Mount Vernon Women’s Month Honors Outstanding Women of Color
By: Sherri Gragg
Dr. Ruth Simmons
May is Women’s Month at Mount Vernon UMC, a time to highlight the achievements of African American women in both the church and community. The highlight of this year’s events will take place on the third Sunday of May as Dr. Ruth Simmons speaks during morning worship.
As a young woman, Simmons, the daughter of sharecroppers and the youngest of 12 children, launched her stellar career in academia when she received a scholarship to Dillard University. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in French, she received both her masters and doctorate from Harvard. Her career achievements since that time have been extraordinary. Not only was she the first African American president of Smith College, she was also the first African American president of an Ivy League university when she became the 18th president of Brown University. While at Brown, Simmons made the university a “blind-need” institution, guaranteeing that all deserving students are guaranteed admission, regardless of their ability to pay tuition.
She has served on the faculties of both Princeton, and Spellman, and is currently the first female president of Prairie View A&M.
“Through her intentional empowerment of the next generation, Dr. Simmons embodies the spirit of Mount Vernon,” said the Rev. Kenneth Green, pastor of Mount Vernon UMC. “She was very poor growing up. It is wonderful for our young people to see someone who came from the 5th Ward with her level of determination and achievement. She put her mind to it, and she changed the world.” As part of the special service on May 20th, Simmons will speak on “Biblical Promises for Women.”
A History of Inspiration
According to Green, Mount Vernon has held a strong focus on education and achievement throughout its 152-year history. Green believes this effort is far more than a social enterprise, it is the work of the Kingdom. The church hopes to continue to serve as catalyst to inspire and empower the next generation of African American leaders by honoring those who have gone before them. “Dr. Simmons is an example of what you can do with God’s help, elbow grease, and determination,” Green said.
Special events during Women’s Month at Mount Vernon are as follows:
May 6th- Parade of Salads 12:00 PM
May 19th- Prayer Brunch 11:00 AM
May 20th- Annual Women's Day Celebration 11:00 AM
Learn more about this event.