The four women of Haywood are celebrated in new book

Former board member of GCSRW Cynthia Bond Hopson has written a book celebrating her women mentors and role models from her hometown in Tennessee.

The Women of Haywood, Their Lives, Our Legacy is about four professional African American women in Haywood County and is the seventh book by Hopson, a Haywood County native.

Assistant general secretary of the Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Hopson includes in her book interviews with Susie Ella Taylor Ashworth, Nola Walker Bond, Mayme Dell Rives Bowles Dotson and Eva James Davis Rawls.

Almost 20 years in the making and recently released in Brownsville, Tenn., The Women of Haywood is now available at

“These women used their lives and talents to make us and the world better,” Hopson says. “This book simply tries to chronicle how and what made them great. I think their stories will tickle and bless your heart. It is so important to hear and celebrate their voices.”

M. Garlinda Burton, GCSRW general secretary, says, “The stories in The Women of Haywood are those we seldom see translated into movies and documentaries, and rarely celebrated by news media. These are the stories of women, for whom pride in racial identity, good citizenship and the calling by God and family to leave the world better than they found it were marching orders for their daily living.

“From the grammar school teacher Dotson, to nurse Ralls, to activist/ entrepreneur Bond, these women used their power, resources, selfrespect and faith to infuse financial and spiritual wealth in their respective communities. They served as role models for young women and men in their lives, embraced the communities’ children as their own, and showed the world that women from relatively modest means were and continue to be the legs upon which America stands.

“Particularly for the African-American community, The Women of Haywood is a reminder that those institutions and values that we most cherish have been built and sustained largely by unsung women who donated dollars, sold box lunches, taught in modest schoolhouses, fed and nurtured people in mom-and-pop restaurants and storefronts, and prayed new roofs onto sanctuaries.

“The lesson from The Women of Haywood is that strong will, mother wit, self-respect, community spirit and an unshakeable faith in God combine as an irresistible force for positive change and forward movement for a family, a neighborhood, a people or the whole planet.”

Cynthia Bond Hopson