Celebrating Oseola McCarty, A Washerwoman’s Legacy of Generosity Lives On

by Gee NY

As March marks International Women’s Month, it’s a time to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women around the world.

Among these trailblazers is Oseola McCarty, a humble washerwoman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, whose legacy of planned giving continues to inspire generations.

McCarty was born on March 7, 1908, in Shubuta, Mississippi, and despite leading a simple life without extravagance, she made a profound impact on the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) by donating a portion of her life savings to establish scholarships for deserving students in need.

Her generous contribution of $150,000 to the university, earned through years of hard work, exemplifies her selflessness and commitment to education.

In recognition of her extraordinary philanthropy, McCarty received numerous accolades during her lifetime.

In 1998, USM conferred upon her its first honorary degree, a testament to her enduring legacy.

Before this, she was honored by Harvard University with an honorary doctorate in 1996, alongside three other distinguished individuals. McCarty’s dedication to serving the disadvantaged also earned her the prestigious Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged in 1997.

Though McCarty passed away in 1999, her spirit of giving lives on, inspiring other Black men and women to continue to make a difference in their communities.

Through their remarkable acts of service, these Black philanthropists and countless others remind us of the transformative power of generosity and the lasting legacy it creates.

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