New Book Dramatizes Power of Faith in Leader’s Struggle for Racial Equality

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Sam Kelley’s “Faith, Hope and Charity: Mary McLeod Bethune” captures leader’s enduring legacy and the role of faith in her lifelong mission to build a better world.

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Sam Kelley, author of the critically acclaimed Pill Hill, announces the publication of “Faith, Hope and Charity: Mary McLeod Bethune.” It is the last of four plays that Kelley is currently publishing as part of a sabbatical project. The plays were produced at the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., and at other theatres around the country.

“Faith, Hope and Charity: Mary McLeod Bethune” captures Bethune’s trials and triumphs in her meteoric rise from her birth in 1885 through her impoverished childhood in the cotton fields of South Carolina to her ascendancy as Black America’s most influential leader. With a dollar and fifty cents, Bethune starts a school for black girls in Daytona Beach, Florida, now a reputable coed university. An educator, leader of black women, social activist, and the first black woman to hold a federal appointment as Director of the Division of Negro Affairs in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Youth Administration, Bethune used her position and status as a bully pulpit to elevate the status of black women, promote racial and social justice, build opportunities for black youth, and to become an international voice for peace and racial harmony.

Bethune had utter confidence in her mission, propelled forward by her unyielding faith. Said Bethune, “Faith is the first factor devoted to a life of service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. Faith in God is the greatest power, but great too is faith in oneself.” Journalist Ida Tarbell listed Bethune as tenth on her list of “Fifty Great Ones” in 1930 in Woman’s Journal, making her a household name. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People bestowed upon her the Spingarn Medal in 1935, the highest honor given by a black organization. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro women in 1935 and served as its president until 1949. A statue stands in her honor Washington, D.C. and her D.C. home there is now a National historic site operated by the National Park Service.

Bethune’s struggle would not be in vain. The same year of her death, 1955, Rosa Parks, in Montgomery, Ala. refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus, sparking the civil rights movement that would eviscerate Jim Crow America.

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About the Author
Sam Kelley’s other plays in this series are The Blue Vein Society: Class and Color within Black America, Thruway Diaries and White Chocolate. Kelley is Distinguished Service Professor of Africana Studies and Communication Studies at the State University of New York College at Cortland.

Faith, Hope and Charity * by Sam Kelley
Mary McLeod Bethune
Publication Date: 2/12/2014
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 140 pages; 978-1-4931-5194-3
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 140 pages; 978-1-4931-5195-0
e-book; $3.99; 978-1-4931-5196-7

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274.

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