright shaft of light let down into the darkness round about her, which illuminated the furthest corner. A career full of good deeds and noble endeavor. Her example has been inspiring alike to the youth and the aged. She was a friend whose purse and door were open to the distressed and her hospitality was as boundless as the ocean itself. Her deep piety, her thorough learning and achievements, her great will-power, her high courage, with such frailty of body make her one of the remarkable women of the age. Her family lost a beloved companion and counselor, her friends, a confidante and sympathizer. The race, one of its foremost educators, a pioneer of the school room. The community in which she lived, a noble, inspiring God-fearing citizen, the world a benefactor, a valuable contributor to literary, domestic and State affairs. Women of the world, let us emulate the virtues of this mother in Israel.