Sunday, March 20, 2022

Carved in Ebony by Jasmine L Holmes

I am realizing more and more that the American history and church history I was taught over half a century ago was pretty much from a white male perspective. I now know there were many women who had essential roles in the formation and subsequent perseverance of the United States and in furthering the Kingdom of God.

Even more startling for me now is the realization of the role Black women have had in kingdom work over the centuries. As Holmes writes, this book is part biography, part memoir, part the informative result of research. (22) Her goal is to give readers like me a taste of the lives of ten women, help me see how they impacted her, and be encouraged to look deeper into their lives, seeing God's handiwork and proclaiming His goodness. (22)

I read about the contributions of Black women like Elizabeth Freeman, the first Black woman to sue for freedom in Massachusetts in 1781. There was Sara Stanley, an outspoken teacher and missionary to freed Blacks. Francis Harper was the first Black woman in America to have a short story published, also writing poetry, novels, and speeches. Amanda Smith and Maria Fearing, born in slavery yet called to and doing mission work overseas. And those are just a few of the inspiring women found in this book.

Holmes does not shy away from being realistic about the U.S. in light of the experiences of Blacks in the past. Christians who want to believe the U.S. has always been a wonderful Christian nation may be offended by some of her comments. (110) Holmes is one of many recent voices calling Christians to recognize the horrors of slavery and to have a more truthful view of the past.

This is an inspiring book for all women, containing the stories of those who rose above obstacles like slavery to educate, to minister and further the gospel. The women written about here are examples to follow, encouragement to women no matter the level of one's education or economic situation. These women had an impact on Holmes and they'll have an impact on you too.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jasmine L Holmes is the author of Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope. She is also a contributing author for Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Our Identity in Christ and His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God. She and her husband are parenting three young sons in Jackson, Mississippi.

Bethany House, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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