Clara Belle Drisdale was born in Plum, Texas in 1885. Although the Civil War ended twenty years prior to her birth, life was still difficult for black citizens. Segregation laws were in place across the country, including in schools and colleges. Despite many obstacles placed in front of her, Clara had a deep love of learning. In 1903, she attended Prairie View Normal and Independent College (now Prairie View A&M University) in Prairie View, Texas, and graduated as valedictorian of her 1908 class with a certificate in teaching.
Read more about her at: Heroes, Heroines, and History: Clara Belle Williams — First Black Student to Graduate from NMSU
Clara had a lot holding her back. The child of sharecroppers (dirt poor), a female before woman’s rights, and a black before the civil rights movement. Yet she accomplished a lot! Why was she able to accomplish so much? My guess is that she did not see herself as a victim. She was a human being responsible for her own destiny. She did not let her troubles stop her.
Today blacks and women have so much more than she had, yet they are being told that they are victims and will never be able to accomplish their dreams because they are being held back. I say that is crazy! If she as a black woman living in a day when slavery was still a first-hand memory for many could accomplish so much, you can too. Don’t let those who want you to believe that you are a victim hold you back. Be all that you can be!