A Celebration of Women Writers

"Woman's Awakenment." by Mrs. Anna S. Green.
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 649-650.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 649] 



Never before in the history of the world has the capacity of woman been more recognized than now. It is her era of promise, a vivid reflection of exaltation, disclosing that period when the Angel of the Lord appeared and made known to Mary the purpose of our Heavenly Father, choosing her as the mother of His Son, the Saviour of the world, that through her His immaculate birth has to be humanized. Woman will not, if true to herself and mission, fail to remember and ponder upon and hold fast to the vantage ground, gained for her by this Divine choice, strengthening her claims as relative co-operator with man, his well-wisher, co-worker and helpmate. With reverential awe, down the annals of time, this mighty truth will be echoed in utterances of thankfulness and joy, praising Him ever for the priceless part He has given to woman, which can not be taken away.

We, as descendants and representatives of that woman whom the whole universe praises and blesses, should endeavor to emulate her holy, virtuous life as maiden, wife, mother and friend. Through love, she accomplishes much. By love, was this great incarnation wrought, and through woman's love; which incentive influence will, with reaching heart and hands, with softened tones, reclaim the callous, cold and wicked, from the extremes to which their morbid state consigns them. History, modern and ancient, is replete with examples of what good women have done. Guided by this inherited, instinctive, practiced gift of charity, she has been enabled to overcome great evils. Monica, the mother of the Christian patriot and Penitent Augustine, taught him from his earliest youth the great tenets of love, forgiveness, penitence and confession. Augustine's life was full of pathetic temptations and sorrow for sin, but in his greatest trials, the mother's influence and example rescued him from fatal fall; that mother's love which shone as a beacon to call him back; and from having been a great sinner he became a great saint. The legacy of prayer he has left to the world will go down to future generations as a solace, a plea, a hope for mankind.

Blanche, of Castile, and the mother of Godfrey of Cologne, trained their sons, the great crusaders, for their heroic work. Joan of Arc, through love of country and kind, from the simple peasant maiden was transformed into the leader of the trained veterans of France, who followed her to victory. Letitia, the mother of the dictator of Europe, known only in history as "Madame Mère," proved how the simple title of mother could be made great and glorious.

When woman's ambition leads her to mount the highest plane of eminence and progress, God forbid that it should become necessary for her to abandon the province of home, [Page 650]  the great centrifugal center from whose radii warmth reaches to the heights, depths and breadths of remote points, where hope waits for this surcease of sorrow. Woman's real advancement can not invalidate this reserve power, which has home for environment. From thence must come her strongest plea to be heard. The best of our statesmen and politicians realize this fact as the conserving influence of her co-operation; they would not repress or depress her desire for advancement, and, doubtless with regret, they would mark her failure to value that province which is the custodian of early impressions, where love and truth should ever be taught and found. "The race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong." Patience is golden, and waiting rewarded. Let us work for the right and wait for the harvest–in time it will come.

We, as Americans, have, as a nation, achieved a great plan of country. Individual liberty has been symbolized and celebrated in the Magna Charta of American Independence; citizens have been made free to inhabit a land which is a refuge for the oppressed and downtrodden of countries that are not blessed with the freedom of our own. Doubtless the men who made and signed that great declaration were satisfied with its provisions; they did not realize the future to which we were tending. Perhaps some day not far distant the true spirit of '76 will again pervade the councils of our country, and women will be made citizens of America, with equal rights.

Let us hope on, that these lawmakers will some day grow magnanimous and not fear to put the responsibility of citizenship upon us. Let us be their helpmates in all things, and have power given us to protect our property, ourselves, and all rights, equally with themselves. The laws of the land are good, but women claim they are not in it. She has power to hold, but not to protect. Good women will not abuse this trust; they will value its bestowal. When the human family can cease to be jealous, and learn to love more for love's own sake and the God whom they serve, then will a millennium of justice shed its rays over our land. All God's creatures will then join to praise Him for mercies before unknown because of infirmities of sin. May woman be patient, yet persevere in her efforts for justice, for recognition of the rights of the citizenship which her country asserts, but which, especially for her, it has failed to provide. We will work, wait, and trust the "men" of our land. When Gen. Robert E. Lee, the great southern chieftain, Christian and soldier, became aware of the necessity to surrender the Confederate forces which he commanded, it was not the principle of "individual liberty " he gave up, but it was a truce to its active demand and assertion. Having fought a good fight, he laid down his arms, trusting in his God, who was mightier than all. He, with his people, were willing to wait, and never did this great heart of resignation utter evil against those whom he considered as God's instrument to delay and frustrate the hope of his people for personal liberty. Women must wait. Patience is golden, and in time will bring its reward.

[Page 649] 

Mrs. Anna S. Green, wife of Maj. James W. Green, a lawyer of West Virginia, is the daughter of William McDonald, a graduate of West Point, and Lucy Anne Naylor McDonald. She was educated at Madame Togo's, Winchester, Va. She is the mother of ten children. Her home duties for many years claimed the greater part of her time, but she found opportunity to do much hospital service during the Civil War. After her widowhood she became owner and editor of the Culpeper Exponent, a publication devoted to the best interests of the whole people. She is an active member of the Daughters of the Revolution. She resides at Culpeper, Va.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.
Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of volunteer
Mary Hitchcock.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom