Nelson Mandela, Mary McLeod Bethune Recognized During African American History Month

Look for additional postings from more PJM employees throughout the month.

Suzanne Daugherty, vice president, CFO and treasurer

“To me, Mary McLeod Bethune’s attitude and accomplishments epitomize the activism and advocacy that my parents worked to instill in their children,” Daugherty said. “Hers was always one of my favorite stories to read in a book of female heroes my mother gave me when I was in elementary school. I believe the efforts of earlier educators like Bethune laid the foundations for the wide array of educational opportunities that have been available to me, my sisters and my children.”

Among other accomplishments, Bethune influenced integration in the Red Cross during World War I and founded the National Council of Negro Women. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her as the Director of the Division of Negro Affairs in his cabinet’s National Youth Administration. In this role, she achieved equal pay for most African American employees of the Roosevelt administration and was able to disburse millions in college scholarships to African Americans. After World War II, President Truman appointed Bethune a delegate to the San Francisco Conference which developed the blueprint for the United Nations, ensuring that the U.N. Charter included educational and human rights objectives.

Vince Duane, vice president and general counsel

Duane shared that Nelson Mandela was a personal hero to him because of Mandela’s lesson of inclusion, tolerance and forgiveness in establishing a post-apartheid South Africa.

As a teenage boy, Duane lived in Nairobi, Kenya, and was in the midst of the evolution of Africa at that time. This experience led him to admire Mandela’s message of empowerment – one grounded not in an emphasis on race, but in recognizing the connection we share in a greater human conscience.

“African American History Month gives people of all races and ethnicities opportunity to ponder the social future of our country,” Duane said. “In so reflecting, I encourage us to consider Nelson Mandela and how his example is inspiring, hopeful and instructive to the social challenges we continue to face.”

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