19 March 2013

Jeannette King: A Mother's Courage

The Ms. Foundation for Women is celebrating Women’s History Month with a blog carnival featuring the voices and profiles of women across the country. This Month of Action is generously supported by our friends in Seattle.

By Jeannette King

My name is Jeannette King, and I am completing a Master’s in Elementary Education at Goddard College. But I am not the person who got me where I am today. That person is my mother.

Jacqueline Scott King Dawkins is an extraordinary woman whom I am proud to call my mother. She did not walk in rallies for women’s rights; she was too busy being a wife and a mother to three children. My mother gave up her chances to finish her bachelor’s degree many times because she could not find affordable child care for her small children. When she and my father divorced and he stepped out of the picture, she became mother, father and cheerleader to her children. She took jobs in the Catholic and private school systems to cover the cost of our tuitions when money was tight, and she became a permanent fixture in the principal’s office when I was being bullied in the classrooms.

It was not until my mother turned 59 years old that she was able to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She will graduate this spring with her master’s at 66 years old. I cannot begin to thank her for sacrificing her education to be sure that my sister, brother and I had ours. My sister is working on her second master’s and I am in the middle of my first. We are where we are today because of my mother and her tireless work to keep us educated, well-fed and with a roof over our heads, even in times of trouble. She had no support system. It was just us against the world for as long as I can remember. But we all made it.

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