Journeys That Opened Up the World: Women, Student Christian Movements, and Social Justice, 1955-1975

By Sara M. Evans | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
elmira Kendricks Nazombe

We were on the playground of our elementary school, both probably eight years old. She was white, and she had been my friend for at least a couple of years. She had a black patent leather purse with a shoulder strap. We were talking about colors and she told me, not in malice but as a matter of fact, that her purse and my skin were the same color. I looked down at the brown skin of my hand and tried to absorb what she was saying. I wanted to argue with her because my hand and the purse did not look the same color to me, but somehow I knew that disputing her would not change her mind. It was the first time I realized that skin color had to do with something other than fact.

Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1940s was full of contradictory experiences. We lived in a low-moderate, mostly black neighborhood where few people owned their own homes. It never occurred to me to ask who the owners were. Our house was a large, three-story, red brick building on what might have been nearly a one-acre lot. I was told it had once been the home of a mayor of Cincinnati. The Federation of Colored Women's Clubs (a predecessor of the National Council of Negro Women) owned it, and my grandmother was the custodian. My parents and I and a series of boarders lived on the top floor. Our house was right across the street from Lane Seminary, where a minister called Lyman Beecher had been president during the preCivil War period. His daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom s Cabin fame, had lived there, and neighborhood legend had it that some of the houses of the seminary had secret rooms that were a part of the Underground Railroad. By the 1940s, the seminary had been transformed into a series of apartment buildings. Ironically, only white families lived in those apartments. One of my best friends, Pat, lived there. My mother sent me to a nursery school on the opposite border of the seminary.

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Journeys That Opened Up the World: Women, Student Christian Movements, and Social Justice, 1955-1975
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Journeys That Opened Up the World *
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 1 - Ruth Harris 15
  • Chapter 2 - Jeanne Audrey Powers 45
  • Chapter 3 - Rebecca Owen 66
  • Chapter 4 - Elmira Kendricks Nazombe 84
  • Chapter 5 - Jill Foreman 104
  • Chapter 6 - Charlotte Bunch 122
  • Chapter 7 - Tamela Hultman 140
  • Chapter 8 - M. Sheila Mccurdy 157
  • Chapter 9 - Alice Hageman 174
  • Chapter 10 - Jan Griesinger 191
  • Chapter 11 - Eleanor Scott Meyers 208
  • Chapter 12 - Nancy D. Richardson 226
  • Chapter 13 - The Repairer of the Breach (isaiah 58:12) 237
  • Chapter 14 - Renetia Martin 240
  • Chapter 15 - Frances E. Kendall 249
  • Chapter 16 - Margarita Mendoza De Sugiyama 262
  • Notes on Contributors 271
  • Index 275
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