Bertha Smith Brown raised four fine sons, including a set of twins (one of whom was my grandfather), but the legacy she left to me was the lesson she imparted to her granddaughters. To them she said (often enough that her words are well known in the family still), “It takes a good man to be better than no man at all.” Perhaps because of her words having been passed down through the decades, her female descendants have chosen men to be their partners, not providers or protectors. So, in this week of celebrating women’s equality and remembering our foremothers who fought for American women to have the right to vote (as well as those who have continued to fight to make sure every woman can exercise that vote), I celebrate an ancestor who left behind a family full of strong women, women who know their minds and aren’t afraid to use them.
I have incorporated Gunna Brown’s words into a modified Contrary Wife block. (No doubt many of these good men we’ve chosen as partners have found us to be very contrary wives on occasion.) I’ve stitched that block onto an everyday item common to that traditionally-female sphere – the kitchen – where it can serve as a daily reminder that women are capable of and have the right to independent lives.