The Board of Aldermen was honored to have a nationally known Civil Rights icon and St. Louis native, Sr. Mary Antona Ebo, lead us in prayer before our weekly Board of Aldermen meeting. Sr. Ebo , age 90, is still going strong and continues her work with various organizations concerned with social justice.
In 1965, Sr. Ebo was working at St. Mary’s Infirmary, then an African-American hospital in St. Louis, when news of the brutality in Selma, Alabama reached her. After the attack, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. issued a call for church leaders around the country to come to Selma. Sr. Mary Ebo answered that call. Along with laymen, Protestant ministers, rabbis, priests, and five white nuns, she would be part of a 50 member delegation from St. Louis, and the first black sister to march with Dr. King in Selma.
In 1967 she was appointed as the Executive Director of St. Clare Hospital in Wisconsin; this was the first time an African American woman was named the administrator of a Catholic Hospital in the United States. The following year, Sr. Ebo helped to found the National Black Sister’s Conference from whom she also received the Harriet Tubman Award “as Moses for her people”.
Sr. Mary Ebo encourages those looking to make a difference to remember the Old Testament and the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who, though in anguish over the sins of his people, cried that he would no longer remain silent.
We’d like to pause today to thank Sr. Mary Antona Ebo for her many contributions to civil rights, human rights, and her commitment to making our world a better place to live.