Mary Mcleod Bethune

Mary Mcleod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was born Mary Jane McLeod on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina.

After being sponsored at a mission school in South Carolina and receiving a scholarship to Moody Bible Institute, she moved to Daytona Beach in 1904 to begin her own school. Her one-room school became the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls and taught not only reading and writing but home economics skills as well.

Her school grew over the years until 1923 when it merged with Cookman Institute, a school for boys. The merged schools became known as Bethune-Cookman College and continued to be located in Daytona Beach where it is in operation today.

Bethune was active in the fight against racism and served under several Presidents as a member of the unofficial African American “brain trust.” In 1936 she was appointed by President Roosevelt as the director of the National Youth Administration’s Division of Negro  Affairs. She also founded the National Council of Negro Women and was an active member of the National Association of Colored Women. Bethune died in May 1955.

A statue of Bethune was erected in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. In 1985, Bethune was recognized as one of the most influential African-American women in the country with a postage stamp issued in her honor.

Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.

– Mary Mcleod Bethune

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