How did a petite redhead from the slums of Dundee become a role model for a hundred years? How did she come to wield influence in the land known to her compatriots as the white man's grave? Why are there statues of her holding twins in Nigeria' How did she develop her missionary fervor combined with down-to-earth common sense? How did she overcome difficult situations throughout her life in ways that set her apart from many Victorians? Her eccentricities are often cited: She climbed trees, marched barefoot and bareheaded through the forest, declined to filter her water, and shed her Victorian petticoats. On the other hand, because of her understanding of and rapport with the Africans among whom she lived, the British government appointed her their first woman magistrate anywhere in the world and later awarded her the highest honor then bestowed on a woman commoner. Mary Slessor - Everybody's Mother examines the era and influence of this extraordinary woman, who spent thirty-eight years serving as a Presbyterian missionary in Calabar. The work answers questions about the public Mary Slessor. It also looks at her private life. The author makes use of materials not found elsewhere, including Slessor's own writings and those of others of her era, reminiscences of her adopted Nigerian son, and assessments from contemporary sources. Slessor's audacity in remote areas of Nigeria contrasted with her timidity in public meetings in Scotland. She shunned the limelight and wondered why anyone would want to know about her. Her fame continues, especially in Nigeria and Scotland. She was certain God called her to serve in Calabar, the home she claimed as her own, where she became "eka kpukpru owo - everybody's mother."
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Jeanette Hardage develops independent writing projects. Her work has appeared in Christianity Today, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Journal of Medical Biography and other publications. She is currently working on another publication with his husband, Owen Hardage, At Sea with God.Review:
‘High marks go to the easy writing style which make this rich volume a really engrossing narrative throughout. The author’s approach is particularly welcome as it counters hagiographers’ tendencies to turn Slessor into a one-dimensional heroine. Instead, Jeanette Hardage helps us get to know a rather unknowable pioneer...’ (Jo Stanley Women’s History Magazine, Issue 70, Summer 2012)
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