MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE Biography - Educators, philosophers & public speakers


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Mary Jane McLeod was born in South Carolina, the fifteenth of seventeen children. 
Scholarships enabled her to attend Scotia Seminary and Moody Bible Institute.     
Turned down when she applied to go to Africa as a missionary, she returned to     
the South. She met and married Albertus Bethune, and began to teach school.       
In Daytona, Florida, in 1904 she scraped together $1.50 to begin a school with     
just five pupils. She called it the Daytona Literary and Industrial School for     
Training Negro Girls. A gifted teacher and leader, Mrs. Bethune ran her school     
with a combination of unshakable faith and remarkable organizational skills. She   
was a brilliant speaker and an astute fund raiser. She expanded the school to a   
high school, then a junior college, and finally it became Bethune-Cookman         
Continuing to direct the school, she turned her attention to the national scene,   
where she became a forceful and inspiring representative of her people. First     
through the National Council of Negro Women, then within Franklin Roosevelt's     
New Deal in the National Youth Administration, she worked to attack               
discrimination and increase opportunities for Blacks. Behind the scenes as a       
member of the "Black cabinet," and in hundreds of public appearances, she strove   
to improve the status of her people.