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Luella May

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9/17/2007 12:31:53 PM

John Elliott and Luella May Welcome You to the Forty-Fifth Edition of

Women of Courage

 Each week we will honor a woman that has truly made a difference by her contributions, courage, love, and selflessness. Women honored will be chosen from inside AdlandPro, outside AdlandPro, living in the present, and yes, we will not forget those heroines that paved the way for the freedoms we now enjoy.   We will honor women who have shown tremendous courage and fortitude against all odds.

Assisting us in coordinating these awards are four outstanding ladies who are Women of Courage in their own right.

Branka Babic will be leaving AdlandPro for a while.  To you dear friend I merely say so long.  Please return quickly.  AdlandPro will be at loss without your love and wisdom.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.  You will be sorely missed.



Carla Cash

Pauline Raina 

Geketa Holman

Terry Gorley


Our Sweethearts of Courage

Shirley Caron

Michael Caron

And AdlandPro's Very Own Man of Courage

Georgios Paraskevopoulos



Lillian Smith

Lillian Eugenia Smith was born on December 12, 1897 in the America before women's suffrage to a prominent family in Jasper, Florida, the eighth of ten children. Her life as the daughter of a middle class civic and business leader took an abrupt turn in 1915 when her father lost his turpentine mills. The family was not without resources however, and decided to relocate to their summer residence in the mountains of Clayton, Georgia, where her father had previously purchased property and operated the Laurel Falls Camp for Girls.

Now a young adult financially on her own, she was free to pursue her love of music and teaching for the next five years. She spent a year studying at Piedmont College in Demorest (1915–1916). She also had two stints at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1917 and 1919. She returned home and helped her parents manage a hotel and taught in two mountain schools before accepting a position to be director of music at a Methodist school for girls in Huzhou, (now Wuxing, Zhejiang), China. While she was not a churchgoer and did not consider herself religious, it follows that her youthful Christian principals were challenged by the oppression and injustice she would witness there, and that this laid the foundation of her later awareness as a social critic.

Her time in China was limited however by problems back home. Her father's health was declining and she was forced to return home to the States in 1925. Back in Georgia, she assumed the role of heading the Laurel Falls Camp, a position she would hold for the next twenty three years (1925–1948). Laurel Falls Camp soon became very popular as innovative educational institution known for its instruction in the arts, music, drama, and modern psychology. Her father died in 1930, and she was left with responsibility for the family business and the care of her ill mother. It was this period of creative control over the camp, her ability to use it as a place to discuss modern social issues, combined with the pressures of caring for her ailing parents that made her turn to writing as an emotional escape.

Lillian Smith soon formed a lifelong relationship with one of the camp's school counselors, Paula Snelling, of Pinehurst, Georgia, and the two began publishing a small, quarterly literary magazine, Pseudopodia, in 1936. The magazine encouraged writers, black or white, to offer honest assessments of modern southern life, to challenge for social and economic reform, and it criticized those who ignored the Old South's poverty and injustices. It quickly gained regional fame as a forum for liberal thought, undergoing two name changes to reflect its expanding scope. In 1937 it became the North Georgia Review, and in 1942 finally settling with South Today.

She finally ended the magazine in 1945 to focus full time on writing. Her first published novel, Strange Fruit (1944) was an instant success. Set in the pre-World War I South of her youth, it portrays the violent social aftermath of an inter-racial relationship. At its peak Strange Fruit was selling twenty five thousand to thirty thousand copies a week. It became the year's number one fiction best-seller, with one million copies sold after being banned by bookstores in Detroit and Boston. It eventually sold three million copies over her lifetime and was even made into a Broadway play.

In 1949, she kept up her personal assault on racism with Killers of the Dream, a collection of essays that attempted to identify, challenge and dismantle the Old South's racist traditions, customs and beliefs, warning that segregation corrupted the soul. She also emphasized the negative implications on the minds of women and children. Written in a confessional and autobiographical style that was highly critical of southern moderates, it met with something of a cruel silence from book critics and the literary community.

In 1955, the civil rights movement grabbed the entire nation's attention with the Montgomery bus boycott. By this time she had been meeting or corresponding with many southern blacks and liberal whites for years and was well aware of blacks concerns. In response to Brown v. Board of Education, the ruling that outlawed segregation in schools, she wrote Now Is the Time (1955), calling for compliance with the new court decision. She called the new ruling "every child's Magna Charta."

She corresponded with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was a fervent supporter of him up until her death. Her lifelong views are clearly expressed in a 1956 letter to him which she closed saying, “My warmest greetings to you and to your congregation and to your people who are my people, too; for we are all one big human family. I pray that we shall soon in the South begin to act like one.” In the same year, she was honored by the women who organized the Montgomery bus boycott on its one year anniversary. Two years later in 1958, Dr. King asked her to write a review of his Stride Toward Freedom.

Smith battled breast cancer from the early-1950s on and died on September 28, 1966, at the age of 68. Her book The Journey (1954) details some of this battle.

Today Strange Fruit remains her most famous work, translated into fifteen languages, but many of her works, like Killers of the Dream, are being rediscovered and given their due as groundbreaking in both style and substance. She no doubt deserves recognition as one of the first prominent Southern whites to write about and speak out openly against racism and segregation. Her lifelong convictions are summed up in her acceptance speech for the Charles S. Johnson Award at Fisk University in 1966: “Segregation is evil; there is no pattern of life which can dehumanize men as can the way of segregation.”

Other works

One Hour (1959), an attack on McCarthyism disguised as a novel

Memory of a Large Christmas (1962)

Our Faces, Our Words (1964), an ode to the non-violent resistance of the civil rights movement

Source:  Wikipedia


Judy Smith

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9/17/2007 1:37:47 PM

Thank you, Luella and Joh for bringing the story of Liilian Smith to us.  Wow, Lillian was indeed a woman of action before its time!!  I very much enjoyed the story.


La Nell !

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9/17/2007 2:35:28 PM
Hi Luella,John & Teammates, Lillian Smith was a very courageous woman and special lady. Thank you for again bringing a great feature to the community. LaNell :-)                                                                
Helen Gibbs

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9/17/2007 2:54:13 PM
Hi Luella n John ,
Thanks For this wonderful story of Liilian Smith she was a very special lady! Will worth reading, thanks.
We are never too old to learn, So learn something new every day!Blessing to (Friends n our Animal)Helen Skype: helengibbscircle65
Amanda Martin-Shaver

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9/17/2007 4:08:24 PM
Hello Luella and Team,

Thank you for presenting another very interesting
biography of a woman of courage.

I thoroughly enjoy all the presentations and this forum would be one of my favourites.  I learn such a lot about
other women around the world that would not normally
come into my notice.

Thank you for all you do behind the scenes.

Kind regards


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