I grew up in a Baptist Church. I enjoy watching the women wear the most amazing hats on Sunday Morning. My mother Louise Dillard worked with many of the organization in the church. She went home to be with the Lord in 2008. She wore the most colorful amazing hats on Sunday. However her hats where nothing compared to the hats worn by the Mother of the Church who sat in the front row.
They were a group of strong praying women that you knew talked to Jesus at least one time every hour. On Easter morning… it was on! I saw so many hats that is distracted from my ability to digest the sermon! lol! I honestly was paying much attention any way. I was just try to get my ‘legion’ in for the week!
The Mother of the Church were a honorable praying women. They carried with them a sense of integrity and strength. Some of them walked with canes that carried the weight of 400 years of praying through generations. Some of them walked slow with God in time. Each step pounded truth in the earth. I admired the hats and the beauty of seeing elders of women that truly trusted God. I attended the National Black Women Congress in 2005, which is where I encounter Rosa Parks. The women that attended that event wore similar hats and walked with godly reverence. They were the “Mothers of our Civil Rights and Freedom”. Many of them have passed on since then. I still recall the feeling that day of so see so many great black women of old strolling through the conventions with determination for those who would come behind them.
Over the years with my art I have tried to capture the same feeling I had as a youth in church seeing the Mothers of the Church. It will takes years of creating art to perfect the true dignity that they held. The church has changed over the ears in the black community. The Mothers of the Church are there, but kept in more silence the every before. It is in small pocket of black churches, they still hold true to the need for godly wisdom through women of olds to be present and active at all time. I miss seeing the women who were landmarks for my faith. I hold them dear in my heart.
For many years to come I will keep attempting to capture the beauty, strength, and depth of spirituality that the Mothers of the Church personified. I have many hats I will have to paint! And I an eager to express what they historically mean to me! Hats on!…. To the beautiful Mothers of the Church!
(All Art by Janie McGee)