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Oseola McCarty
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    (March 7, 1908-September 26, 1999)
    Born in Wayne County, Mississippi
    Local washerwoman (then a resident of Hattiesburg, Mississippi)
    University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) most famous benefactor
    Author of 'Simple Wisdom for Rich Living' (1996)
    Amassed a sizable nest-egg with her meager wages by living simply, a sum amounting to $150,000
    Famously used a portion of the money saved to establish a scholarship fund for deserving African-American students in need of financial aid (Jul. 1995; later became known as The Oseola McCarty Scholarship)
    Honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian award, presented to her by President Bill Clinton (1998)
    She never married or had children.
    She left school while in the sixth grade.
    'Penny pincher' might be a strong term, but since the cat's out of the bag...
    Initial reports claimed that, despite becoming one of the world's best known philanthropists overnight, she didn't even know what the word 'philanthropy' meant.
    Accounts tend to make it sound like she saved up 150K solely on her 70 plus years as a laundress (when this was merely compounded into the money left to her by relatives who had passed, which she just never spent away).
    She was a child conceived from rape.
    By 1967, she had lost all of her closest relatives.
    She only dropped out of school to care for her bed-ridden aunt (her desire to go back to school motivated her to make the bestowment with other such children in mind).
    She had never flown on an airplane or slept in a hotel, until she was invited to pull the switch for the New Years Eve countdown ball, in Times Square, for 1996.
    She received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged (1997).
    She was presented with the United Nations' prestigious Avicenna Medal for educational commitment (1998).
    She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Harvard University, in 1996, as well as an honorary degree from USM (the first of its kind given).
    She was bestowed the honor of carrying the Olympic torch through the Mississippi leg of the trip, for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
    She was honored with an Essence Award, at a ceremony at Madison Square Gardens, at which Patti LaBelle sang a tribute.
    Her gift reportedly inspired Ted Turner to make an astounding billion dollar donation to various education-related causes.
    The publicity surrounding her generosity prompted a group of local business leaders to launch a private fund-raising campaign to match her donation (generating an additional $330,000).
    When a People magazine interviewer asked her why she hadn't spent the total $280,000 she had saved on herself, she coyly replied 'I AM spending it on myself!'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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