WHO CAN FIND A VIRTUOUS WOMAN?
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above
rubies. (Proverbs 31:10). That was the proverb I reflected
upon in preparation for todays salute to the SOPHISTICATED
WOMEN OF ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, women, whose price
is far above rubies. Your lives are personified in the
words, "Sugar and spice and everything nice".
Because, to me, you evidence the strength of women like
Sojourner Truth (1795 1883), because you, too, are pilgrims
of God whose mission is to liberate our people. To me,
you evidence the quintessence of women like Queen Nzinga
(1582-1663), for you too accept your role as astute diplomatic
and political servants whose generosity of the spirit
motivates and inspires others to do the best than can
with The tools they have.
To me, you demonstrate the tenacity of women like Harriet
Tubman because of your lion-hearted spirit drives you
to practice what you profess. You do not pretend to be
what you do not intend to be. You are my "sheroes".
You are the scintillating, splendid, shining brilliance
of people like:
1 Marjorie Hill
2 Lucy D. Slowe
3 Lillie Burke
4 Ethel Hedgeman Lyle
5Anna E. Brown
6 Marie Woolfolk Taylor
7 Beulah E. Burke
8 Margaret Flagg Holmes
9 Lavinia Norman
You are the enticing elegance and exquisite charm of
some of the most revered women in our history. You evidence
the brilliance and judgement of a:
1 Norma Boyd
2 Ethel Jones Mowbray
3 Alice P. Murray
4 Sarah M. Nutter
5 Joanna B. Shields
6 Carrie E. Snowden and a
7 Harriett J. Terry
You have the resolution and patience of a:
1 Norma Boyd
2 Julia E. Brooks
3 Ethel Jones Mowbray
4 Nellie M. Quander
5 Nellie Pratt Russell and a
6 Minnie B. Smith
Your courage, your strength and your knowledge. Your
mastery, your wisdom and your energy are nothing less
than sugar and spice an everything nice.
When I think of the AKA'S I draw spiritual lessons from
your service. Let me pass along a story from the Bible
that illustrates what I mean. The story of Esther details,
in my mind, the sacrifices of people like yourselves.
You know the story.
Esther, was an orphan that became a queen. Esther was
a Jewish girl whose parents were both dead. Esther lived
and was raised by her cousin Mordecai.
Through Mordecai, Esther learned to love, to trust and
to obey a mighty God.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Esther's people, like many of the people AKA represents
* Marked down
* Knocked down
* Backed down
* Put down
* Cracked down, and
* Held down
Without Esther's help not only would her people be down,
they would be out. Esther was faced with a choice, to
save her own life or save the lives of her people. She
knew the law. To speak to the King meant instant peril
to her own personal safety. And not to speak to the King
meant instant death to her people. In today's vernacular
Esther was in a double bind; caught between a rock and
a hard place.
In the 4th chapter and the 16th verse of the book named
after her, we find her coming to grips with her destiny.
Devotion to her people was far greater than the duty to
herself. So it is with AKA'S who are devoted to our people.
ALL of our people. You serve because of your love, not
because of any law. To continue the legacy of your FOUNDERS
THREE THINGS MUST OCCUR:
I. First you must continue being: ABOLITIONISTS
Being an ABOLITIONISTS is the precondition for self-determination.
Our destiny is largely in our own hands. Our Bible tells
us to seek and we shall find. Knock and the door shall
be opened to us. If we are to make good in this race called
life, we must do so through organized, unified strategies.
Whatever our strategies they must emancipate ourselves
and our people from the media's powerful practice of perpetuating
negative, violent images that encourage irresponsible
thoughts, behavior and activities. It appears to me that
the majority media delights in portraying African Americans
as pimps, pushers and prostitutes, using inflammatory
words to portray negative propaganda with such intensity
that subconsciously African American people are embracing
and acting out these destructive stereotypes.
What that says to me is this, when we fail to be ABOLITIONISTS
our people, we continue to allow their fertile minds to
be inculcated with violent thoughts, guided by violent
sights, trained by violent sounds, instructed by violent
words, directed by violent things, schooled in violent
places, and therefore, too many of our people continue
to be violent outlaws, who live violent, dehumanizing
II. Secondly, you must continue imparting KNOWLEDGE
Occasionally, your heartfelt fervor may decline and your
devotion may subside, but despite an occasional misstep
you must continue keeping the lamp of KNOWLEDGE burning.
Forgetful AKA'S, need to open their
Lazy AKA'S, need to pep up.
Sleepy AKA'S, need to wake up.
Angry AKA'S, need to make up.
Stingy AKA'S, need to give it up, and
Gossiping AKA'S, need to shut up.
