Born Free - The Journey

"How Shall We Make the Women of Our Race Stronger?" August 1981 was freshman week for me at Tuskegee Institute. Tuskegee housed me in Olivia Davidson one-hundred years after Olivia A. Davidson co-founded Tuskegee Institute. It is pretty humbling to consider myself as one Mrs. Davidson advocated for, "hope of the race."

There is so much the world should know about Olivia A. Davidson. She was born on June 11, 1854. Olivia A. Davidson, an educated free woman and native of West Virginia was co-founder of Tuskegee Institute.

Interesting to me, Olivia A. Davidson was a free woman because her mother, Eliza, was born free due to partus sequitur ventrem - child acquires the mother's status. A Roman civil law practiced as the slavery law in the United States.

The family moved to a free state Ohio, and after the death of her father, Eliza Davidson moved to the northern region of Ohio. After the death of Eliza, Olivia Davidson moved with her sister, the seamstress, where they eventually settled in Columbus, Ohio.

As a graduate, Olivia A. Davidson spoke in the commencement as a speaker. Having graduated from a historically Black college, Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, at age sixteen, Olivia A. Davidson was a teacher.

The post-graduate speaker was none other than Frederick Douglas. Frederick Douglas requested the accomplished Olivia A. Davidson to help him start Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University. At Tuskegee Institute, Olivia A. Davidson was a teacher, developed curriculums, and even builder, taking hands to clay. I attended both.

I love to hear women who inspire me say, "I am not a speaker." Olivia Davidson's speech systematically addressed what women needed to instill into younger generations to offer Black children hope. Health, spiritually woven, to incorporate "How Shall We Make the Women of Our Race Stronger?" include:

"The disregard of family relations, of personal rights, of the property of others, and hundreds of other outrages upon human rights."

I, as Olivia Davidson, by no means think my strong point is an orator, but the premise is to stand up and make a conscientious contribution to society. Mine started as the Lipstick Movement.

The Lipstick Movement is a platform for women to be heard and be lawfully validated. Many years later, after sleeping in a safe place for women to learn, I focus on health, following my upbringing, education, and now own experiences. As Olivia Davidson, I focus on the betterment of women as well. Forty years later, I'm in search of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Johnson, O. A. (2019, September 30). How Shall We Make The Women of Our Race Stronger? Retrieved March 25, 2021, from

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