Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 2 - The Forerunner

Her body wrecked with illness was robbed of its energy––a young, frail, and tiny little thing, her mother had worried about her existence.  Her weakness and her frailty had people thinking she would never be able to marry and start her own family.  Marriage would happen to the others was a sentiment, which circulated among her family members. Due to her frailness, many thought it impossible she could endure such a robust institution.
Not being able to attend school as the other girls in her state, the impulsive and inquisitive young girl found peace in the sanctuary of her grandfather and father's libraries.  She allowed her mind to wander and stretch beyond the narrow-minded thinking of the people who surrounded her.
  • It was here she examined, read and learned how to reason;
  • here she questioned the role of women;
  • here she discovered her own equality.
In a world where women had sunken down to a level of being brainless creatures whose sole purpose was to propagate the human species, this woman found contentment in books as she dreamed of what could be.
October 25, 1764, her constitution and will to rise above others' predictions of her station in life had defied all the prognoses that had been proclaimed. It was her wedding day, and once again, she had proven the destiny of a person was not determined by the condition of one's health or the birthplace of one's environment, but by each person's will to believe and struggle against any system which limited change to the privilege few.
Her crowning moments, after her marriage, were many, but many of them are forgotten by our modern day society, which unfortunately tags progressive change as some occurrence that originated from us, instead of examining how and when it all began.   For many, the women's movement began somewhere in the late nineteenth century, however:
  • if it had not been for the tenacity of this woman who spoke out against the injustices and cruelties done to women;
  •  if it had not been for her courageous thinking which challenged the purchase and enslavement of other human beings;
  •  if it had not been for her stoicism that refused to let her be ashamed or feel insulted, when behind her back people called her Madam President;
many of the events, which took place after the formation of the United States, would have probably taken longer to occur or probably never happened. In writing to her husband on March 31, 1776, she wrote the following sentences:
"Remember all men would be tyrants, if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.
That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up––the harsh tide of the master for the more tender and endearing one of friend.
Why then not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity?"[1]
This was written by the woman whom no one expected to secure a place in the Annals of History,
  • a woman no one expected to live many years,
  •  a woman with no public education, yet she held her ground with any of the scholars in her time,
  •  a woman who saw the injustices of a young nation and was not afraid to address them;
  •  a woman, like so many other forerunners before her, who saw the impossible happening before it occurred.
On October 28, 1818, three days after her sixty-fourth wedding anniversary, a forerunner took flight, leaving behind a foundation that others would step out and build upon.  For  on August 18,  1920, the nineteenth amendment was ratified, and women had achieved the constitutional right to vote.
The woman, Abigail Smith Adams, Madam President, and the forerunner of the Emancipation of Women, and one of the forerunners of freedom for  Afro-Americans had Walked On!
Walk On!  I say,  Walk On!
Pat Garcia

[1] Letters Between Abigail Adams And Her Husband John Adams,  the Liz Library, 1998 – 2011, http://www.thelizlibrary.org/suffrage/abigail.html  (Accessed May 22, 2012).

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