Mary McLeod Bethune: My Last Will and Testament

1 Posted by - August 26, 2023 - BLACK EDUCATION, BLACK WOMEN, CIVIL RIGHTS, LATEST POSTS, Stolen Stories

Born July 10, 1875, in Mayesville, South Carolina, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune became a civil rights leader and educator known best for creating a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida — now known as Bethune-Cookman University.

Born to enslaved African parents, she left her legacy upon the wall of time: serving the African-American community, advising U.S. presidents, and more. Rising from a humble background, she became an icon of African womanhood in the face of great social and economic challenges.

Below is one of McLeod’s writings, titled My Last Will and Testament:


If I have a legacy to leave my people, it is my philosophy of living and serving.

Here, Then, is My Legacy…

I leave you love.

  • Love builds. It is positive and helpful.

I leave you hope.

  • Yesterday, our ancestors endured the degradation of slavery, yet they retained their dignity.

I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another.

  • This kind of confidence will aid the economic rise of the race by bringing together the pennies and dollars of our people and ploughing them into useful channels.

I leave you thirst for education.

  • Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.

I leave you a respect for the uses of power.

  • Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom.

I leave you faith.

  • Faith in God is the greatest power, but great, too, is faith in oneself.

I leave you racial dignity.

  • I want Negroes to maintain their human dignity at all costs.

I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow man.

I leave you, finally, a responsibility to our young people.

  • The world around us really belongs to youth, for youth will take over its future management.

— Mary McLeod Bethune

Source: Black History Heroes


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