Five-greats-grandmother was born in Ghana, West Africa during a time when people stole people. Her birth name was secret to all but those who would cherish her. From the moment she was abducted and given a slave name, she never uttered her real name. Evident in how her descendants live their lives, that name bestowed her with the ability to believe in herself, even when she was thought of as property. Her message to everyone, especially the young people, is that when we believe in ourselves, no one can steal the God-given destinies.
BettyeKearse is a retired pediatrician who served Boston’s inner-city youths for more than thirty years. A resident of Santa Fe, NM, she is her family’s eighth-generation oral historian and author of the award-winning memoir The Other Madisons. She is a descendant of an enslaved cook and President James Madison. In recounting the struggles, perseverance, and contributions of her family, The Other Madisons illustrates that enslaved Africans possessed a strong belief in themselves by which they survived, contributed mightily to America and passed down that quality to their descendants-to believe in themselves so they can fulfill their dreams and make contributions throughout the world. Dr. Kearse has been a guest on multiple podcasts and radio shows, including NPR, and has given presentations for audiences of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Harvard University, M.I.T., the National Association of Black Journalists, and the American Bar Association. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx