“I know you cannot all remember my name, but you will remember this face, remember this crown of white hair, remember the yearnings of a heart that is pleading for the unity of the world, that all of us may brothers be.”
Source: Mary McLeod Bethune: Building a Better World Edited by Audrey Thomas McCluskey and Elaine M. Smith; Indiana University Press, 1999 p. 57; and; “Address to a World Assembly for Moral Re-Aarmanent” July 27, 1964 Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation, Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Fla.
The ‘So-What?!’ Significance: Given her contributions, from serving as a key advisor to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the generations of black graduates from Bethune-Cookman University, we shouldn’t forget Mary McLeod Bethune.
“You are young, gifted and Black. We must begin to tell our young. There’s a world waiting for you. Yours is the quest that’s just begun.”
James Weldon Johnson, author, civil rights, activist, composer, diplomat, educator and Florida native.
The ‘So-What?!’ Significance: The words resonate. They did when James Weldon Johnson first uttered them. They did when Nina Simone and poet Weldon Irvine recorded those same words in the late 1960s in the hit song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” and the words should still have meaning today.
“Negroes must be free in order to be equal, and they must be equal in order to be free… Men cannot win freedom unless they win equality. They cannot win equality unless they win freedom.”
A. Phillip Randolph, civil rights activist, labor union leader and Florida native.
The ‘So-What?!’ Significance: Today, black people are “free,” but are they seen as equals in the eyes of American society? Looks like it’s still a work in progress.
“We are African in origin and American in birth.”
T. Thomas Fortune, journalist, civil rights activist, orator and Florida native.
The ‘So-What?!’ Significance: It’s a profound statement that resonates today.