Today’s Kalendar commemorates as “liberators and prophets” Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman. Stanton and Bloomer were white women and Truth and Tubman were African American women. All were powerful advocates of justice and of hope for reform in 19th C. America. They were compelling public speakers, first engaging in the movement to abolish slavery and later in helping to found the movement for women’s rights, including rights to property, to the value of one’s labor, and to the right to vote. All of these had been denied by law to women as well as being denied to the African American slaves. Each of these women faced opposition—indeed derision—and each was a deeply committed Christian. They saw their work for human dignity and freedom as action on behalf of God’s desire for right relationships among God’s people. Their example from the past continues to inspire us in our own day.
Here is the collect for today’s commemoration:
O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servants Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, and Harriet. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington