Bethune, Mary McLeod
Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, was born on a South Carolina farm in 1875. The child of former slaves, she went on to become a teacher, a civil and human rights leader, and a consultant to five U.S. presidents, among them Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed her to his "Black Cabinet" as director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. In her "Last Will & Testament," written shortly before her death at age 79, Bethune bequeathes her home and its contents to the educational and research foundation that she organized in 1953. She then turns to her less tangible legacy, one she hopes to leave "to Negroes everywhere." Her "Last Will & Testament" opens up fundamental questions about what it means to live a good life, what Bethune's dream of "full equality" for African Americans might look like, and what legacy we most hope to leave behind--as individuals, families, organizations, communities--for those who follow us.
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What is the relationship between faith and service, justice and/or poverty?How does a person become a leader?How do we define love? How do we show love?How does my race, culture or ethnicity shape who I am?How does race affect our relations to others?What assumptions do we make about people from different races, ethnicities and cultures?Why do racial disparities exist and how do we change them?Do acts of service lead to social change?Is my service effective? How do I know?Can one person change the world?What do I hope my work accomplishes?