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Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955). Fall 2006 EDCI 658. Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune?.

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Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955)

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who is mary mcleod bethune
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune?
  • “If you are a woman reading this book, today you can aspire to any position in education you desire and reach your dream. This was not always so. Women in America, especially women of color, have Mary McLeod Bethune to thank you promoting the large entry of women in higher education in the 1900s who completed college degree programs and entered the professions of education, law, and government.”
    • Murphy, 2006, p. 336
who is mary mcleod bethune cont
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • Born on July 10, 1875 near Mayesville, South Carolina to former slaves Patsy and Samuel McLeod
  • She was the fifteen of their seventeen children, the first born in freedom
  • She worked in her family fields as a child
who is mary mcleod bethune cont4
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • There were no schools for blacks in Mayesville until one-room mission school opened when Mary was eleven
  • She walked five miles each day in order to attend that school
  • She returned to the fields after attending the mission school since there were no

high schools for black children in her area

who is mary mcleod bethune cont5
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • Mary was granted a scholarship from Mary Chrissman, a Quaker dressmaker, to attend the Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina, a racially mixed school
  • Mary attended the Seminary for six years and learned both academic and vocational, social skills
  • She actively participated extracurricular activities such as chorus, baking, and debate
who is mary mcleod bethune cont6
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • She graduated from Scotia at the age of 20 and studied at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with Dwight Moody, the only African American student among the 1000 students
  • Mary was an openly religious person with meditation and scripture reading everyday and spoke of a personal relationship with God through dreams
who is mary mcleod bethune cont7
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • She returned south to teach schools in Georgia where she met and married Albertus Bethune and had a son in 1899
  • She was invited to be the director of a school in Florida
  • She opened her own school, Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls in 1904 with her savings of $1.50
  • She had five student the first day sitting on the boxes in a rented house
who is mary mcleod bethune cont8
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • Albertus helped with the school and was one of the Board of Trustees until 1908 when he left for a better job in South Carolina and never returned to Florida
  • Mary had to raise fund for her school and received support fro philanthropists such as James M. Gamble of Procter and Gamber
  • By 1910, the school had 102 students; and 1920, 351 students
who is mary mcleod bethune cont9
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • The mission of Mary’s school: “uplift Negro girls spiritually, morally, intellectually, and industrially.”
  • She opened McLeod Hospital after a girl in her school got ill and was refused to be treated in a white hospital
  • Mary’s hospital also had a program that provides training to black girls in nursing
  • The mission of Mary’s nursing school is “go as far as your aspirations and talents can take you.”
who is mary mcleod bethune cont10
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • Daytona School merged with Cookman Institute for Men in 1923 and became the four-year, co-educational Behune-Cookman College, the first fully accredited four-year college for blacks in Florida
  • Mary served as president of the school until 1942
who is mary mcleod bethune cont11
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • She was also a national leader and served as the president of the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools (1923) and the National Assocation of Colored Women from (1924-1928)
  • Bethune was the only black woman invited to a luncheon hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1927 and sat beside Sara Roosevelt
who is mary mcleod bethune cont12
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • She toured nine European countries in 1927 and had an audience with Pope Pius XI
  • She received the Joel E. Springarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1935
who is mary mcleod bethune cont13
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt invited her to become a member of the National Youth Administration advisory board Division of Negro Affairs and the director of the Office of Minority Affairs of the NYA
  • Her four passions---race, women, education, and youth, were all put on national agenda by FDR
  • She was the most highly paid African American women in the government
who is mary mcleod bethune cont14
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • In 1945, President Harry Truman appointed her to his Civil Rights Commission
  • Together with W. E. B. DuBios and Walter White, she was invited to SF to draw up a charter for the UN
  • She received numerous awards and eight honorary degrees during her life
who is mary mcleod bethune cont15
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • With the help of Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary began the Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation to promote her ideas about black educational advancement, interracial cooperation, and service to young people
  • She was considered the female counterpart of W. E. B. DuBois
  • Before she died, she saw the landmark Brown vs. Education in Topeka case
who is mary mcleod bethune cont16
Who Is Mary McLeod Bethune Cont.
  • Summary
    • Little formal education
    • A teacher, a college president
    • Founder of an elementary school, which became a high school then college
    • Government official on educational committees
    • A great orator
    • A national monument in DC
    • Schools, streets named after her
    • One of the fifty greatest American women
bethune s contribution to education
Bethune’s Contribution to Education
  • Role model for black women: more black women received B. A. degrees from black colleges than black men by the 1940s
  • Fund raiser for black education
  • Established various training programs for black librarians, pilots, and teachers to teach in the southern rural areas
bethune s philosophy of education
Bethune’s Philosophy of Education
  • She felt women needed a “distinctive education” different from that of men so they could take their place in transforming society
  • She provided her girls with a classical education in sciences, mathematics, literature, and foreign languages
  • She also combined academic training with vocational training that help women become professional teachers, nurses, librarians, and social workers, which made them economic independent
bethune s philosophy of education19
Bethune’s Philosophy of Education
  • She used both Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois’s ideas
    • Emphasized the importance of academic, vocational, and religious education for women in order to make them economically independent
    • Emphasized working within the system in order to change it
    • Advocated the liberal arts and professional higher education for all capable blacks
mary mcleod bethune quotes
Mary McLeod Bethune Quotes
  • “I cannot rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl lacking a chance to prove his worth”
  • “There is no such thing as Negro education---only education. I want my people to prepare themselves bravely for life, not because they are Negroes, but because they are human beings.”
mary mcleod bethune quotes cont
Mary McLeod Bethune Quotes Cont.
  • “I longed to see Negro women hold in their hands diplomas which bespoke achievement; I longed to see them trained to be inspirational wives and mothers; I longed to see their accomplishments recognized side by side with any women, anywhere. With this vision before me, my life has been spent”
mary mcleod bethune quotes cont22
Mary McLeod Bethune Quotes Cont.
  • “The education of the Negro girl must embrace a larger appreciation for good citizenship in the home. Our girls must be taught cleanliness, beauty, and thoughtfulness, and their application in making home life possible. For proper home life provides the proper atmosphere for life everywhere else. The ideals of home must not forever be talked about; they must be living factors built into the everyday educational experiences of our girls.”
resources on bethune
Resources on Bethune
resources on bethune24
Resources on Bethune
books on bethune
Books on Bethune
  • Davis, M. W. ed. Contributions of Black women to America, Vol. II, Columbia, SC: Kenday Press, Inc., 1982.
  • Hanson, Joyce. Mary McLeod Bethune: Black Women’s Political Activism. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2003
  • McCluskey, Audrey Thomas and Smith E. M. Eds. Mary McLeod Bethune: Building a Better World; Essays and Selected Documents. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999