History is always telling of events we can and should remember.
Mary McLeod Bethune
A rare honor will be made in the U.S. Capitol Hall of Statues when the marble statue of Mary McLeod Bethune is unveiled very soon. The beautiful white marble was taken from the very quarry Michaelangelo used for his masterpieces. Her statue will replace a Confederate general and make a brief stop in Daytona Beach, Florida, for residents to honor.
Her statue shows her in cap and gown, signifying her life-long focus on education. The cane she carries was given to her by President Roosevelt. The black rose was a favorite flower, and she considered her pupils her 'black roses.'
Mey was a distinguished educator, Civil Rights leader, and women's rights advocate. She had to deal with the KKK, Klu Klux Klan and never backed down from them.
Early Life of Mary McLeod Bethune
She was born in 1875 in a log cabin to former slaves Sam and Patsy McLeod. Mary was the 15th of 17 children born of this union on the McIntosh-McLeod plantation. She was the first to be born free in the family. By the age of five, she was working in the cotton fields, and by the time she was nine, she could pick 250 pounds of cotton per day.
Mary was determined to learn to read and write, and she walked five miles to school each day and then returned home to teach her parents and brothers and sisters to read ad write. Finally, in1895 she had an opportunity to attend the Moody Bible Institute and became the first African American to graduate.
In 1898 she met and married Albertus Bethune ad they had one son, Albert Bethune. The family moved to Palatka, Florida, where Mary began teaching, but her husband was not keen on her dedication to education. Finally, they agreed to separate, and Albertus returned to South Carolina, where he died in 1918. After five years, Mary moved to Daytona Beach and opened the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute. The school was doing so well, and donations and support from the community enabled more school growth.
At this time, Mary merged her school with the Cookman Institute, and it became known as Bethune-Cookman University. Many notable graduates have ties to the university, and one was Lucile O'Neil, the mother of Shaquille O'Neal, NBA great.
The Notable Stage of Mary McLeod Bethune
Through her long and dedicated Mary had many prominent supports from John D. Rockefeller, President Franklin Roosevelt and wife Eleanor, President Calvin Coolidge, and President Herbert Hoover. She served as advisors to presidents and in 1936 Mary became the highest-ranking African American in government. She was director of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. She established and led the 'Black Cabinet" and laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement. There is no doubt she became the most celebrated Afri
Mary's Presence On The National Stage
Mary served as an advisor to several presidents, including Calvin Cooledge, Herbert Hoover, and notably President Theodore Roosevelt, having special links with Eleanor Roosevelt. She achieved several milestones throughout her like serving and leading the 'Black Cabinet," laying the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement. It is no wonder she became one of the most celebrated African American figures of Civil Rights, an educator, and an advocate of women's rights.
Mary was elected president of the NACW, the National Association of Colored Women, and was a founding vice president of the NAACP.
Accolades And Awards
Mary received the Joel Spingham Medal from the NAACP. In 1935 she received the Frances A. Drexel Award from Xavier University. In 1942 she received the Thomas Jefferson Award for human welfare.
Ebony Magazine acknowledged her "First Lady of Negro America; then, in 1989, they listed her as 1 of the 50 most influential Black history. Mary was inducted in 1973 to the National Wome's Hall of Fame. Many schools throughout the U.S. are named in her honor. South Carolina honors her with a special license plate with proceeds to build and maintain a museum and the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Park and nature trails in her hometown of Mayesville.
The U.S. Post Office honored her with a stamp in 1934. She left words of wisdom in what she calls her Will.