Brown, Hallie Q.
|MARY BURNETT TALBERT -- 1862--1923|
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
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
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.