Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McCleod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune



On December 5, 1935, Mary McLeod Bethune created the National Council of Negro Women, with the purpose of improving racial relationships and conditions nationally and internationally.  The centerpiece of the organization’s mission was equal educational programs for African Americans.

McLeod-Bethune was an educator, statesperson, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist, and is widely known as the founder and developer of a private school for blacks in Daytona Beach, Florida which later became Bethune-Cookman University. 

As a civil rights activist, Mary Bethune gained the title of “The First Lady of the Struggle” because of her struggle and commitment to making lives better for people of color.  As the daughter of a slave and a field-hand at age five, Mary knew how discrimination limited resources for African Americans, sought to strip them of their dignity and painted pictures of a “less than mentality.”

 Her appointment by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a national advisor to the President, revealed her statesmanship, knowledge and dedication to equality.  Mary McLeod-Bethune was born July 10, 1875 and died May 18, 1955.  Her contribution to the betterment of America, allows her to take her place in the constructive history of America.