"Press steadily for human equality, not only for yourselves, but for all those groups who are not given equality."Today is Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker's birthday. In her lifetime, she came to be known as Sai Zhenzhu (賽珍珠, or Sài Zhēnzhū), as author John Sedges, and as prolific and renowned author and speaker Pearl S. Buck. I don't know how many of her works you've read. Her most famous, of course, is The Good Earth, a good place to start if you're interested in a Pulitzer-prize winning novel of people who are likely very, very different from you and from me, and yet they are people at heart just like you and me. One of my own affinities with Pearl S. Buck is that she is a missionary kid who grew up bilingual and bicultural. "I am mentally bifocal," she once said about herself. My Several Worlds and A Bridge For Passing are her telling titles for her two autobiographies. The ways she saw and lived in her several worlds and constructed a bridge for passing across into your world and mine are very helpful ways of seeing and of being, I believe. She wasn't just a speaker, a writer, a thinker, but she was also a doer, a changer, a transformer. Here's a bit more of what others are remembering of her, especially today.
"History ... has always been taught as the work of man. When woman appears in it she is either a queen, of little practical use, or a rebel smashing up furniture or praying in saloons. The truth has never been told about women in history: that everywhere man has gone woman has gone too, and what he has done she has done also. Women are ignorant of their own past and ignorant of their own importance in that past. In curiosity a few months ago I asked a haphazard score of women of my acquaintance if they had heard of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Only one had even heard her name, and she had no recollection of more. Yet only a generation ago Elizabeth Cady Stanton was called the greatest woman in the United States, and by some the greatest in the world. If women are as ignorant as this of themselves they can scarcely expect men to know more. But if the aim of education is to be enlightening of men and women about each other, of course history must be taught truthfully about both, and truthfully rewritten."