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In 1637 Anne Hutchinson spoke in her own voice declaring that she had received a revelation directly from God. This action led to her excommunication from the Massachesetts Bay Colony because the ordained clergy saw themselves as designated meditators of God's word to laypeople. But Anne became her own person and a model of womanhood for us over four and one-half centuries later. Sister Blandina Segale found her own voice when she stopped a lynch mob and kept the Billy the Kid gang from scalping doctors in Colorado in the 1870s. At the turn of the century, Ida B Wells-Barnett claimed her own voice to expose the evil of lynching propagated against her African American brothers by white persons. Her forthrightness led to the burning of her office and to threats against her life, but she never allowed her voice to be silenced. Sally Priesand gained her voice to preach and officiate at Jewish religious services when she became the first woman rabbi ordained in the Reform Movement of Judaism in 1972. Pilulaw Khus, Native American elder of the Chumash tribe, found oil companies to prevent them from desecrating Chumash ceremonial areas in California in the 1980s. These are only a few of the stories told by women in their own voices in this book. Gender and multiculturalism intersect in every chapter as we share accounts of women trying to gain their full and equal stature as persons before God and their sisters and brothers. In Our Own Voices becomes a metaphor of women's efforts to speak and act as persons with authority in their own right.
Drawing from primary source documents such as diaries, letters, speeches, sermons, essays, and books from seventeenth-century colonial settlements in North America to today, this volume recovers the contributions of women to American religion. With its breadth and richness of sources it will be of interest and use to feminists, church historians, and students.
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