Usually during this time of year our focus is on deceased African Americans, who are considered to be historic figures, due to their achievements and contributions to the advancement of the black community, as well as the nation as a whole. In the past, we have cited and commemorated nationally renowned people and locally based individuals.
During this Black History Month, we are going to shift our focus and concentrate on a few individuals who are still living and who have played a significant role in the preservation and progression of our local culture and community. Such people often go unnoticed, underappreciated, and unhonored. Although we cannot begin to cite all of the people, who are perhaps due of recognition, we have selected four who will be emblematic of this category of unsung heroes and heroines.
A Living Legend: Reverend Mother Louise Graham Moultrie
Reverend Louise Graham Moultrie was born August 11, 1918 in Marlboro County. She later moved to Dillon County where she met and married the late Deacon Perry Moultrie. To this union, three daughters were born. From these three daughters, she was blessed with fourteen grandchildren.
Reverend Louise Moultrie is a member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Latta, South Carolina. She was instrumental in organizing the Missionary Society where she served as a spiritual advisor. She was also a member of the senior choir, Pastor’s Aide, Baptist Training Union (BTU) (where she served as president), and Sunday School teacher of the Intermediate Class.
Reverend Moultrie was active in the community until her health failed. Her community involvement consisted of membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Dora Tent No. 36 of the United Order of Tents, Level Green of the Eastern Stars, and the Ministerial Alliance. She was also instrumental in organizing the City Wide Union in Latta.
Reverend Moultrie was and still is a pillar in her community. Her walk with the Lord has been obvious in her everyday life. In her testimony, she states, “I’ve lived in Latta all my life and my life speaks for me.” Every opportunity she had to preach the gospel, she took advantage of it. She has preached and is known all over the states of North and South Carolina.
Reverend Moultrie was an active and strong supporter of the Berea Association. She was the first ordained woman minster in the Berea Association. She broke the barrier for other women ministers to follow. She served as President of the Berea Missionary Association for more than 30 years. She is known as the Mother of the Berea Association.
Today, at almost 95 years young, she is a resident of the Pines Nursing Home. Before moving, she had organized the Thursday Noon Day Prayer Meeting, which has followed her to the nursing home. She is still preaching, teaching, witnessing, and advising. Her motto is, “May the works I’ve done, speak for me.”
The previous biographical sketch was presented to me by Sharon Grisset, one of the granddaughters of Reverend Louise Graham Moultrie. As informative and inspiring as this information is, it does not contain nor convey the entire saga of the life and legacy of Reverend Moultrie. Time would fail me to tell of the people she inspired and impacted, including myself and countless others. People who were reproved, rebuked, and exhorted to live the faith and to love the Lord through obedience and not lip service. Yes, time would fail to tell of the many revivals she conducted and sermons she preached that brought many to Christ and many to repentance and restoration. If the truth is told, there are many women in our locale who owe a debt of gratitude to Mother Moultrie for paving the way for them to stand in their ministerial position. Although she was not the first or the only one of her trailblazing and pioneering kind, she was and is one of the most influential, inspiring, and enduring. For had there not been a Reverend Louise Graham Moultrie, it is very doubtful to believe if there would have evolved the likes of Pastor Martha Bridges, Dr. Pastor Louise Goings, Pastor Sandra Evans, Pastor Joyce Goings, Dr. Pastor Hazel Wilson, Evangelist Hazel Moultrie, and several other female clericals who are making a profound impact in our locale and beyond. True to her motto, the works that this living legend has done is truly speaking for her. It is a loud voice that continues to reverberate the excellency and majesty of the Eternal One who saved, endowed, and empowered her to bring such glory to His name. For Reverend Louise Graham Moultrie, it has and forever will be about Him. Her story is marked by many trials and triumphs that attest to her faith and devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many of the things she has experienced parallel incidents in the lives of biblical characters with which we are so familiar.
At this time, I would like to share just one of these remarkable occurrences. Bishop Michael Blue (Sr. Pastor of Door of Hope Christian Church, Marion, S.C.) shared the following story with me from the life of Mother Moultrie that she shared with him.
When she first started her ministry many years ago, she had a problem with her monthly menstrual cycle that would not cease. She sought the Lord about this issue and prayed, “Lord, I can not preach or go before man unclean. If you want me to preach, then you must do something about this problem.” From that moment forward, she never had a menstrual cycle.
So many others and I have indeed been privileged and blessed of God to have been impacted and inspired by the life and ministry of this modern day Ruth who at 95 years of age continues to fight a good fight. She is a true living legend and enduring servant of God who He has chosen to use until the end of her days. It is truly fitting that we commenced this series with Reverend Mother Louise Graham Moultrie.
Her life is a living testimony to a laborer who has worked untiringly in the vineyard, who refuses to give up or give in, but to serve her Maser so long as there is breath in her body. In conclusion, I pray that I will be able to imitate her loyalty and longevity in the service of God and man. Well doing, well doing, thou good and faith servant…