Sarah’s Diary Episode Twenty-Two

Jenny was excited about today’s class. She was going to share with them information on Harriett. She was interested to see how they would react to her story because this was a story that the students could most relate to. Before she shared Harriett’s story in Sarah’s diary, she gave them some insight from Hiram’s memoir.

“You will recall earlier I told you about Mary being in Charleston where she won the state debate championship. The whole family was there in Charleston, but Harriett wasn’t at the debate. What Hiram and Mable didn’t know at the time was that Harriett had snuck off and went to see the Governor.”

“She had no appointment, but the Governor was intrigued enough to meet with her. Thirty-minutes later, Harriett had convinced the Governor to visit the community. Since this was an election year, Harriett was able to make a compelling argument. Few politicians ever came to visit them.”

“When the Governor showed up, he was surprised that the audience was made up entirely of women and children – not a male voter in the room. Harriett was the emcee. When the Governor started his talk, Harriett stopped him and asked him if he would be willing to just answer questions. Then she said, ‘Just to let you know we represent the votes of every man in this community. Our husbands, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, boyfriends, and basically ever male that lives in this area have said they will take the lead from us on how they vote for Governor’. The Governor put away his notes.”

“I can tell you are shocked and maybe amused by Harriett’s boldness, and so was the Governor as Sarah’s notes indicate in her diary from June 8, 1889. Let me read to you, her comments.”

“The Governor seemed amused by Harriett but went along with her. The meeting turned very serious. When Elizabeth rose to speak, she asked why she could not be accepted by our state university. The Governor was moved by her question and promised to contact the President of the University to ask him to open the admissions to women.”

“Another woman challenged the Governor on why she couldn’t be a teacher in the school when no man was found who wanted the job. All of the girls knew the problems because we had vacant classes where we had to teach ourselves. Again, the Governor promised action.”

“The Governor was very tolerant of us, and we were polite in asking him questions. I learned today that there are times when you have to ask why and why not.”

“I found this one of the most interesting entries in Sarah’s diary. It was longer than normal, so I think Sarah was truly moved by the experience. Now how would you judge Harriett’s innovator potential?”

Jenny got the scores and put them on the board.

Question 1:  Do you seek out new information regularly just for fun and then share this information with others? Score 4.3

Question 2:  Do you seek out new information when you are anxious about not knowing something you feel you should/must know? Score 4.5

Question 3:  Do you try to understand how other people are thinking by observing them or asking them questions? Score 4.9

Question 4:  Are you willing to take risks to gain new experiences? Score 5.0

Question 5:  Are you comfortable with moving out of your comfort zone in order to gain new insights or knowledge? Score 4.9

“WOW!! Those are really high scores. I hope my words didn’t unduly influence you. Innovators are bold. Harriett’s boldness was outward focused. Other innovators are bolder with their ideas but not as bold with going public with them. I’m glad how you’re seeing these contrasts in one family.”

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“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (poet, novelist, scientist, statesman, director, and critic)

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