Basic to, and underlying all my beliefs, is my belief in God and the Bible, the only infallible guide for human conduct. Should I lose my belief in God, in Christ and the Bible, life would be meaningless, without further reason for existence.
Concurrent with my belief in the fatherhood of God is my belief in the brotherhood of man. Out of one blood, God made the nations. Either God is the father of all men, or he isn’t the father of any. Either all men are brothers or none of them are related.
I see each individual not as the member of some in or out group, but as a member of a human family—a child God under my brother. I cannot accept the doctrine of the superiority or inferiority of racist nations or individuals. Creeds, ideas, and ideals are all useless unless translated into action. “Be what thou seemest, live thy creed. Hold up to the world the torch divine.” Therefore, I have pledged myself to help my fellow countrymen reach their goal of real democracy based on the brotherhood of man, by fighting the terrible evils of segregation and discrimination based on a denial of such brotherhood.
Because God is love, I believe all actions should be prompted by the spirit of love. We should attend school for the love of learning; work for the love of work; administer to human needs because we love humanity. I believe that true greatness lies in service. “He that would be greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.” The happy man is the man who gives himself wholeheartedly and unreservedly to some worthy cause. One who fails to do this has missed the joy of living.
I believe in the home as the foundation of society. World peace cannot be realized until peace is realized in that most intimate of all human relations, that of husband and wife. I believe in the education of the whole man. It is the whole man that works, not an intellect in a vacuum. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, earning favor with God and man. I believe there is a dignity in honest toil that belongs not to the display of wealth or the luxury of fashion. The man who drives the plow, or with cunning fingers plies the tools of his craft, is as truly the servant of his country, as is a soldier in battle or the statesman in the senate.
I believe that each individual must build his own life. “Take what thou hast, oh soul of mine, and build thine own house of happiness.” If one builds a life with the tools he has, he can be happy. The capacity to make the best of a situation and to adjust to it is what makes for success.
Climaxing my beliefs and in keeping with my fundamental belief, I believe that God, through Christ, is the answer to the problems of the universe, and that real Christianity must stand at the foundation of every worthwhile life or nation. “Where accept the Lord build the house, they labor in vain but build it.”
Osceola Dawson was an educator and civic leader in Paducah, Ky. At 16, she began teaching in rural schools and for many years was registrar of the West Kentucky Vocational School. She worked for equal employment opportunities for African-Americans at the federal atomic energy plant near Paducah.
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