Nannie Helen Burroughs Project

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

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Project Goal: To Open a Discussion Across America, Especially in Our Black Community, About the Relevancy of Her Views to Our Lives Today.

Documents

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 impotantly, 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 signifcance 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. 

Reading Materials 

  • Nannie Helen Burroughs Day 2015 Program Video at the MLK Library in Washington, DC.
  • The most recent NHB activity was at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC on September 16, 2012, 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. For me, this event was the most expansive discussion about Nannie Helen Burroughs that I've seen during the seven years since I founded the project, outside of my presentations. I applaud the 19th Street Baptist Church for what appears to the beginning of their recognizing the contributions of Burroughs to the church, our race and country in the interest of the future of our children.
  • The project has been funded with my personal resources. I have established a nonprofit and plan to seek grants to support the effort. The initial request will be for funding to support to an Interacive Website site to allow for live discussions among visitors. 

Closing Statement: I believe Nannie Helen Burroughs' crusade to improve American life on all fronts sent a 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 changes 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 for America as the basis for a discussion across our country. However, I think we in the Black community need to first have this discussion among ourselves. For example, Burroughs specifically dealth with race relations between blacks and whites.  Today, the subject has been broaden to  whites versus people of color; yet, there is no  discussion of how that changes the dynamics for our race on a national basis. We also do not discuss alternative ways of how to leverage our power in the political process, a position I believe Burroughs embraced. Finally, Burroughs was not alone  among our beloved and heralded ancestors to set forth views about the future of our children. Consider the following: 1. Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) - "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men" 2. The 3 B's of Education: Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) - "12 Things the Negro Must Do for Himself" Charlotte Hawkins Brown (1889-1961) -  The Correct Thing - To Do, To Say, To Wear (Foreword by Maria Cole) , and Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) Last Will and Testament. 3. The New Jersey Monmouth County Professional Women's Club (1950-2004) - "We are beholden to the past. We are shaping the present. We are responsible for the future."  Our historians have done a remarkable job of recording these instruments for us, covering one hundred and eight-six years of our history. I believe our Black sororities and fraternities, where our  members consists of parents, preachers, teachers, atheletes, and politicians, could take the lead in holding this type discussion. Why do we resist?  Nannie Helen Burroughs would say: "Come On!"

I welcome disageements with the views I expressed in what I have called "My Closing Statement" Would Nannie Helen Burroughs and Mary McLeod Bethune be welcomed today as commencement speakers at our universities?

Colonel (US Army, Retired) James E. Wyatt



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

-Nannie Helen Burroughs                                

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

- The Worker,  Oct., Nov., Dec., 1961 edition, a Quarterly Publication, dedicated to her May 25, 1961 Home Going Service at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, Washington, DC  



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