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Nannie Helen Burroughs Project

Lost to History and the Black Church: One African American Woman's Views on How to Make Our Country a Better Place.

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Project Goal:  To encourage our black and white leaders (educational, religious, political, high-profile, etc.)  to come together, listen to each other and use her standards  as a basis to seek common ground and cooperation in guiding the masses.


This Documents Page is comprised of articles about Burroughs, her writings, and excerpts of her speeches. It is designed to complement and expand your knowledge and understanding of her. Everything included in this website is the result of the exhaustive work of many, many professional women. I have the highest regard and respect for them and again express my sincere appreciation for their efforts. I make reference to a few only because they were the primary sources for my work. First, I started in the Library of Congress, where Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham was the primary source in organizing the 110,000 pieces of information. My first reading of an extensive work about Burroughs was the 2008 Doctoral Dissertation by Dr. Ann Michele Mason of the University of Maryland, Nannie H. Burroughs Rhetorical Leadership During the Inter-war Period. Most importantly, Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas autographed my copy of her 2010 book, Jesus. Jobs and Justice.  The essence of my work about Burroughs is best reflected in this comprehensive study of the roles played by Black church women in our society. Finally, the Women's Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention highlighted in a significant way the cooperation between Burroughs and her White sisters in fighting racism by sponsoring Dr. Sondra Washington in her writing the 2006 book, The Story of  Nannie Helen Burroughs.  I encourage you to Google the life of Nannie Helen Burroughs and find the many writings about this remarkable woman who has simply been lost to history. I have tried my best to do justice to the work of our professionals. I seek their forgiveness, if I fell short.

Reading Materials 

  • Nannie Helen Burroughs Day 2015 Program Video at the MLK Library in Washington, DC.
  • In September of 2017,  Miss Burroughs home church, the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC, presented a play about two great women of the church, Etta Booker and Nannie Helen Burroughs. They were portrayed as special guests at a Sunday School setting, talking to the children about their lives and service. By all accounts, it was a tremendous success, being both entertaining and informative. This event represented an important step in bringing this remarkable woman's views back into our lives. Therefore, I applauded the 19th Street Baptist Church for what appeared to be the beginning of their recognizing the important contributions of Burroughs to the church, our race and country. However, the cooperation expected has not materialized. If interested in the specifics, please contact me.
  • The most recent activity was a May 19, 2018 "Wreath-Laying Ceremony" at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery representing the 57th Anniversary of Miss Burroughs demise. The leaders of our Black Baptist Conventions were requested to send letters of tribute.  There were no responses.
  • The project has been funded since 2010 with my personal resources. I have now established a nonprofit and plan to seek grant funds to support the effort. After ten years of advocating for the views and vision of Nannie Helen Burroughs, I have concluded that the best chance for establishing her legacy discussing her views and vision rests with our young people. Therefore, while I continue to pursue an open and honest discussion in our Black community about Miss Burroughs, my grant pursuit will be to establish a Nannie Helen Burroughs Girls Club at the first year level of an HBCU.  The grant will be used to study her life and to bring a discussion to HBCUs across the country.

Closing Statement: I believe Nannie Helen Burroughs' Crusade To Improve American Life on all Fronts sent an important message and provided guidance as to how we might at least consider dealing with our problems today.  She acknowledged that changes in race relations were incremental and temporary, always recognizing that there were remaining structural racial issues to be addressed. I think we need to use Burroughs' views and vision today as the basis for a discussion across our country. However, a discussion first among ourselves in the Black community might be productive. Remember, Burroughs fought the structural racial problems in our country while seeking cooperation wherever she could find it.  Cooperation was so important to her that she dedicated a chapter in her books, What Do You Think?/Think On These Things, 1950/1952, to The Meaning of Cooperation. She also acknowledged that we had differences within our race that required equal attention. The bottom line is Nannie Helen Burroughs fought for progress and justice on all fronts. Let's use the knowledge she left us to fight our battles of today, wherever they may be.  We can accomplish this by openly and respectfully sharing our different views about the way forward.

Colonel (US Army, Retired) James E. Wyatt

"I Have Fought A Good Fight; I Have Finished My Course"

White Woman's Final Tribute, 1964:  Nannie Helen Burroughs influence over her people can hardly be estimated.  She had dynamic power. Measured not as a woman, she had extraordinary ability and her living faith in God and in her children, of whatever race, her spirit of services and sacrifice energized her gifts as only faith and love can do."

God grant that she will not have lived and toiled in vain.

Nannie Helen Burroughs transitioned on May 20, 1961 at the age of eighty-two.  Her Home Going Service was held on May 25, 1961 at her church, the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, now on Sixteenth Street in Washington, DC.  

Contact us today in Annapolis, Maryland, for details about this icon of African American history.