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Advance Praise for Woman Preach
In this recent book, Woman Preach, The Reverend Dr. Louis Blake Hathorn, sheds new light on the powerful role women played in the church, and in society. From Sojourner Truth to Susan B. Anthony, both 19th century preachers, women have been a source of strength, acting with the prophetic voices of social justice, to abolish slavery and bigotry and to treat women and all people with equality and the dignity they deserve.
Dr. Hathorn provides insight into the, often muted and misrepresented, leadership roles women played in the church, articulating the needs of the poor and the neglected. History shows, documented in Dr. Hathorn’s book, that it was the women of the church who called upon its leadership to answer the challenge of the Gospel in addressing those needs. Woman Preach deserves to be studied for its timeless truths.
◊ Reverend G. David Singleton, Minister, Social Justice Activist, Humanitarian. NOTE: Rev. Singleton wrote the foreword for Rev. Hathorn’s first book Social Justice and Christianity.
From the onset, one can tell Woman Preach is a labor of love left to the world by Rev. Dr. Louis B. Hathorn. His passion for his subject matter pours out on each page, and the depth of his research is impressive.
◊ Vanessa M. Cavett, Author
Overcoming Church Conflict: Confessions of a Church Girl, and Act like a Woman of God: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Men, Relationships and Godly Character
The late Rev. Dr. Louis Blake Hathorn converted his thesis into this important textbook discussing the evolution of women’s advancement from the church pews to the pulpit.
Historic pictures of religious and social justice icons such as Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison, Mary Wollstonecraft, Abigail Smith Adams, William D. Booth, Frederick Douglass, etc have been added to the text.
Bishop Willie J. Coleman, a friend of my famous uncle James Howard Meredith, referred Rev. Louis Blake Hathorn to our typing and editorial service in 2011. When Rev. Hathorn walked in our living room to discuss getting his thesis typed and edited, I had no idea we would one day convert it into a book, or that I was gaining a friend, or that this small-town preacher had so much knowledge to share with the world.
Five years ago, Woman Preach was Rev. Hathorn’s thesis, Women Struggling From the Pews to the Pulpit which he presented in seminary as partial credit toward his Masters degree in Theology. Turns out, this really is a small world because his wife, Claranett, and I have common ancestors by way of Attala County, Mississippi; the day after he graduated in 2012 she called me and said with pride, “Louis was salutatorian of his class.”
His school status confirmed that he had penned a great work. Rev. Hathorn continued his studies, and started working on his dissertation, a study of Christian social justice leaders. Historic pictures added new life to spiral bound academic documents on bond paper that usually occupy a school library shelf serving merely as a model paper to incoming students.
His dissertation was renamed Social Justice and Christianity; it was converted into a textbook. It was released in August of 2015. His book release party broke the Friends of the Lexington Public Library’s crowd record.
Rev. Hathorn was enthusiastic about completing Woman Preach. He told me on several occasions, “Everybody keeps asking about the book. I told them, it’s coming soon,” then he smiled. By the Summer of 2016, he had a proof copy in his hand and was looking for someone to write the Introduction. We planned to release the book by the end of the year. None of that happened; he became critically ill, and never recovered. At his funeral in Noxapater, Mississippi, my family, and I sat in folded chairs in the church entrance. Dozens of men lined the walls in front of the building because the church had reached full capacity. His popularly shed light on a life well lived.
After I suffered through my pain, I realized Rev. Hathorn will have that familiar, triumphant smile on his face when Woman Preach reaches the market. Our publishing company, Meredith Etc, acquired two significant historical works when we signed contracts to publish his master thesis and dissertation. I am honored to help bring his second book forth.
Like most southern Black Baptist preachers, for years, Rev. Hathorn told me he felt the pulpit was reserved for men. He said the idea that women can preach just stung him like a bee, like the swift passing of a wintery breeze. The book was named “Woman Preach” because God revealed to Rev. Hathorn that He gives women the power to preach the gospel to lost souls.
Frankly, in some ways, Woman Preach, reflects our imperfect society. One hundred and fifty years ago, women could not vote, and few could own property. Whole Indian tribes were displaced, African freedmen were second class citizens, immigrants were welcomed by the thousands, our country was governed by White males, and horses and horse drawn wagons were the usual mode of transportation. European immigrants gathered the loot from wars. The haves were few; yet, have nots were plentiful; immigrants in pursuit of happiness, desiring a slice of the spoils, united and challenged their young government. Limited equality standards emerged, but life continued and the country came into its own.
