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5 Women of History Honored at Greater Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church

Top left: Dr. Rhella Murdaugh, Gertie Laws, LaShandra Tucker-Able Top right : Mamie Raines (center), Bottom left, LaTisha Cooper (center), Bottom right: Amicitia Maloon- Gibson (center)

Women’s History Month was celebrated March 1st – March 31st 2019 and The E.M. Williams Women’s Missionary Society of Greater Allen Chapel AME Church honored five women at it’s Women of Distinction Luncheon. The event was held in the Charles W. Jackson Annex, 2416 South Lipscomb St., Melbourne.
Mrs. Gracie Utendahl-Newell and Committee demonstrated how powerful women are as they combined the past with the present to give God the glory. Evangelist Stanley McEachern prayed a powerful praise filled and encouraging prayer and Sister Linda Bell welcomed everyone and the celebration began with Dr. Amicitia Maloon-Gibson serving as Facilitator. She presented the following persons to bring Brief highlights from the past:
Ms. Ixoria Obara read a brief sketch about Ms. Ruby Neil Bridges Hall a Civil Rights Activist. She was the first African-American youth to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School during the New Orleans desegregation crisis in 1960.
Highlights about Ms. Althea Gibson were given by Ms. LaTisha Cooper; Ms. Gibson was the first great African American player in Women’s tennis. She was the first Black athlete to cross the color line of International tennis. She won the women’s singles and doubles at Wimbledon in 1957 and many other distinguished titles during her career.
Dr. Lee Fowlkes briefly portrayed Congresswoman Shirley Anita Hill Chisholm. This Congresswoman, a democrat, was the first African American woman elected to Congress to represent New York’s 12th District. She served seven terms. Chisholm was the first female major-party candidate to run for President in the 1972 presidential election, she won 162 delegates.
Ms. Barbara Charline Jordan’s excerpts were given by Ms. Louvanona Simpson. Ms. Jordan, was a lawyer, educator, politician and a major leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was a democrat and the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. Ms. Jordan was the first woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention and she is the first African woman buried in the Texas State Cemetery.
Ms. Katura White highlighted historical moments about Ms. Dorothy Irene Height: Ms. Height was a Civil Rights and Women’s Rights activist focusing on the issues of African American Women, including unemployment, illiteracy and voter awareness. She was the President of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Educator Mary McLeod Bethune’s excerpts were given by Mrs. Linda Taylor: Mary McLeod Bethune was also a stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and Civil Rights Activist. She was the daughter of former slaves. She graduated from Scotia Seminary in Concord, N.C in 1893 and from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1985. Upon moving to Florida’s East Coast in 1904 she opened the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. In 1923 this school merged with the Cookman Institute for men which was located in Jacksonville and the two schools later became Bethune-Cookman College.
Praise Dancers from Mt. Moriah A.M.E. Church, Cocoa set the stage to make the transition from the past historical women in history to the present. The honorees for this occasion were, Rev. Joyce J. Moore, Rev. Dr. Rhella Murdaugh, Lt. Col. LaTisha Cooper, Lt. Col. Amicitia Maloon Gibson, Ret. U.S. Army, and Mrs. Mamie “Betty” Raines.
Presiding Elder Joyce J. Moore is married to her high school sweetheart Mr. Donald Moore. P.E. Moore was honored as a pacesetter in ministry. She was appointed the first female pastor at Bethel A.M.E.C. Newberry, Florida (1997-1998); Bethel A.M.E.C. Deland, Florida (2002-2005); Greater Allen Chapel A.M.E.C. Melbourne (2007-2014); and the first Female Presiding Elder of the St. Petersburg District where she presides over 16 churches (2014-to present). She has served as the first Female Chair of the Ministerial Institute Board of Examiners of the Central Annual Conference AMEC (2008-2014). She is currently a member of the St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section of the National Council of Negro Women.
Rev. Dr. Rhella Murdaugh is currently the Pastor of Mt. Zion A.M.E.C., Ocala, Florida. She accepted her call to preach in January 2002 at Greater Allen Chapel AMEC, Melbourne and was Ordained an Itinerant Elder Sept. 14, 2007. She is the first ordained female in the history of Greater Allen. She earned her Doctoral Degree in Evangelism, Mission, and Church Growth at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Dr. Murdaugh is a member of the AMEC Central Conference Board of Examiners, Director of the Daytona Beach District Department of Evangelism and Assistant Coordinator for the Central Conference Women in Ministry. She gives leadership in Sororities, and other civic groups. She is the mother of two daughters, Crystal Murdaugh-Tilley and Deidra Murdaugh-Brooks and is the grandmother of three granddaughters, Little Rhella and twins Summer Faith and Winter Joy.
Lt. Col. LaTisha R. Cooper was commissioned 1n 1999 upon graduating from Clemson University. Her career began as a space and missile operator at the 7th Space Warning Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California. She transitioned to the Acquisition Corps as an Engineer and Booster Flight Commander in the 1st Space Launch Squadron at Cape Canaveral. She is directly responsible for the Delta 2 vehicle engineering and flight anomaly resolution. Lt. Col. Cooper has been selected for many operational and educational operations, as well as staff and development researches. She has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Award Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and a medal on Global War on Terrorism. She is married to husband Cory and they have six children, Michaela Bristow, Corlissa Cooper, Trey Bristow, Cory Cooper, Jr., Courtney Cooper and Coby Cooper.
Dr. Amicitia Maloon-Gibson, (Lt. Co. Retired U.S. Army) Dr. Gibson is the founder and President of the Maloon-Gibson and Associates (MGAA). She is an executive consultant, speaker, author, certified mediator and life coach. She is known nationally as “the Empowerment Doc” who shares effective strategies for leadership and empowerment. She speaks to diverse audiences and is an active member of the National Speakers Association where she serves on local and corporate boards. She has written several books and co-authored 11 books with the Professional Women’s Network. Her most recent bestseller is “Growing and Empowering Future Leaders Now!” She holds several degrees including a Ph.D. in Human Resources Development, Mental Health and Social Psychology. As a philanthropist she is passionate about giving back to the community especially in the area of youth education and feeding the homeless and supporting disabled veterans. She is a very active and devoted member of Mt. Moriah AMEC, Cocoa.
Mrs. Mamie “Betty” Raines has not sought to hold titles but to hold the hands of young ladies and other students to lift them to higher standards of living. Upon graduating from Morgan State College, Mrs. Raines worked in Marianna, Florida and did a short tour at Edward Waters College. Shortly thereafter she came to Melbourne where she found a group of young ladies just coming off a cement basketball court. She stepped in and worked untiringly to teach them the basics of basketball, a 2-3 box and one, or scuffle. In the process she taught them patience, discipline, mannerism, adaptability, teamwork, communication, risk taking but most of all how to learn and use life skills on or off the basketball court. Mrs. Raines is more than a mentor, she was like a mother to many and helped them follow their destiny with success. As a member of Greater Allen Chapel AMEC, she used her skills and dedication to promote youth unity and personal growth. She still continues to give productive guidance and support to the youth. She has never forgotten her Purpose and assignment from the Heavenly Father. Mrs. Mamie “Betty” Raines thank you for your continued dedication and guidance, you are a positive influence and still a role model at age 91.
E.M. Williams Missionary Society President LaShandra Tucker-Able expressed gratitude to Pastor Lorenzo and Advisor Gertie Laws for always permitting and supporting these Missionary events. Special thanks to Ms. Gracie U. Newell, and Committee and to the Culinary Ministry and all participants. President Tucker-Able said “this historical event has been a blessing to all.”






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