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Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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The socially active women (including Mother Mary) who gathered at the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified, ... were Cora Lee Hill Atkins' social working model in the environment of first five decades during 20th century America, ... when most White believers viewed most Black claimants of the faith incapable and  undeserving of community and fellowship. 

Majority of well-meaning White politicians and pastors outside the legally segregated south viewed teaching and social work as necessary and best left to models evolved by enlightened and educated White women and men,

... not a model for "the least of us" by women like Mary Church Terrell who advocated women's civic clubs to help motivate and educate Black women in building viable communities.  The Terrell view shared by many Black scholars was that in order to educate generations of children up from slavery they had to be motivated by their parents, ... particularly mothers who had to be inspired via body and spirit of Christ to "nourish faith, hope and love." 

Cora learned years before coming into Western Pennsylvania the Church was meant to be more than a building for unenlightened and uneducated poor folks and their equally ignorant preachers if left alone.   For educated young women like her, Nancy Lee and scores of others across the industrial north, ....

... the true and historic community as HIS church had to be organized activities that inspired good motherhood to nurture, motivate and educate youth, not simply hear sermons and hymns of praise.  But, she would be the church secretary for 50 years and immensely enjoyed her Sabbath Day outings to hear gospel music and preaching from the new testament.  She welcomed an opportunity to join with professionally trained social worker William S. Howell who had been employed by the Pittsburgh Coal Company specifically to help Black coal miner families evolve communities in their mining camp locations.

Educated in one of the historically Black Colleges, Cora had been indoctrinated with the belief that Black Churches true to the cause of Christ required men and women committed to wash the body and spirit of new generations to live better and more plentiful lives by doing good in the home, community and schools.  Cora was not only a life-long believer in Jesus as the beloved Christ/Savior/Messiah/Meshawa/etc. (known to many believers by many names), ... but also a Messianic minded lifelong enlightened and educated disciple born of African heritage activities up from slavery modeled by believers like Mary Church Terrell. 

For Cora, good health was a gift from God for humans to be active, and Christ urged us to use it to raise up a better generation in memory of HIM.  She believed deeply that life itself was composed of energy and matter to be actively used until extinguished by God Almighty, ... leaving the soul to be judged by the Redeemer.  And, without exception, so far as is known, ... she weighed all her activities relative to beliefs and faith reinforced by daily reading throughout her life.  Cora struggled in her last years of good eye sight (before glaucoma virtually blinded her) to finish reading "Roots" having seen the TV documentary and determined to read the book by Alex Haley himself to see what was added or left out in the documentary.

With the above in mind it is easy for offspring to comprehend her social work model in Christ to have been more than birthing and raising nine children but including: education to be a teacher, class-room teaching, marriage, child-birth, Sunday school organizing, music lessons, integrating the Parent Teacher Association, Allegheny Union Baptist Association, domestic service for rich White families and the Library Women's Club. 

 

 

 

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Last modified: 12/29/16