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

By Sara M. Evans | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
Frances E. Kendall

Generally, when I talk about my work with the National Student YWCA, I use words like “changed my life” or “I'll never be the same,” but I don't often stop to feel what that experience really was internally. Perhaps because it was too confusing and too painful and too joyful all at the same time. Perhaps because it was so tied up with my relationship with my family. And perhaps because it was then that I intentionally rejected many of the perspectives and behaviors that my southern culture and family held. I chose the National Student YWCA as my family because the women there cared for me and loved the person I was becoming in ways that my blood family could not. These women nurtured and challenged me to live the values that grew to be central to me during that time and have shaped my life's work.

I was born in 1947 and grew up in legally segregated Waco, Texas. My life as an upper-middle-class white child was not terribly unusual for the time, except that my father had died when I was four years old so my family configuration was not what was viewed as normal. Raised in an extremely patriotic, conservative, Texas Republican family, I was explicitly taught many lessons: America is the greatest country in the world and it is un-American to question anything it does; the race and class systems in the United States make good sense and should be defended at any cost; white people are better than black people—well, really black people are something less than human and so don't deserve the consideration that white people do; and segregation is God's way of designing the world. I fervently believed that the United States was “the land of the free and the home of the brave” and that everything I had been taught was right.

Then, for grades nine through twelve, I went to National Cathedral School, an Episcopal girls' school in Washington, D.C., and the lens through which I viewed life changed dramatically. I was in class with black girls who

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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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