So… ever heard of Georgia Gilmore? Me either! Ms. Georgia died in 1990 and many people don’t even know what this FANTASTICAL woman did for other women and African Americans. So, I’m gonna tell you…
Ms. Georgia is the perfect example of someone who used what she knew how to do best (in this case, cooking… which I have ZERO knowledge of and skills in… so I’m in awe of her already…) for the greater good. Soooo many people have sooooo many excuses for why they can’t get involved with movements or causes or politics (local or national). For example, haven’t you heard people say things like “I’m just a waiter; I can’t help out in political campaigns”, or “I’m not smart enough to get involved in the Debate team”, or “You need legal skills to be helpful in movements and I’m not a lawyer!” These excuses are just LAZY, LAZY copouts people! Ms. Georgia didn't have excuses; she wasn’t a lawyer, she didn’t have a college education, and she lived in a time when women were not even allowed to use birth control for goodness sake (that’s another blog).
Remember Ms. Rosa Parks? Before Ms Rosa was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, Ms. Georgia stepped onto a bus, deposited her money, and was then forced to get off the bus and enter through the back door. She protested, but in the end, she stepped off the bus and walked toward the back door… however, before she could step onto the bus through the back door, the bus driver drove off, leaving Ms. Georgia standing on the sidewalk. Ms. Georgia was incensed. I am incensed. Can you imagine this happening to your Mom or Grandma?
But, often, good things come from bad things, especially when people like Ms. Georgia are involved. Ms. Georgia vowed never to ride the local buses again. Ms. Rosa was arrested. A movement sparked… Five thousand people showed up at the Holt Street Baptist Church to discuss the injustices. They agreed to boycott the buses. Their rationale was sound; the maids and cooks were the primary people riding the buses; without them, the bus companies started losing money! This is the moment Ms. Georgia had a “light-bulb” moment (as Oprah would say). She decided to use her culinary talents to feed and fund the movement.
The movement endured for 381 days… 381 days!!! Ms. Georgia organized the “Club from Nowhere”, a clandestine group of women that cooked yummy meals (we all know how yummy good, Southern cooking is, right?!), then sold them out of their homes, to local restaurants, and even at the movement meetings! Ms. Georgia and her crew also baked sweet pies and cakes, people! Dessert! They raised a ton of moolah for the movement. The money raised by the “Club from Nowhere”, along with a carpooling system consisting of 300 cars and trucks, supported the many people involved in the boycott. And the boycott worked. How about that!?
Ms. Georgia did so many other FANTASTICAL things in her life… she testified on behalf of Martin Luther King; her employer fired her from her job for doing so. She started a kitchen restaurant in her home and had white and black people eating together. She hit a store clerk with his own firearm because he wouldn’t sell her grandson a loaf of bread (ummm… I don’t endorse this practice, but I soooo applaud Ms. Georgia’s swagger!).
Ms. Georgia was BOLD, COURAGEOUS, and had a VOICE that she used LOUDLY, and OFTEN. These are all things we want in our daughters… and ourselves… Say a BIG thank you to Ms. Georgia for fighting for ALL women’s rights… and a say a BIG thank you to all the other Ms. Georgia’s in the world who still fight for women’s rights every single day.
Keep walking toward your magic… and be a girl like you.