Mary McLeod Bethune was born on July 10, 1875. She was an educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, civil and human rights activist.
Born in Mayesville, South Carolina, to parents Sam and Patsy who had been enslaved for most of their lives. She was the fifteenth of seventeen children, most of them who had also been born into enslavement. Mary started working in fields with her family at age five.
McLeod who took an early interest in education, attended Mayesville’s one-room Black schoolhouse, Trinity Mission School, which was run by the Presbyterian Board of Missions of Freedmen. She was the only child in her family to attend school, so each day, she taught her family what she had learned when she returned home. To get to and from school, Mary walked five miles each day. Bethune attended Scotia Seminary (now Barber-Scotia College) hoping to become a missionary in Africa.After graduating with honors she was told that black missionaries were not needed or wanted in Africa, but that did not stop her plans to become an educator.
In 1904, she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls, which had enrolled 250 students in just two years. Eventually, the school became Bethune-Cookman University, one of Florida’s five historically black colleges and universities. She also was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom she worked with to create the Federal Council on Negro Affairs, also known as the Black Cabinet. In 1935, Bethune established the National Council of Negro Women to combat racial segregation and discrimination. President Roosevelt appointed her director of the National Youth Administration’s Division of Negro Affairs the following year.
A statue of trailblazing #MaryMcLeodBethune will be displayed in the National Statuary Hall and will replace a Confederate general in the US Capitol. It will be the first statue of a Black woman in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. Bethune will be the first Black figure to be honored with a monument in the National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. Fittingly, Bethune will replace a Confederate general.
– Colorized Photo Composition Art By #ReedRMcCants