Page:Women of distinction.djvu/171

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It was by perseverance and faithfulness to duty that Miss Mary V. Cook raised herself to a point of distinction and honor which may serve as an example to others who find the road rough and uninviting.

Miss Cook, like her mother, is of a lovable disposition, always kind and true.

The city of her nativity is Bowling Green, Ky., and, like many other cities of the South, was not especially inspiring to the colored youth, for whom there was no nourishment upon which to subsist. There was everything to discourage and humiliate a child of such tender feelings who had already used every advantage the town gave for improvement. Being ambitious, she entered many contests and in every case came out victor. In the winter of 1881 she was made assistant teacher in the school presided over by Rev. C. C. Stumm, then pastor of State Street Baptist Church. Though the pay was meagre she worked as diligently as if getting a larger salary. She often had occasion to shed tears because of the hard work and the unexpected demands made upon her already very small income, and upon one occasion she said, "The sun will yet shine in at my door." How, she knew not, for her parents were unable to send her off to school, but she felt that the way would be opened. At last the dawning of better advantages appeared. Rev. Allen Allensworth, seeing in her the elements of true womanhood, used his influence in getting for her a scholarship in the State University, Louisville, Ky., of which Rev. William J. Simmons, D. D. , was president. October 15, 1881, a letter from Dr.