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  --  1858--1923   Table of Contents     VICTORIA EARLE MATTHEWS
  --  1861-1898

Brown, Hallie Q.
Homespun heroines

- SUSIE I. LANKFORD SHORTER -- January 4, 1859--February 27, 1912

January 4, 1859--February 27, 1912

In the progressive town of Terre Haute, Indiana, on January 4, 1859, a little daughter was born to the Pastor of the A. M. E. Church, Rev. Whitten Strange Lankford and his wife Clarrisa Carter Lankford.

The first of the five children was named Susie Isabel.

When Susie was fourteen years old her father took her to Wilberforce University that she might be instructed by Bishop Daniel A. Payne and the other noble educators there, whose ideals were high and their motives for teaching pure and unselfish.

Among the subjects Susie studied in the two years spent at Wilberforce were botany, rhetoric, French, music, algebra and arithmetic.

And it was the Professor who taught the last two subjects who afterward became her devoted husband.

Her school life was cut short by the death of her mother, and when only sixteen years old this young girl became a teacher at Rockville, Indiana, and later in Richmond.

It was at Christmas time 1878, in her second year as teacher in Richmond that Susie Lankford became the wife of Professor Joseph Proctor Shorter.

To them were born eight children, of whom three are living. They are Lee Shorter, Joseph Shorter, and Susie Pearl Shorter Smith. She was exceptionally kind and considerate, always lending a helping hand in church, state and community. The small shop known to-day as the College Inn, over which she presided, was filled with articles both gay and useful, so dear to the student heart.


She was not only a faithful wife and devoted mother in sickness and in health, but she was interested in all mankind and that interest was shown by her articles written for the "Ringwood Journal,"--by her poems, and by her joy in missionary and club work.

The paper she wrote and read before the gathering of friends in Jacksonville, Fla., at Bishop Payne's eightieth birthday celebration was published as a booklet and named "Heroines of African Methodism."

This, and the poem used as the "Ohio Federation Song," are the best known of her writings.

She was not perfect, we know of none who are.

She was not renowned. But like her dear husband, she had so many fine qualities that not only her children rise up and call her blessed, but the many students to whom she sent a bowl of soup, or a dainty meal when they were ill; and the little children of the neighborhood she lovingly gathered into her home to give free kindergarten lessons and the hosts of visitors who year after year found cordial hospitality at this Shorter home, all would have joined in the resolutions from the Young Men's Christian Association at her funeral when the soul of "Mother Shorter" as they tenderly called her, had peacefully passed from a suffering body to that happy land, where all is joy and perfect understanding.

It was on the 27th day of February, 1912, soon after her 53d birthday, that Susie Lankford Shorter went to that other world to join her beloved husband who had died two years before.

But to their children, and others who really loved them, it is but yesterday. For their sweet, inspiring spirits still abide with us.

( Tune--"Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" )

We are a band of women, from the
National we come,
We are marching into battle 'tho
We've neither fife nor drum,
The Ohio Federation, lifting others as we climb,
Our motto, "Deeds not words."


Deeds not words shall be our motto,
Deeds not words shall be our motto,
Deeds not words shall be our motto,
We're "Lifting as we climb."

We represent the women who were
once denied a place,
In the National Convention of the
highly favored race,
Nothing daunted we have struggled
and we've made ourselves a place,
Our motto, "Deeds not words."

Our race must be enlightened, we must
earn our daily bread,
We must give our time and talent--
and the hungry must be fed,
We must root up sin and sadness,
planting good and joy instead,
Our motto, "Deeds not words."

All hail The Federation! And may
others join our band,
May the torch that we have lighted,
shine in this and every land,
Till the women of all races, will be
glad to take our hand,
Our motto, "Deeds not words."

  --  1858--1923   Table of Contents     VICTORIA EARLE MATTHEWS
  --  1861-1898