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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Charlotte's Sarah Stevenson included in women elders anthology
Longtime activist's life story part of new book
Published Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:39 pm
by Herbert L. White

Longtime community activist Sarah Stevenson is included in an anthology highlighting the accomplishments of African American women elders.

Sarah Stevenson’s impact on Charlotte is highlighted in a new book about women as pillars in their communities.

Stephana Colbert’s “Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders” is a collection of narratives celebrating 10 black women over age 70 who have overcome sexism, racism and other adversity to lead extraordinary lives. The book was released nationally in March and an Aug. 26 book launch will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 3001 Beatties Ford Road. The program starts at 1:30 p.m.

Stevenson, 92, a native of Heath Springs, South Carolina, has been a force in Charlotte’s social, education and political circles since the 1950s. She was the first African American elected president of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s desegregated PTA Council in 1970, the first black woman elected to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board (1980) and co-founder of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum, which brings political and community concerns together for weekly conversations.

“I want to say letest thou servant depart in peace,” Stevenson joked at a gala celebrating her 90th birthday in 2015, “but I’ve got to say Lord, I know there’s some more stuff you want me to do, and I want to do it.”

Said AME Zion Bishop George Battle, a former school board member: “Sarah Stevenson is a jewel in this community. “I am so glad we gave her flowers while she can still smell them.”

Stevenson is still active with the Tuesday forums as well as lobbying for new investment in Historic West End. Johnson C. Smith University President Ronald Carter, whose school anchors the area, credited Stevenson with leading revitalization efforts through development of infrastructure and commerce in the neighborhood.

“Sarah Stevenson is the personal commitment and conscience of this city,” Carter said. “She continues to argue, demand, frustrate, upset anyone who believes that the Northwest Corridor does not deserve sustainable assets. She will challenge those who are intellectually dishonest, who will speak eloquently but do very little when it comes time to demonstrate their commitment to the Northwest Corridor.”

The anthology specifically responds to the invisibility of African American women and their contributions to their families, their communities and the world, in conversation, literature, politics, and the media, by offering a glimpse into the lives of elders.

“Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders” is part of a series of anthologies written by Colbert. The next edition, which highlights black women ages 45-69, is scheduled for release in fall 2018.


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