Sarah Elizabeth Hemings born in 1835 to mother Mary McCoy Hemings and father Madison Hemings was reportedly married and raising a family as of March 13, 1873 when Madison's reminiscences were published in Pike County, Ohio. As his oldest child sharing the names of his beloved mother and grand-mother, we are especially interested in learning more about her life and offspring.
She would have been 25 years of age at the time Abraham Lincoln became President and before then from at least the age of 18 years likely involved in the agitation for abolition, maybe even the Underground Railroad up from Virginia. A good possibility is that she married Reuben Bird knowing he might be killed or wounded in the abolition activities and resulting war. And, he apparently did die in the war, leaving Sarah a widow with children and living in her father's home.
In her generation that included brothers and a husband who served in the great cause, ... there were few fence sitters among free African-Americans in the northern states.
When the time of liberation came and Frederick Douglass and others were urging men of color to join in the great cause of fighting for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for others, ... they also urged women of color to join in the needs for bandaging and burial of those wounded and killed.
The color bar that existed assured White women like Clara Barton and other heroic nurses to the Union efforts, ... were not available to touch and tell U.S. Colored Troops for any reason or places. So, we know that many women of color such as Suzy Q. Taylor came to the work of caring "for the least of us" in uniform but not enough research has been done as to who they were.
Here again, most Black novelists have no idea as to how such stories can be told because of bias in their ignorance of self and others not yet up from slavery. The issue matters because the neglect to know did not begin or end with knowledge of the Civil War but all the way into and beyond World War wherein a million Black men served, ... and all their nurses and care-givers were also mostly unknown Black women.
A great fallacy in the culture that generated many talented writers like Alice Walker is that so much talented has been wasted on thoughts like "The Color Purple" that enraged and trashed Black men but nothing at all about the real triumphs and challenges of Black feminism, ... about more than what White feminist students at predominantly White seven sister institutions were interested in pursuing. Such institutions while quite familiar with the works of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ann Frank and even Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, ... had little knowledge or interest in women of African heritage who were passing as White females in workings of the underground railway.
The fallacy of the consequent is that women like Alice Walker, Paulette Brown and other colored girls like Woopie Goldberg raised with middle-class advantages and opportunities and allegedly enlightened by White feminists, ... gained little or no knowledge about their own heritage of struggle. Too many have chosen to imagine and write about topics not helpful in the fight and flight of African-Americans up from slavery. They are all bright enough, (some even brilliant) ... to help heal wounds rather than inflict them.
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