'Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune: An Unusual Friendship'

Dr. Camesha Whittaker
Dr. Camesha Whittaker's new book explores the example of civic responsibility set by Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt (Courtesy of Camesha Whittaker)

It’s Women’s History Month and author Dr. Camesha Whittaker is on a mission to teach Black history and universal differences. Her book “Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune: An Unusual Friendship” proposes civility as an essential core value and remedy for advancing better relationships as a means to realizing greater societal progress.

Whittaker is a former student government president at Bethune-Cookman University — the school founded by  Mary McLeod Bethune. Whittaker is currently an associate professor there and director of the BJ Moore Center for Faculty Innovation.

Bethune, a Black educator, and Roosevelt, a white universal civic leader, met in 1927 during one of the most racially divisive times in America.

Whittaker hopes the book will guide people on how they can work together, live together, learn together and put differences aside.

Elizabeth Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune: An Unusual Friendship
“Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune: An Unusual Friendship” (Courtesy of Camesha Whittaker)

The book tour is called the “Civility Tour” and Whittaker specifically wants to equip young people with strategies for effective interpersonal engagement.

The book ends with a “civility pledge” for each reader to sign.

“It is a personal commitment. What we commit to we often become consistent towards achieving,” said Whittaker. “So that’s the purpose for this pledge, to help people to not just talk about it, but to be about it.”

Atlanta is one of the stops on her book tour and Dr. Whittaker joined “Morning Edition” to talk about her work.