Faithful Heroes: Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activities. She was a
She was born on July 10,
From a young age,
In 1898, she married Albertus Bethune and moved to Savannah, Georgia. In 1899, a visiting minister inspired the couple to move to Palatka, Florida, where she ran a mission school and began an outreach to prisoners.
In 1907, her husband left her and their son, but the couple never divorced. Albertus Bethune died in 1918.
She later moved to Daytona, Florida determined to start a
She also championed for a hospital and in 1931, the public hospital in Dayton opened a separate hospital for people of color.
In 1931, she merged with another school and with the
Bethune served on the boards of
She became close friends with President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and campaigned for Civil Rights.
In 1942, she stepped down to the presidency for health reasons.
She died of a heart attack on May 18, 1955.
The New York Times noted she was, “one of the most potent factors in the growth of interracial goodwill in America.”
The Washington Post said: “So great were her dynamism and force
Her hometown newspaper, the Daytona Beach Evening News printed, “To some, she seemed unreal, something that could not be.
Her home in Daytona Beach is a National Historic Landmark and her home in Washington, D.C. is a National Historic site. There is also a memorial sculpture of her in Lincoln Park.
“The Legislature of Florida designated her in 2018 as the subject of one of Florida’s two statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection.”