It's How You Handle It: Life's Journey Guest: Eloise Murphy Purdie & Oglivia Purdie Gibson

35 minutes

“At the age of 90, I am birthing my book baby, ‘It's How You Handle It: Life’s Journey.’ While nurturing the contents of my biography, I walked right into a global Covid-19 pandemic. Many people were rudely awakened to find that diseases inside their bodies made them more vulnerable to contracting the virus. Even worst, it was revealed that African Americans were disproportionately more affected due to centuries of systemic inequities. The disregard for our needs caused many unfavorable health conditions called comorbidities, which integrated with the coronavirus and killed people fast and in large numbers. I was at risk because I had almost every pre-condition. My family history could reveal the patterns that led to this moment, but no in-depth stories had/have been written in the history books that I taught from. Now I know why my mother kept telling me stories of my family history, why I kept telling my children these stories, and why I must share with you,” shared Eloise Purdie passionately.

Eloise is faced with life’s ultimatum; reveal her history and the lessons it holds or risk it being lost to the world forever. In her story, “It’s How You Handle It: Life’s Journey,”Eloise tries her best to live to the fullest expression of herself, like her role model, Oprah Winfrey. Oprah said that she used her media career to say how people, "...experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome." This book is notably a narrative of perseverance through savage odds. It details the ironic story of Eloise; a history teacher that lived through some of the darkest moments in history but was never able to contribute her life story to the curriculum.

This work started as a simple labor of love but ended up a brilliant blueprint on how to elevate oneself in spite of any circumstance. The candid details she is able to recall decades later are remarkable and it is a unique blessing that God has granted her to keep these stories in such pristine condition. The story of Eloise pays homage to her family and is likely the story of many African Americans during the early 1900s; as they did what they could to recover from an enormous interruption to their rich history and prestige. Following slavery, many African Americans could have sunk under the weight of all that was stripped from them, as well as, the lack of resources, health, wealth, and education. Those, like Eloise, who were able to overcome the unpalatable atrocities of that time, have important stories of determination, foresight, and strength that are important to share.

At our best, we are all teachers. A true teacher at heart, Eloise's story brings the past to life better than any textbook ever could. The truth matters.
-Cornelia Gibson


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