Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod changed the world. She was an activist and educator who wanted to make sure everyone got an education. She did not know the word no. With her drive and desire to give African Americans a private school and later a college, she impacted the world. The school located in Daytona Beach, Florida, Bethune-Cookman University still thrives today.
Mary was born in South Carolina. She actually lived in a log cabin in South Carolina and she was born there. Her parents had actually been slaves at one time. She worked in the fields picking and planting at a very young age. She knew that being in the field was not what she wanted for her future, so she worked hard to get ahead. She was also blessed enough to have some help and attend college. One of her teachers made sure she was able to go to college and helped her study to win a scholarship. She really wanted to be a field missionary. Instead, she started a private school in Daytona Beach and studied to be an educator. Equal education for all was very important to her. And after she married she taught and completed social work in Georgia. At one point she operated, with her husband, a prisoner out reach and assistance program. She had the highest of aspirations and was great at marketing the school. She was able to get many brand markets to support the school such as Proctor and Gamble. She believed in her school and was passionate about its success. It was an amazing success and she was president of the college for many, many years. She led the school from 1923 to 1942 and then again later she was in charge from 1946 to 1947. It was unusual for a woman to be a college president and certainly unusual for an African-American woman to lead a school.
Her home is now a National Historic Landmark. It is located in Daytona Beach, Florida. She also had a house in Washington, DC that was awarded the same designation. She is considered an angel for all her work and all her accomplishments. Mary McLeod Bethune was an activist and educator who charged the world and made it a better place. It was important to her to everyone, no matter or gender or race, would be able to have the opportunity to go to college.