Remembering Connie: A Black History Tribute

Constance Mark founded three very noteworthy organizations during her time on Earth. Her brain was always stirring, thinking of ways she could help or minister. She would always tell me (at some time or another) how God had given her the talents of writing, singing, and organization; He was the only person for which she would use them.The first organization her creativity and organization yielded was SBBC, Sisters for a Better Black Community.

The organization consisted of very young girls through the age of seventeen. The core of the organization was to help build the young girls up by giving them a sense of who they were and where they come from. Being black had not always been easy for my mother when growing up. Slavery and oppression are no secret and even though blacks were freed, there still remained the mentality of being bound. Sure, we could argue, fuss and fight and think of ways to get back at those who oppressed us. Or, as my mother thought, we could create ways to better ourselves as a people. She desired to build young black girls from the inside out and to instill self-worth in them. There was no better way to build and instill than through God who was their creator anyway. He was the foundation of the organization. It was more than possible to have a better black community but the girls were taught that we had to be better individually before we could be better collectively. The only way to be better was through God. 

There were countless events that were sponsored by the organization. The girls were involved in pageants, talent shows, and were to be involved in their churches. They went on trips and had loads of fun. Together they prayed, asking God to give them direction and guidance for their lives. A lot of those girls were impacted through the vision God had given my mother. Even today, the organization is still talked about. After years of building young black girls, my mother looked up and saw a problem…more like a solution. Who was going to help the young men?

There was an organization called Christian Brothers for a Change that catered to the young men. It too was a noteworthy organization headed up by the local deacons of churches. I guess my mother didn’t want to limit her gifts to just girls. She wanted to do something with the boys too. After all, she had three boys of her own.

During my high school years, she founded another organization called SBU, Sisters and Brothers United. Girls lived in a world with boys. Neither was isolated from the other. What better way to get them working and learning together than grouping them together in a club? The members would meet once a week, discussing their roles as young boys and girls in the community and most of all in God. Again, He was the foundation. She reached that teenage crowd through her sense of humor and fun ways and made it enjoyable to be a child of God. SBU sponsored many community related events. My mother let them head up every thing. She just told them what was expected and sat back, allowing them to be young leaders.

That organization is still talked about today. I was a proud member of both of those organizations and am glad they were around when I was growing up. We looked forward to doing whatever it was we had to do because it was fun. It instilled something in us that made us feel important. We learned that anything was possible through God and a lot of us acted that way. God’s love came alive to us through service. After years of uniting young sisters and brothers, my mother looked up and saw a problem…more like a solution. Adults needed inspiring too. 

I was still in high school when she founded CSC, Christians Strengthening Christians. It became the heart of the community. Sometimes you don’t know you need something until a solution has been presented. To children, grown folks seem to have it all together. Grown folks may have it more together than children but by no means do they have it all together just because they are grown. Being a Christian does not exempt us from hardships, trial, and tribulations. In fact, the enemy comes at us that much stronger. The devil is our adversary. An adversary deliberately opposes or attacks. There is no way the enemy will leave us alone because we get saved. Our adversary goes around looking for trouble (1 Peter 5:8). 

The slogan of Christians Strengthening Christians was “where there is unity, there is strength”. My mother’s vision was to keep Christians sober and vigilant. We are not to stand around waiting on the devil to come, trying to devour us. We should be on the offensive, tearing his kingdom down. We will not be able to do that if we are tired, discouraged, and scared. CSC was designed to equip the Saints for spiritual warfare. When one got tired or felt they could not go on, then another stepped up, standing in agreement for strength. After a while, there were a whole slew of Christians strengthening other Christians, giving no place to devil.

She was applauded in the community for her efforts. She was humble and gave all the glory to God. She was just glad she was able to be used of God in any way.