The Legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune Is As Necessary Today As It Was 50 Years Ago

"God holds the only key that opens the door to true joy." - Mrs. G. Barnett 

It is so moving and inspirational to read of history as it was made many years ago. I find it so true today as when it was written in 1955 by one of the nation’s African American leaders and symbols of power. Upon her death in 1955, Mary McLeod Bethune left a legacy to the nation in her last will and testament which became one of the great documents of our times.

In her testament she states: 

"I leave you love. Because it is a positive and helpful trait to develop, it builds friendships, relationships, families, and more. Love is more beneficial than hate, injuries are quickly forgotten and healing comes faster. Bethune’s aim was that we must create a world of fellowship and justice where no one’s skin color or religion is held against them. And to love your neighbor not only paraphrases the Bible, but it means to love across the board - - inter-racially, inter-religiously, and internationally. 

"I leave you hope. In order to direct our economic growth, awareness, and political strength toward winning more prosperity and abundance for all, there will be un-going struggles and years of ceaseless striving to do better and to bring about a better world. Bethune believed with all her heart that the Negro race would face a better world.

"I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. Along with prejudice and pressure, minorities are often prevented from accomplishing economic goals by racial blocs and taboos. It became necessary for them to band together for their own economic survival and benefit. Bethune’s confidence was important in getting the necessary pressures removed so that economic separatism would not be tolerated. To this end, and even today, we must help each other as we go along the road to recovery. 

"I leave you a thirst for education. Knowledge is the foundation and criteria of all human beings. We must take full advantage of opportunities for learning and make it the highest priority in our life. Continuing this trend increases untold numbers of strong, purposeful, men and women who are able to see the future with mental clarity.

"I leave you a respect for the uses of power. The world we live in respects power above all things. When directed intelligently, the use of power can lead to more freedom. Yet, if directed unwisely, it leads to destruction. During her lifetime, Bethune saw the power of the Negro grow enormously. However, it was always her first concern that this power be used in human justice. And when some of the barriers were broken it was her hope that man not give support to any groups of people that sought to destroy democracy. We must educate and produce more men and women who are qualified to not only work for themselves, but also for others. 

"I leave you faith. With faith , anything is possible. God makes it so, and He is the greatest power. But also, faith in yourself is the measure of your progress. Some of the greatest figures in the Negro race have been endowed with faith and held together by our leaders. In the 50's it was Frederick Douglas. In the 60's, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, there are many, but not so great or well remembered as leaders of the Negro race. Times of struggle never cease and progress is often slow, yet today as in the past, faith was and is the constant factor. 

"I leave you racial dignity. This is applicable to all races. We must maintain our human dignity at all costs and at all times. We are all keepers and heirs of a great civilization. We must be proud and fully aware of our place in the world and its continuation. We must make a great effort to share and mix with all races of people. We must make a concentrated effort to be less race conscious and more aware of individual values and human differences. Never let anyone destroy your self-respect, nor must you disrespect another person. 

"I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow men. In the 1950's, Bethune recognized that the problem with color was worldwide from Asia to South America, and prayed that men would unite to solve them. She wanted to see people conduct themselves naturally in relationships with all races. To understand other races and learn to deal with their different cultures. It is an individual and positive good today, as well as it was in the 1950's. Though, we must not forget our own heritage. 

"Finally, I leave you a responsibility to our young people. The young will have to take over the future management of the world around us. To this end, we must not let them lose their passion for building a world they can live and be better in. They must not be discouraged from setting goals for greatness. And, they must never forget that they will be the leaders of tomorrow. Yet, they will not have learned anything if they do not acknowledge that there is still poverty, that people are still underprivileged, and still live in ill-housing. There is a strong need to change old ideas and ways of doing things, so that our youth are directed to use their future power to bring about good results. 

Mary McLeod Bethune left a legacy to her people that was a philosophy of living and serving. She prayed that her philosophy would be helpful to those who share her vision of world Peace, Progress, Brotherhood and Love. Never is this more important today.

About the Author

Gerri D Smith, author, entrepreneur, and fashion expert  gives you encouraging words to enhance your everyday life to be more positive, fulfilling and special. How often do you set aside time to read a good book filled with inspirational words? Reading inspirational and/or motivational books adds to your knowledge, and creates different views of life. Reading is also a challenge. It forces you to respond to life with confidence and gratitude. In doing so, you are more than willing to learn, to support, and to help others. By giving your best to others, you also benefit. To give is to love, and to love is the true spirit of the universe. Be bold! Be beautiful! Be extraordinary! Above all - Be good to yourself and read! Go to, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1588982653

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Copyright - May 2016 by Gerri D. Smith, Author



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