Prior Story     The Hero Project
Saint of the Common Weal: Sophie Bell Wright
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by Sophie E
Sophie was born into a very poor family on June 5, 1866 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a hard time for a lot of families, because the Civil War had affected so many lives. The land was barren, and there was still fear for the country. There was fear that the country, like a young child, would break into another tantrum. When Sophie was three, she took a terrible fall and injured her back, so she was strapped to a wheelchair until she was nine. She could then go to school, hobbling around on metal crutches and braces for her legs. She was ridiculed by her fellow classmates, and had to study and work twice as hard as everyone else, because she had missed so much. Miserable and crippled, Sophie studied by herself, all the while being laughed at and pointed at by everyone else.
She was fourteen when she realized that other people were affected by the Civil
War just as badly as she was. So, crippled almost beyond endurance, she gathered some unused benches from a local public school and used a room in her mother's small wooden cottage. Sophie hung up a sign reading "Day School for Girls", and that was the beginning of a school still standing and teaching today, the Sophie Bell Wright School. Girls from all around New Orleans came to Sophie to be tutored, which she gladly did. She was happy that her school was working so well.
In order to make some money to support her family, she charged each girl fifty cents a month. When she was sixteen, she was teaching in two schools and studying in one. Soon, her schools became bigger and bigger, and when she was eighteen, she rented a large house without enough money to pay one month's rent. She borrowed the money and succeeded in paying it back with a little left over through the money she earned from teaching.
Sophie Bell Wright is my great-great-great aunt, and I always have and always will be proud of that. I am honored to be named after her, because it shows my New Orleanian heritage. I think that until her death on June 6, 1912, she showed amazing perseverance and heroism.