Today would have been my grandmother’s 81st birthday. Yesterday morning, my great aunt passed away. Both were incredible women. They were both known for their willingness to work hard and their insistence on doing the right thing.
Aunt Sarah lived most of her life in Centerville, Iowa (a town with a population of perhaps 5,000). Everyone in Centerville knew Sarah, and knew what she had done for the town: she went up against HUD to ensure that Centerville had low-income housing. Sarah knew that there were families in Centerville that needed help, and she made sure that they received.
My grandmother went to the same lengths. In the 70s, she headed up the Serials Department at the library of Duke University. She made waves when she not only hired African-American women to work in her department but also insisted on paying them a wage equal to that of other employees in the department.
These women inspired me, made me willing to work for what I want. I miss them, but I will always be grateful for the inspiration they brought into my life.