Branches of the Vine: The Price of Admission
Branches of the Vine: The Price of Admission
Re-Imagining the Bible Belt South for a Nu World Order
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It’s all quiet now in cities like Birmingham, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Newark, where blacks once protested and rioted against their segregated conditions in the 1960s and women burned their bras during the Women’s Liberation era in the 1970s. But for five years, O.M. Davis, a pioneer in equal employment opportunity, analyzed employment practices and wrote affirmative-action plans for public- and private-sector clients throughout the United States. This was concurrent with her CEO refusing to pay her comparable wages as whites and males, citing that although qualified, she had “two strikes against her of being black and a woman.” One CEO stated that she had delusions of grandeur, while the other stated that she was ahead of her time.

From 1968 to 1999, O.M. Davis used the court of law to redress her fight with CEOs across race and gender lines for pay equity and inclusion. Along the way, she weaves in her enslaved Native American Cherokee ancestry, a world conference of women, and anecdotes of spiritual inspiration.

Davis cites the family as the key to her success. In Branches of the Vine: The Price of Admission, she gives you an inside look at her story of inspiration, embedded in her stable, nuclear Christian family background, which she accessed to function in today’s society.

By looking deep within herself, she interweaves her enslaved bloodline where her re-imagination of past conditions empowers her with knowledge of unity and diversity. As a contemporary woman whose world pivots on individualized, systemic gender and race discrimination, it also becomes the stuff on which she renders decisions in the business world. There are certain basic truths that are so solid in the foundation of our being that it can become monumental for any era or new/nu world order.


“The position is so important in the United States. You see we don’t think of this as women in this way, really. All the time you ask, how many women are there in the court, how many women in the ministry, how many women? It is not important. You should ask where do you have justice-- where you don’t have justice. Position is not important. I change for myself. For woman, the best job is to be a woman.

“Oh, no!”
“That is what you think. It is different from what I think. I have never been a good mother and I feel guilty. But I think my country needs me. And I have to let my children suffer because the rest of the children are needed here are suffering and working. When they work for the revolution, maybe fifteen, eighteen years out. Why do they work so hard? They get so exhausted, so tired. They cannot take care of their husbands, take care of their children, take care of their home. I think that the best job for a woman is to be a good mother. That’s my idea. And I have not been a good mother. For you it is to be a good lawyer, or a good member of the party. Money is not important. How good a human being we are, that’s important. He [Ayatollah Khomeini] has offered many of us very good positions, but because of my children I didn’t accept.”
“What are your problems?”
“First problem, we have is illiteracy. We are working for that more than anything else. There can be help. We learn. We have two plans, two kinds of plans. Long term and short term. Short term plan is good for three months. We have the primary care for health and go to the village and teach them. The second plan we have is long term health services, that is six months in a university. Six months in the village until you get your doctorate degree, until you become a doctor. It takes going to the university seven years to become a doctor. You go to the university for ten years. O.K. that is another plan for health.
Also we have something on formal education for illiteracy. Our homes, our mosques, our schools are classrooms for teaching literacy, non-formal teaching. And this is most important. Women can help to build the country. This is the problem. Most of the women don’t know. They just know through the Ayatollah Khomeini their right to freedom. And they stood for it. Most of the women stood for the revolution. They were illiterate. Now we should help them to know more of their rights.”
“Do girls go to school as well as boys?”
“Yes. There is compulsory education for both.”
“Are all schools free, including the university?”
“Yes, and some of the universities are free.”
“To what extent do men and women work together?”
“It depends on the qualifications.”
“Do you feel threatened?”
“No, we don’t feel that way. We don’t feel threatened at all. If we misinterpret something, we don’t feel at all threatened that you are against us or trying to trick us. We are here to exchange ideas. And we are all women with ideas for the same end. It’s just something which is to help humanity. Our answers are not the answers that women who are angry about some other problem are projecting onto us. And they want us to give them answers.”
“What chance did the revolution give you?”
“We believe that the culture is one with the spirit of the law of Islam. There are times when it has been misused. We are there as conscience to see that it is not misused. We are awakened to the fact that people can come along and misuse it. And we are there hopefully to prevent that.”
“Women have had no rights in the past!”
“It is exactly true what you say, but it remains that for the past, that is not now the case. Now we have to work for it. First to get enough economics, especially in the rural areas. Second, that women have education to know their rights. This is the thing. Rights is something. Nobody is going to give women the rights. Although in revolution, government has given a lot of rights to women. Like equal salary for equal job, house work at home, money for that, and so on. But it is a woman, who should understand and demand it. Women in villages, they work very hard. And they think, they should work. That’s in their minds. They gave this idea to woman that they should take care of the children and do the agriculture, for example. They should understand their rights. Revolution has given us the heart to work ahead. Revolution doesn’t give everything to you, but it cuts the barriers. And it is you that have to work hard. “One more point: There is something we wanted to express as something of a parting. We wanted to express what our ideology was, because it is very difficult to express in a few minutes and get to know each other about what we believe, what we really believe. I am reading this sentence as to what we tried to express to you: “The world view that we have is not a material framework, that capitalism, that communism, and socialism has presented to us at this point. We don’t believe in that framework of materiality. What we believe in is that there has to be a wedding between materiality and the spiritual. That in other words you earn as far as material goods what you need, but, if you have more than what you need, you give to someone else and you help someone else.
O.M. Davis was born in Sulligent, Alabama and graduated from the segregated Brighton High School, near the Birmingham area. She received a B.A. degree from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut and did postgraduate studies in the MBA for Executives program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, Connecticut.

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