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13 Ways Pearl S. Buck Continues to Inspire Me Today


In honor of Pearl S. Buck’s 130th birthday this year, the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association held their annual birthday celebration for Pearl on June 22. It was the first in several years due to Covid. Pearl S. Buck International President and CEO Anna Katz addressed those in attendance. In her speech, she listed 13 things about Pearl Buck that inspire her—one item for each decade since Pearl’s birth. Read her speech below:

“I am so happy to be with you today to celebrate Pearl’s 130th Birthday. I thought on this special day I would share with you 13 ways that I am inspired by Pearl S. Buck. I am sure there are 130 ways she inspires me, however, for the sake of time, I thought an inspiration for every decade!”

  • I am inspired by her being a strong, formidable woman, a model for all, with her high-shrilled aristocratic sounding voice that raised so many very difficult issues for people to hear, and a voice no one could ignore
  • Her amazing gift of writing, the quantity and quality of it, and the ability to create through words a vivid visualization to tell a story.
  • The gift of The Good Earth, a simple yet complex story, illustrating the life of rural Chinese people. At the same time, it contains hints of universal principles of humanity.
  • During a period of U.S. isolationism, she was a human bridge between East and West and promoted multiculturalism.
  • I am inspired by the overwhelming love she had for children from all walks of life, her fight against injustices, and the establishment of the first adoption agency for bi-racial children.
  • The strength she demonstrated in the personal struggle she went through in understanding her daughter Carol’s different abilities and in writing the book The Child Who Never Grew that changed so many lives.
  • I am inspired by her activism on the issue of Civil Rights and being named one of two White women— the other being Eleanor Roosevelt, another, formidable women—in this country who understood the injustices related to racism.
  • Pearl supported the empowerment of women and promoted the idea that women should be considered for the highest positions in the land, in business, politics, and government.
  • I am inspired by her example of being a citizen of the world, that she saw the inter-relatedness between cultures and nations, and her belief that we all need to be actors in that world.
  • I am inspired and extremely blessed as the President and CEO of Pearl S. Buck International to know there are so many volunteers and donors who are dedicated supporters of Pearl Buck’s legacy.
  • I am inspired by her National Historic Landmark House and this beautiful estate that inspired her writing and that was the space in which her activism and humanitarianism grew, a story that we get to share with visitors still today.
  • I am inspired by Pearl’s sense of family—after the birth of Carol, when she learned she could have no more biological children, she opened her heart and home to adoption and gathered her neighbors and friends to open their hearts and homes as well. But even that wasn’t enough—she saw herself as a member of a bigger family, opening her home and welcoming her local Bucks County community into it. Many long time residents still remember spending time on these grounds and in these buildings. And she created the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, now Pearl S. Buck International, to help care for the many children in need in what she saw as her global family.
  • I am inspired that 130 years after her birth, her cross-cultural, humanitarian, and educational legacy lives on in the work and mission of Pearl S. Buck International and the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association.

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