Long before the civil rights movement, Nannie Helen Burroughs was hard at work transforming culture. On February 12, an audience at Trinity learned about her contribution to equality, both for women and African-Americans, from Felicia Howell LaBoy, senior pastor of Maple Park United Methodist Church in Maple Park, Illinois.
LaBoy spoke in connection with Trinity’s Diversity Lecture Series at the invitation of the history department.
“Burroughs taught that education and motherhood were the ingredients for societal change,” LaBoy said. “She showed that true transformation is marked by speaking truth to power.”
Burroughs was a product of the post-slavery Reconstruction Era. She created a place for herself in history by forming the Women’s Convention, an auxiliary to the National Baptist Convention. At the time, the Baptist Convention was the largest Black organization in America. Burroughs also founded a national training school for women and girls.
“As we celebrate Black History Month, remember that African-American women like Burroughs influenced change for good well before Rosa Parks arrived on the scene,” LaBoy said.
Students who attended LaBoy’s lecture characterized Burroughs as inspirational.
Alex Walsh ’10 of Canton, Connecticut, considers himself enlightened. “It’s a part of history I don’t know much about,” he said. “I now know what impact Burroughs had on society today.”
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