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

By Sara M. Evans | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Tamela Hultman

Six months after the United States Supreme Court ruled against school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, my father got a chance to say what was on his mind. At the age of twenty-nine, in the pulpit of the Seagrove Christian Church where my mother grew up, he took a radical step that altered the trajectory of our family's life. Seagrove is dead center in the state of North Carolina, a small town settled in the mid-eighteenth century by English potters attracted by its malleable clay soil and fertile farmland.

On that November morning in 1954, Robert Hultman, a sawmill worker, short-order cook, restaurateur, and Sunday school superintendent filling in for an absent pastor, preached a sermon about race and Christian values. Among the things he said was this: I don't mind what color man my daughter marries. If she comes to me and says she wants to marry a Negro, my question to her will be, “Tami, is he a good Christian?” Seven years old, sitting in the pew beside my mother and trying as usual not to fidget, I had no idea that we, along with the nation, had entered an era that would change us all. And I surely had no sense of the personal cost to my mother of the impending rupture of community ties.

It would be some time before we entered the familiar sanctuary for worship again. But my mother's calm, matter-of-factness as we left the church must have masked for me the drama of the moment, because what I recall is a pleasant feeling of shyness at being singled out in the sermon.

It didn't occur to me until recently, when an interviewer asked whether my father's first sermon had been prompted by the Brown decision, to wonder if it had been. Yes, he said as I then questioned him, it was. A few days later he produced a fragile, yellowed piece of paper. A handwritten note, signed by five deacons, demanded his resignation as Sunday school superintendent. The names are ones I recognized from later years of church home

-140-

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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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