|CHAPTER XIII. -- Places of Special Interest Visited.|
In the last National Baptist Convention that Dr. Wm. J. Simmons attended in Louisville, Ky., Virginia spoke on the subject, "The Ideal Woman." Prov. 31: 10-3. With other Bible women she contended for a woman's separate and distinctive organization in 1890. Dr. Simmons, however, did not approve that idea because he thought the men and women working together would do more effectual work. Because of Dr. Simmons' objection the Kentucky women, who were then doing a successful educational work, did not encourage a woman's auxiliary convention, hence the idea was suspended for that time. A few years later the idea was again advanced in Atlanta, Ga., in the historic Baptist church once pastored by Rev. Quarls (the same place that Spelman Seminary began its splendid work for girls under the management of Misses Packard and Giles). There the women agreed they could do better work through a woman's general
In the meantime our faithful missionary with many other good women continued to attend the great annual gatherings of N. B. convention, going to Savannah, Ga., Washington, D.C., and Montgomery, Ala., ever making a plea in defense of woman's work, and seeking encouragement toward a woman's national organization. Finally sufficient encouragement was given through Rev. L.G. Jordan, secretary of Foreign Mission Board of N. B. convention, for a few women to come together in Richmond, Va., in 1900, and effect a woman's convention auxiliary to N. B. convention.
The following officers were then elected:
Mrs. S. W. Layton, Philadelphia, Pa., president.
Mrs. P. J. Bryant, Atlanta, Ga., vice-president.
Mrs. V. W. Broughton, Nashville, Tenn., recording secretary.
Miss N.H. Burroughs, Louisville, Ky., corresponding secretary.
Miss S. C. V. Foster, Montgomery, Ala., treasurer.
These officers have all, except the treasurer, served in their respective offices for the past six years continuously, thus showing the wisdom of the good women constituting our N.B. convention, and also the fitness of the officers for their positions.
An effort was again made in Cincinnati the next year after this organization was effected in Richmond to disband it, but the women took a decided stand to hold their organization intact, and they began earnestly to plan, pray and work to prove the wisdom of their decision. Every year since has brought stronger proof through the unprecedented success attained that we made a wise decision. The Birmingham meeting is memorable, not only for the sad disaster that occurred through the false alarm of fire, but also from the determined and successful effort of our women to build a brick house in Africa for their beloved representative, Miss E. B. Delaney, who had suffered so intensely from two attacks of the fearful
The next annual convention met in Philadelphia, Pa. This meeting was attended with increased interest, market progress had been made along all lines, unholy ambitions and jealousies also appeared that marred the harmony and peace to some extent. The meeting in Austin, Tex., made a goodly number of friends for the race. One white gentleman, who had resided in the South for a number of years as teacher in one of our institutions, remarked: "This woman's convention gives me more hope for the race than anything I have witnessed since I came South." Even the street car conductors, who are generally uncouth and unkind toward our race in the South, reversed their usual methods and sang the praises of our delegation by saying they had never carried more orderly crowds on their lines. The crowds were truly immense, yet no disturbances of any kind occurred during the five days of our meetings. The great western
The last of these annual gatherings we will refer to convened in Memphis, Tenn. This was the overflow meeting. A large cotton shed was the only available place large enough to accommodate the vast crowds that gathered from day to day. The woman's convention, however, convened in the new spacious audience room of the St. John Baptist Church. The message of cheer and good will extended by Miss M.G. Burdette, representative of W. B. H. M. S., was a special feature of the Memphis meeting. She paid a high tribute to the character of our women in that she said of all the sixty odd women of our race that had served under the commission of W. B. H. M. S. not one had betrayed her trust.
The African exhibit, arranged by Miss Delaney, and the Star Musical Concert, illustrative of native African and American Negroes, were also pleasing features of the Memphis convention. Mrs. J.P. Moore's motherly talk was heartily received, and her testimony to the faithfulness and purity of Negro womanhood, as she knew it from forty years personal contact, as perhaps no other white woman in the world had had, made us feel like taking up the struggle of life anew, and though every outlook be dark and drear we would take the uplook and press onward to the goal.
Virginia has not only served her people as teacher, editor, missionary and officer in benevolent and religious institutions; she has also enjoyed the rare privilege of representing them in the great Northern Baptist Anniversary meeting in Saratoga, N.Y., and other northern meetings of which mention has been made. Besides these meetings she also had the privilege to represent her sisters and keep the record of a meeting held by the Woman's Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention when it met in Nashville, Tenn., May, 1904. Regarding this meeting, in justice to Virginia, we must say when the press reporter came to take a minute of the proceedings Miss Annie Armstrong, corresponding secretary of the M. U., said to the reporter,"If Mrs. B. (our Virginia) will take the record it can't be improved upon, for she takes the best minutes I ever heard." The reporter committed his work to Virginia upon the suggestion of Miss A.A. We are pleased to say he reported her record "verbatim, et literatim et punctuation."
Virginia's visits to Tibee Beach, on the Atlantic near Savannah, Ga., and to Atlantic City, N.J., were moments of unusual delight, as those were her first opportunities to contemplate God's glory and might, as seen in the dashing spray of the mighty deep, which the great waves, rolling up and down, dash against