No matter which way the winds of controversy blow, remember
success will not come from holding a good hand, but from
playing a poor hand well. There is a higher power that
will help you to make a way out of no way.
When you impart KNOWLEDGE, you may not be what you wish
to be, you may not be what you're going to be, but by
the Grace of God, you will not be what you used to be!
III. Finally, you must continue being an: ACTUALIZER
To be a ACTUALIZER is to provide a synthesis between
being an ABOLITIONISTS and Imparting KNOWLEDGE. Without
that balance, one could embark on something called "divine
Divine Insanity" is the confusion in doing something,
and not knowing if it right or wrong. Confusion like the
young sister I saw outside of the church pulling and empty
dog chain. I asked her "What was the matter?"
and she answered I don't know, I am so confused I don't
know if I found this chain or lost my dog!"
Implicit in imparting KNOWLEDGE is that you are not confused.
You are doing what you are doing according to a standard
not according to a birth right. Who you are, and not who
your father and mother is or was, is what's important.
Knowing yourself, liking yourself and being yourself is
the cornerstone of being imparting KNOWLEDGE.
Just like the words to the song says, "Your mother
may have, your father may have, but God bless the child
that has got his own". AKA'S I've stopped by to invite
you to continue your ABOLITIONIST activities, continue
imparting KNOWLEDGE, and continue ACTUALIZING. Continue
pledging your good name, your fortune and your life for
the uplifting of our people.
One of the life qualities I admire most about the AKA's
I know, is how they vigorously resists tyranny and champion
The AKA's I know confront seemingly unsurmountable odds,
such as illiteracy, drug use and drug abuse, single parent
households, child abuse, inadequate health care, gang-related
violence, low self-esteem, aids, unemployment and under
The AKA's I know are constructive and positive individuals
who are ready, willing, and able to lift their people
Criticism to Compliment.
Self-pity to Self-reliance.
Resentment to Contentment.
Hate to Love.
Fear to Faith.
We can never relive today, therefore, it behooves us
to give a good account of ourselves, every moment of this
day. We need not be overwhelmed. They realize that a journey
of a thousand miles begins with one step. I've stopped
by to invite you to keep making that one step at a time:
Children are precious, teach one.
Parents are needed, reach one.
Educators are people of distinction, salute one.
Goals can be achieved, have one.
Philosophies inspire, create one.
Cultural partnerships promote diversity, join
Obstacles are surmountable, move one.
Prejudices prevent growth, conquer one.
Coalitions are necessary, build one.
Positive role models, are crucial, be one.
I'm only one, But I am one
I can't do everything, But I can do something,
And by the Grace of God, What I can do, I will do
By now you may have gleaned that Abolitionist, Knowledge
and Actualizing conforms to your call letters "AKA".
AKA, to me represents is a sorority of high regard, a
sorority of self-sacrifice, a sorority that evidences
the true measuer of a person's giving.
Let me put may remarks in a frame using a story I once
heard about a "Lily".
One day, the story goes, a beautiful "Lily"
was observed growing in the middle of a garbage dump.
The question was asked the Lily, "How can yiou grow
with such beauty in the middle of such salacious and satology
The Lily replied, "Because my roots, strive, thrive
and are alive below the mess,
My head rises above the mess,
My slender stem grows and glows through the mess,
So even though I am in the mess, I am not a part of the
I've stopped by to thank you for not being a part of
APATHY, ABHORRENCE, or ABOMINATION. You are "Sugar
and Spice and every thing nice.
You are women who are admired, acclaimed and adored by
individuals, families and nations--not only here in AMERICA
but around the world as well.
Ancient records show that your ancestors served as queens,
goddesses, scholars, diplomats, scientists, icons, prophetess
and freedom fighting women-warriors exalted sometimes
above their fathers, their husbands and their brothers.
You share those attributes, and that is why I can say
without equivocation you are "Sugar and Spice and
You have been blessed with the blood of women who have
administered great and mighty nations, led determined
and capable armies into battle and founded splendid and
enduring royal dynasties.
Indeed, no other human of any racial or ethnic type has
been so widely venerated as has the African woman.
Thank you for inviting me to share these small tributes
of historical recognition, for I am honored to salute
the prominence, grandeur and majesty of members of your
AKA Sorority. You are "Sugar and Spice and everything
My prayer is that you hold on as your ancestors and founders
held on and say with determination:
"I don't feel no ways tired,/
I've come to far from where I started from/
Nobody told me that the road would be easy/
But I've come too far for God to leave me!"
So go forward AKA'S and remember ESTHER, she too was
"Sugar and Spice and everything nice".