The right of citizens to peacefully assemble is a fundamental part of our government. However, a platform for women to speak their minds was hidden for centuries because the thought of a woman speaking behind a podium was socially intolerable. Scholarly literature portrayed women as weak, needy, and childlike beings. The brainwashing was so morbid; it could not be cut with a knife. Women had to knock down brick walls held together by men to walk through doors, but a determined few marched onward in search of equality.
As Hathorn noted, “In 1838, a public address by a woman in Philadelphia sparked a riot. When the rioters calmed down the meeting hall had been destroyed (36).”
Woman Preach is a very revealing, scholarly work. Four things struck me the most:
- The story of how Sojourner Truth, an illiterate former African woman, transferred herself from a runaway slave to an evangelist and social reformer,
- The childlike status of women in Colonial America,
- The fact that 19th century preachers were more powerful than the printing press, and
- The revelation that the 1848 Women’s Rights Conference was built upon a coalition of Quakers, abolitionists, preachers, and statesmen.
Before the Civil War, Republicans – the party of Abraham Lincoln – raised their voices against the inhumane system of chattel slavery. After the war, the party lifted their voices in favor of the social, economic, and political advancement of freedmen. Republicans, of years long gone, led a populous movement for moral issues which was strategically opposed by its southern economic benefactors.
Nearly 150 years after the Civil War, two women on the opposite ends of national politics broke the glass ceiling during the 2016 presidential campaign. Kellyanne Conway, became the first woman to manage a presidential campaign for the Republican Party. She was sworn in, January 21, 2017, as the Counselor to the President. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the first woman to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party, became the first female presidential candidate to win the popular vote: 65,844,954. She lost the election to Business Tycoon, Donald John Trump, who obtained 62,979,879 general votes, but won the electoral college – 306 v. her 232 votes. Only two other presidential candidates, both Republicans, previously won their presidential bids via the electoral college: Benjamin Harrison (1889-93); and George Walker Bush (2001-09).
Millions of voters view the Electoral College as a severe flaw in a democratic system. Saturday, January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of Pres. Donald Trump, one million women around the world led solidarity marches in opposition to the political ideology of Pres. Trump and the Republican party. Women publicly objected to Pres. Trump’s stance against abortion, his call to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.A., his promise to implement a Muslim ban, and his effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Women and their allies also opposed Pres. Trump’s racy cabinet picks, and the U.S. intelligence report that Russian computer hackers altered the 2016 presidential campaign.
Throughout history, men have violently protected cultural norms. Today, the U.S.A. is as polarized as it was in the 19th century when the Civil War was dawning. Abolitionists Lloyd William Garrison and Frederick Douglass supported the Women’s Rights Movement in 1848. Like Douglas and others, Congressman John Lewis stood with women, during the Women’s Marches, January 21, 2017. During “Bloody Sunday” John Lewis, a former 1961 Freedom Rider, and the former chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, marched for voting rights with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. John Lewis was severely beaten and other protestors were stomped by the hooves of horses, several died.
Freedoms have never been free. Surely, the laws are not always just. Women have come a long way; but, for many, the struggle for full inclusion in society continues.
By Meredith Coleman McGee,
Author, Publisher, Lecturer, Business Entrepreneur
I am delighted to read Dr. Louis Blake Hathorn’s book, Woman Preach, giving credence to women preachers. There have always been “women preachers” and they have filled a mighty place in history as evidenced here in this work. They were correct to lead whether or not they were approved, accredited or otherwise legitimized by the powers that existed in the community structure at the time and place they existed. God needed them, God called them, and God used them! And He is doing so today, in this place.
Women can preach…… pray…… administer…… heal…… counsel…… comfort…… lead worship…… serve…… write …… lead people to Jesus …… inspire…… love…… bring justice…… give hope and joy…… witness…… teach…… mediate…… or meditate. Whatever it is that God requires, a woman is able.
This book gives many beautiful examples of women and how they have served God, the church, and the people. Let this book serve as an inspiration to those who feel the call that their services are needed. The world has many wrongs to be righted. To deny the talents of over half its population is a grave injustice to all.
I felt the call early in my life to be a missionary. My favorite place to talk to God was sitting in a pine tree in the middle of a huge field with wind softly whistling through it. It was between God and me alone in the pine tree. Not those who devise organizational structures. Not those who aren’t accepting of a woman’s call to preach. Certainly, obstacles can get in the way. It’s not an easy way, but if a woman is called, it’s THE way.
There is a part of the marriage ceremony that states emphatically: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” I would paraphrase that to say, “Whomever God has called to Himself and to His service, let no man put asunder.”
Women Can Preach! Woman Preach!!
Kay Higginbotham, Contributing Author
Virtues from the Heart