Mary McLeod Bethune Facts

Mary McLeod Bethune Facts
Mary McLeod Bethune was an American civil rights activist, educator, and stateswoman who was most well-known for founding a private school in Florida for African-American students. She was born Mary Jane McLeod on July 10, 1875, in Mayesville, South Carolina, to Sam and Patsy McLeod. Her parents were both former slaves and she was the 15th of 17 children. Mary was inspired to learn at a young age and attended a one room schoolhouse in Mayesville. She was the only child in the family to attend school and had to walk five miles each day. Mary attended Scotia Seminary on scholarship and Dwight L. Moody's Institute in Chicago, with aspirations to become an African missionary.
Interesting Mary McLeod Bethune Facts:
Mary began working as a teacher in 1896 in Augustus, Georgia, at the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute. This was part of a mission that had been founded by Lucy Craft Laney, the daughter of former slaves.
Mary McLeod Bethune adopted many of the philosophies of Lucy Craft Laney. She believed that educating women and girls could improve the lives of African-Americans.
Mary McLeod Bethune was transferred to Sumter, South Carolina after a year, to work at the Kindell Institute.
In 1898 Mary McLeod married Albertus Bethune and became Mary McLeod Bethune.
Mary and Albertus moved to Savannah, Georgia for a year where she was employed as a social worker.
After Mary and Albertus' son Albert was born they relocated to Palatka, Florida where a minister had persuaded them to take positions to run a mission school.
In 1907 Albertus abandoned Mary and Albert and in 1918 he died from tuberculosis.
Mary McLeod Bethune rented a house in 1904 in Daytona, Florida and began created desks and benches from old crates and donated items. This was the beginning of her school. The school bordered the dump in Daytona.
Mary founded the Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls with $1.50.
When Mary founded her school she had only six students, including her son Albert and five girls.
In order to raise money for the school, church members, parents, and Mary made baked goods, ice cream, and other food items, and sold them to workers at the dump next door.
Mary McLeod Bethune had over 30 students within one year of opening her school.
Mary McLeod Bethune served as chapter president for Florida in the National Association of Colored Women from 1917 until 1925. This organization promoted the needs of African-American women.
In 1924 Mary McLeod Bethune was elected as the NACW president.
In 1928 Mary was invited to attend the Child Welfare Conference. It had been called by President Calvin Coolidge.
Herbert Hoover appointed Mary McLeod Bethune to the White House Conference on Child Health in 1930.
Mary founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935 in NYC.
Mary served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of War during WWII. She had already gained approval for African-American women to work in the Women's Army Corp.
Mary McLeod Bethune continued to work for civil rights until her death in 1955.

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