A WOMAN NAMED ELLEN

The West African Nation of Liberia, founded and settled as a homeland for freed African-American and Caribbean slaves, is the oldest democratic republic on the African continent, and the second oldest Black republic, followed Haiti.

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Sweet Liberia performed and shared by David G. Music

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A Woman Named Ellen 
by Kendall F. Person

By most accounts, she is an ordinary woman, who created an extraordinary life. An in-depth article in The New York Times magazine, details how Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s drive and determination began at a very early age. So determined to win a fistfight over a plum, a nine-year-old Ellen would ask her grandmother to make a potion – a fighting medicine – that would be cut directly into her skin, giving her the best chance to win.

She would need that grit, that inner power for the rest of her life, as her long road in coming of age would lead her into a fight on the international stage. At age 17, she would change course and follow her man. He led her away from her home country of Liberia to Wisconsin, the dairy-land of America’s 50 states. Her desires and ambitions, however, could not be muted, so as her husband pursued his masters degree at the University of Wisconsin, she would enroll at a local college and take on a part-time job, believing she was contributing to her family. Her husband, a weak minded man, would charge into her place of employment, grab the mop out of her arms and demand she return home. And that would only be the beginning.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

They would eventually return home, as Ellen felt the call to lead her people. And as her career in government would take off, her husband would be devoured by alcohol, jealousy and rage. She would become the minister of finance, and in an unbelievable show of disrespect for women and his nation, her husband would stalk into her office and slap her in the face. But Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s resilience could not be denied. And as her husband slowly sank into oblivion, her star would quickly rise. She became the candidate of the people, determined to lead her nation out of poverty and give them a democratic country free of corruption from its head of state.

In a final, desperate attempt to bring his wife under his control, he would pull a gun on the people’s candidate for President of Liberia, and threatened to blow her to kingdom come – if she did not pull out of the race. She thought about her people and all their hard work. She thought about the struggle of every Liberian boy and girl; and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf would stand her ground. With the help of her son, who sprayed poison in his face, the coward would back down. And days later, Ellen would become the first woman in history, to be elected as leader of an African nation.


On September 14,
meet Nadine, Flower, Lisa, IvySoul Marie and Shirley.
The Challenges of A Woman.

Challenges of A Woman

5 comments

  1. Hello Kendell,

    Great slices of life. I like the stories that you are sharing and how people rise above the bad circumstances life throws at them. That is, I hope, by God’s grace they overcome.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a huge story of courage and triumph! I would refer you to the story of an old newspaper friend of mine. Her name is Anita K. Dennis. She married an African chief and lived with him in Africa for a time before they settled permanently in Michigan/Florida, USA. He was a professor, and the story of their successful mixed race and ethnic marriage is as spell-binding as your unsuccessful one.

    No. 3 = “Beyond Myself”, by Anita K. Dennis; 2014; WestBow Press

    No. 2 = “Slaves To Racism An Unbroken Chain From America to Liberia”, by Benjamin G. Dennis and Anita K. Dennis; 2008; Algora Publishing

    No. 1 = “The Gbandes A People of the Liberian Hinterlands”, by Benjamin G. Dennis, University of Michigan Flint; 1972; Nelson-Hall Company, Chicago

    Also see my blog: “Short Stories and Story Art” = article: “A Story Behind A Book Cover Picture” – February 14, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing this story!

    Liked by 1 person

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