The Women Were Ready

“In the early days of the [AME] Church when its ministers were illiterate and humble, and her struggles with poverty and proscriptions were long and severe, and when it required perseverance, and patience, and fortitude, and foresight, and labor, the women were ready, with their time, their talent, their influence and their money, to dedicate all to the upbuilding of the Church.  No class of persons did more to solicit and bring in the people than they.  They raised money to build churches and to support the ministers. They assisted in the prayer-meetings and class-meetings and Sabbath-schools, and taught there to love the ordinances of the Church and to respect the ministry.  Where there were no churches built they opened their doors for public worship and gladly received the care-worn and weary travelling preachers into their families and provided bountifully for their necessities. They were not only zealous in labors, but were talented in speech.  Some were gifted in prayer; so much so that persons were often convinced by hearing them pray, and were led to God and soundly converted and became useful members of the Church.” (Sarah Woodson Early, from speech given at Chicago World’s Fair, 1893)