Maud Fuller: Woman of Influence
By LORETTA FULTON
March is Women’s History Month, and women have been making history in religious circles perhaps longer than any other area. Some of those outstanding women will be highlighted in Spirit of Abilene during March.
Special thanks goes to Tiffany Fink, a Hardin-Simmons University history professor who is a highlight herself, for making some suggestions. This first entry on Maud A.B. Fuller is one of those. Fuller was born in 1868 and died in 1972 at age 103. Pasted below are entries about Fuller from Women in Texas History and from the Handbook of Texas online.
A statement from the Women in Texas History entry gives a brief summary of Fuller’s contributions and why she highlighted in Women’s History Month.
“Maud Fuller was an outstanding example of the black women who made the church a strong source of pride, unity and support within Texas black communities. Born in Lockhart, she taught school in Seguin and Austin. A member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Fuller achieved national prominence as a speaker, youth organizer and mission supporter. She served as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention for 40 years.”
WOMEN IN TEXAS HISTORY
Maud Fuller was an outstanding example of the black women who made the church a strong source of pride, unity and support within Texas black communities. Born in Lockhart, she taught school in Seguin and Austin. A member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Fuller achieved national prominence as a speaker, youth organizer and mission supporter. She served as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention for 40 years. She founded the first national organizations for black Baptist youth and wrote handbooks for youth groups, church societies, and home and foreign missionary societies. Fuller raised vast sums for missions and went to Liberia in 1945 to secure land for a mission. She set up a home for the aged, published a national newspaper for women, and became a spokeswoman for the black community to many government agencies.
HANDBOOK OF TEXAS ONLINE
FULLER, MAUD ANNA BERRY (1868–1972). Maud Fuller, black Baptist lay leader, was born in Lockhart, Texas, to Hugh and Anna Berry on October 7, 1868. She attended Guadalupe College and Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson College) and taught in several public schools in Seguin and other Texas cities for twenty-five years. As a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church at Austin, she was active in many organizations of the National Baptist Convention of America. For forty years she was president of the Women’s Auxiliary of that church convention. Previously she was the corresponding secretary. During her tenure as president she founded and edited a national newspaper, the Woman’s Helper. Around 1922 Mrs. Fuller helped organize national organizations for black Baptist youth. She introduced a resolution in the convention founding the Girls Auxiliary and the Shepherd Boys’ League. She was an officer in various National Baptist Convention organizations and wrote several handbooks for youth groups, church societies, and home and foreign missionary societies. She achieved national prominence as a speaker and youth organizer.
In 1944 Mrs. Fuller spearheaded a successful campaign to raise a large amount of money to build a mission in Africa. Over the years she went to Africa several times, and at one point she negotiated to secure a land grant in Liberia in order to set up this mission. In addition to the work of the mission she and her husband helped educate more than twenty-five young men and women from countries ranging from Panama to Liberia.
In Austin she often spoke before the city council on issues of concern to Austin’s black community. She also visited jail inmates and interceded for the aged to raise their pensions. She belonged to several clubs and service organizations and served on the board of a nursing home supported by the King’s Daughters. She built a prayer room at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin that was later named in her honor. She received many honors throughout her career, including a doctor of humanities degree awarded her by the Union Baptist Theological Seminary in Houston.
Maud A. B. Smith married William Handy Fuller in 1914. The Fullers purchased the N. W. Rhambo Funeral Parlor in 1932 and later built a funeral home. Their name is associated with a funeral business and an insurance business in Austin. Maud Fuller died at the age of 103 on January 26, 1972, in Lockhart and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Austin.
Thank you for the focus on Women’s History Month. Women’s contributions were long ignored and even resented by some.
Loretta, your work and vision means so much to our community and to the professions and journalism and history, sisters to the end.