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    VICTORIA EARLE MATTHEWS
  --  1861-1898   Table of Contents     MADAM C. J. WALKER
  --  1868-1925

Brown, Hallie Q.
Homespun heroines

- MARY BURNETT TALBERT -- 1862--1923

MARY BURNETT TALBERT
1862--1923


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Mrs. Mary B. Talbert
Hon. President of the N. A. C. W.

Following closely the ties of blood are those of friendship and association. Involuntarily one gives a warmer clasp of the hand to a person coming from his section of the country or state, and the fellow-feeling is still more intensified when one hails from the same city or town. Mary Burnett and the writer were from the little educational village of Oberlin, Ohio, in the northern part of the state near the city of Cleveland. After early child-hood we passed out of the lives of each other. My family moved to Washington, D. C., while she continued to live in Oberlin, graduating from the college at an early age. Later she went to Little Rock, Arkansas, where she made a most acceptable teacher for several years, until she married William H. Talbert and located in the city of Buffalo, New York. Mrs. Talbert possessed a kind, thoughtful, generous nature. She did not hesitate to do the smallest deed to the humblest person in any possible way. For if one does not possess these qualities in the small things in life she can never fully expand to the greater ones. Her personality was most charming, her smile an object of beauty. She possessed a ready and versatile tongue and pen. A letter from her was almost equal to a face to face conversation. She was at once graceful and gracious. By her ability, her oratory and her pleasing personality, she held the undivided attention of an audience when she appeared as a speaker. In 1916 she was elected President of the National Association of Colored Women which post she held for four consecutive years. During the first two years of

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her incumbency she called upon the women of the country to redeem the Douglass Home and restore it to its former condition. She was so optimistic and drew so upon her imagination as to what could be accomplished, that she aroused great enthusiasm when she traveled, planned and wrote and addressed large meetings, all of which required bodily and mental energy until her dream was verified. In 1918, two years after the movement was started, when the Biennial of the N. A. C. W. met in Denver, Colorado, the money had been raised and the mortgage on the Douglass Home was burned. The next two years Mrs. Talbert spent in securing funds to restore, rehabilitate and beautify the Home, which was dedicated in August, 1922 at the close of the Biennial held in Richmond, Virginia. This event brought together many men and women representing culture, refinement and appreciation for what had been accomplished for the race through this great-hearted woman. In 1920 she represented the N. A. C. W. at the sixth quin-quennial meeting of the International Council of Women in the Storthing at Kristiana, Norway which was presided over by the marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair. When the great world war began Mrs. Talbert was called into active service in this country and abroad to cheer and hearten the brave boys who were defending our liberties on a foreign field.

When peace was declared she at once began working for the passage of the Dyer Anti-lynching bill. To this she gave the vitality that may have cause the undermining of her health. She realized her physical condition but was willing to lay down her life, not only to perpetuate the deeds of Frederick Douglass and other leading characters for the inspiration of our youth but her large sympathy extended to the unprotected and the unfortunate in all avenues of life. The awarding of the Spingarn medal was the stamp of approval which was bestowed on this fearless leader for what she had so nobly accomplished.

The writer's association with Mrs. Talbert in the

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affair of the Douglass Home and the Anti-lynching movement will ever be a most satisfactory and delightful memory. As an untiring worker, full of energy and ingenuity we will miss her more greatly than we dare permit ourselves to realize.

Her going has left a void which is felt by her numberless associates and friends. Those who admired and loved her are legion. "Our ways are not God's ways," or Mary Burnett Talbert would still be among us performing her own invaluable service. "She cannot come to us, but we can go to her." Her spirit can be with us, inspiring to grater things. In that spirit of love, consecration and ambition, we can commemorate her memory in no better manner than to complete the work that she has already carried to so great a state of advancement.

The Douglass Home, with her plans carried out, will then be a monument, as she had intended it should be, to men and women of mark who have gone before her. Let us join hands with renewed vigor and inspiration to carry on her work.

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    VICTORIA EARLE MATTHEWS
  --  1861-1898   Table of Contents     MADAM C. J. WALKER
  --  1868-1925