|The stories in The Women of Haywood are those we seldom see translated into movies and documentaries, and rarely celebrated by news media. These are the stories of women, for whom pride in racial identity, good citizenship, and the calling by God and family to leave the world better than they found it were marching orders for their daily living.From the grammar school teacher, Mayme Dell Rives Bowles Dotson, to nurse Eva James Davis Ralls to activist/entrepreneur Nola Walker Bond, these women used their power, resources, self-respect and faith to infuse financial and spiritual wealth in their respective communities.
They served as role models for young women and men in their lives, embraced the communities’ children as their own, and showed the world that women from relatively modest means were and continue to be the legs upon which America stands. Particularly for the African-American community, “The Women of Haywood” is a reminder that those institutions and values that we most cherish have been built and sustained largely by unsung women who donated dollars, sold box lunches, taught in modest schoolhouses, fed and nurtured people in mom-and-pop restaurants and storefronts, and prayed new roofs onto sanctuaries.
The lesson from The Women of Haywood is that strong will, mother’s wit, self-respect, community spirit, and an unshakeable faith in God combines as an irresistible force for positive change and forward movement for a family, a neighborhood, a people, or the whole planet.