Black American Experience: Famous Public Figures
- Genre: Special Interest-Us History
- Release Date: 9/29/2009
FAMOUS PUBLIC FIGURES: MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE & SHIRLEY CHISHOLM MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE: Follow her illustrious path from the cotton fields of the South to renowned public figure in education. SHIRLEY CHISHOLM: Her legacy of political and social activism laid the foundation for the rise of women and Blacks in American politics. MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE (1875-1955) was born the 15th of 17 children to former slaves in South Carolina. This inspiring program follows her illustrious path from the cotton fields of the South to renowned African American educator, leader of women, distinguished adviser to several American presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt, close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and champion of racial equality. Her many achievements are a testament to the power of education and it's importance in the African American community. Mary McLeod Bethune understood the importance of education for all people. In an era when most African American children received little or no education, she established a school for African American girls. In 1904, she rented a two-story frame building in Daytona Beach, Fla., and opened her school with only $1.50, six pupils, used crates for desks and crushed elderberries for ink. Through determination and dedication, she built this tiny school into United Methodist Church affiliated Bethune-Cookman University. During her long career Bethune received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Haitian Medal of Honor and Merit (1949), the highest award of the Haitian government. Mary McLeod Bethune set a standard of excellence for the education of African Americans and she achieved her dreams through her own determination and strong faith in herself. SHIRLEY CHISHOLM born 1924 in Brooklyn, N.Y. is the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress and the first to campaign for the presidency. She was an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during the seven terms she served in the House. Her legacy of political and social activism laid the foundation for the rise of women and Blacks in American politics. "Of my two "handicaps" being female put more obstacles in my path than being black." This program is a celebration of her life and a political diary from the 1960's through the 1970's during an era of political transition and social change. The range of Chisholm's activism is explored in depth through her involvement in civil rights, women's rights, and the anti-Vietnam War efforts. We witness the excitement firsthand of Chisholm announcing her candidacy for President with the Democratic Party in 1972, declaring she is not a representative solely of the black or female communities, but "a candidate of the people". Though she did not win the nomination that year, she remained active in politics and served the House of Representatives until her retirement in 1982. In this inspiring program, Shirley Chisholm emerges as a charismatic leader and social reformer that achieved positive change in American politics and society for future generations. Bonus Material: Each program includes 24 minutes of Bonus material.
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