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Africana Archives: Excerpts:
I Met a Great Lady, by Vivian Owens

I Met A Great Lady

© 1998, by Vivian Owens. Eschar Publishing

What do you say when your big sister thinks you have a problem? Ivy Ingram is not quite sure, since she adores her big sister Margie. It is 1952 and 14 year-old Ivy feels out of place in her large family. Then, unexpectedly, she receives special recognition from the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and Margie takes her under-wing in a warm, sisterly friendship. Through a gift from the NCNW, Ivy wins the privilege of meeting one of the most important women of the day, Mary McLeod Bethune.



Old Mrs. Gilbert coughed and the group eyed her admiringly as she crept slowly to stand beside me. Her fragile, bony arm slid round my waist and pulled me close. She smelled fragrant, like lilacs in bloom.

“My sisters of the Council of Negro Women, do you see what I see?” She paused to glance round at their curious faces. “Does Ivy not remind you of our famous leader, Mrs. Bethune? Not just that beautiful chocolate skin but also that nice melodious voice. A voice that makes poetry sound like song.”

Meet A Character:


When Margie entered a room, you knew it. Her beauty made you think of queens and movie stars, but her stern commands required you to pay attention. Neighbors and friends liked Margie for her energy and good will.

And as much as Ivy Ingram loved her big sister, Margie, she couldn't help but feel inadequate standing next to her. No one could compare to Margie, so smart and accomplished.

If funds needed to be raised for a family burned out of their home, Margie baked pies and sold them. If her brothers' pants needed patching, Margie hauled out the Singer sewing machine. When Ivy won the opportunity to meet Mary McLeod Bethune, Margie drove Ivy to Bethune Cookman College in Daytona.

Margie was a college junior and bound to become a great lady herself—one day.

ISBN# 0-9623839-5-3 (soft cover)
Author, Vivian Owens
Young Fiction, Ages 8 and up

Please Note: This excerpt appears by special permission of the author and publisher and may not be presented elsewhere without permission of the copyright holders.

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Buy I Met a Great Lady from Eschar Publications

About Eschar Publications

Eschar Publications publishes quality books with timeless appeal. Their books inspire, motivate and entertain. They believe that children and their parents are important and they offer our books as a help source in nurturing the academic needs of all children. To develop a fondness for reading, children need to believe they could be the characters they meet in books. For this reason, they introduced literary books focused on African American culture.

About the Author:

Vivian Owens wrote the book, NADANDA THE WORDMAKER, and it won a Writer’s Digest Best Book Award. She is the author of nine books.

With a writing career that overlapped her career as an educator, Vivian Owens received numerous awards or recognitions. Her newspaper articles have appeared in over 200 newspapers across the country, and her magazine articles have appeared in such publications as Upscale Magazine, About…Time Magazine, The Virginia Science Journal, and The Gifted Press Newsletter.

Best known for her “Parenting For Education” articles and workshops, Vivian Owens is the mother of three academically gifted children. In her work, she shares strategies of teaching and learning that have worked from her own personal experiences as a parent and as a classroom teacher who has obtained high performance results. At the heart of all her work is a determination to motivate children toward higher goals. For that reason she also creates youth literature that shines new cultural light into the whole realm of Children’s Literature.
Copyright 2004 The University of South Florida and The Africana Heritage Project. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. For more information, contact the Africana Heritage Project via e-mail.