One morning in 1994, as Mother's Day approached, I had the interesting experience of awakening with words flashing across my mind. These words would impel me to begin to write this story of my mother's life and times and would appear as the opening sentence of the story.
The idea of writing about her was not new. It was stimulated to some extent as far back as April, 1970, when The Liberian Official Gazette, vol. xlix, no. 4, was released at the time of her death. Through this document, interest in her as a biographical subject would develop, especially among scholars-an interest that would remain alive for the next decades.
My own thinking about her in this light emerged as I increasingly reflected on the Liberian society following the 1980 coup d' état in Liberia. Hailing as she did from indigenous roots in our society, I could not help feeling that a focus on her world would be valuable in itself, and would also contribute to understanding the social history of our country, on which little had been written and to appreciating the Liberian reality. Her positive approach to life stood out in my mind in sharp contrast to the negative images we were getting of people of indigenous background who had been catapulted to leadership positions in our country by the coup.
What made for a positive self-concept and positive contributions to society, I wondered-religious beliefs, family background, home training, education, societal linkages, a combination of two or more of these? But, the times were troublous and I found myself too consumed with the challenges of leadership at the University of Liberia to turn reflections into biographical writing.
The decade of violence and unrest that ensued resulted in the destruction of much valuable archival material, family papers and family memorabilia and my desire for such writing faded. Meanwhile, there was a transformation in my life situation as I became primary caregiver for my husband, G. Flamma Sherman, diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in August, 1990. Despite these major handicaps, the continuing interest of a long-time friend of mine and fellow educator, Adelaide M. Cromwell, Director Emerita of the African American Studies Center of Boston University, made her broach the subject. The history of Liberia she felt needed to be personalized and I did have my memory. I realized too that there were family members, friends and others whose memories I could tap. However, it took that divine inspiration to spur me to action....