Women of distinction/Chapter 72

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Situated among the "foot-hills" of the Cumberland Mountains is the quaint little town of Manchester, Ky., where, in a little log cabin, was born, on the 2d day of Jutie, 1868, the subject about whom we propose to write this sketch. Her parents, William and Amanda Gilbert, were farmers, and were, like many of their race in those days, poorly prepared to educate the little ones.

In Artishia Garcia was a growing inclination and love for books, and although too young to be enrolled as a pupil in the county school yet to be daily went with the school-teacher to and from school, where she remembered much that she heard, and soon could spell and read; hence from her association she was given the name of "little teacher" by the pupils. In this way she was soon able to help the pupils prepare their lessons. Her father, having no settled place of abode, moved from one mining district to another for six years. During this time this little girl learned all that she could from contact with the teachers wherever she went, and became so cautious that at four years of age she was often sent alone with a pocket-book two miles to purchase necessaries at store. In 1878 her parents moved to Louisville, Ky. Here this child entered the public schools, where she remained three years. In September, 1881, she became a Christian, and entered the State University, then known as the Normal and Theological Institute, under the presidency of Rev. William J. Simmons, D. D. After spending four years in the normal department she graduated May 13, 1885.

During this time she worked in and out of school, at odd times, wherever she could get work, to earn something to help her mother pay school bills. In the meantime she had united with the Green Street Baptist Church, of Louisville, Ky. Artishia has always been faithful to the Sunday-school, to which she owes much of her spiritual strength. She taught a class when so small she had to stand upon the benches to see all of her class.

The temptations to lucrative positions kept her from entering the college department for awhile, but finally she decided and did so. In 1889 she graduated as valedictorian from the University proper, with the degree of A. B. She then became editor of a magazine, Women and Children, which position she gave up to take a chair as teacher in State University, her Alma Mater, as instructor in English and Greek grammar, and also acted as secretary of the faculty. She has traveled and lectured throughout the State, under the Woman's Baptist Educational Convention, as State agent and otherwise; has served several years on the Board of Directors of the Colored Orphans' Home and as assistant matron of State University She has been upon the programmes of some of the largest meetings held in the South; is a good writer; is interested in both home and foreign missions. She is president of three large organizations in the State; has several times been a representative at the National Baptist meetings. She is now a member of the senior class in the Louisville National Medical College. She has saved her earnings and owns property. She advocates the right of woman to engage in any sphere of life. She has not forgotten her mother's help when in school. She is an example of piety and good works; a lover of her race; a coming power for a long neglected people as a leader and benefactor. She has recently received the degree of A. M. in course.