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In Their Own Words

April 08, 1851

Conflict Resolved

Gertrude Clanton’s diary does not say why she and her classmate Leab Goodall disliked each other so. Finally, their relationship turned around, with the two becoming close and longtime friends. The following passage from her diary indicates the turning point:

“Afterwards I went in to class meeting. A number of girls were out - more than I have seen this term. Leab Goodall came in. I felt all those feelings of hatred dislike and contempt which I have been in the habit of feeling when I see her come over me. They obtained complete mastery over me and I left the class room … .We had an exhortation from Mr. Evans. Oh how I love that man! And a very good meeting. I knelt as a mourner but could get no rest. At last with an effort and oh it was such an effort, I rose, walked to Leab Goodall and called her by name. She returned no answer. What a struggle it was to speak to her the second time. I did so however and said, ‘Leab will you consider me your friend and give me your hand?’ She did so pressing mine tight as she gave me hers. Oh how completely relieved I felt. It appeared as though a burden had rolled from off my soul. After prayer meeting I conversed with Leab for a short time. We promised a mutual explanation. I went to her room for the first time since she has been rooming there and she gave me a rose for myself and one for Joe … .”

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 85-86.