mary-jane-mcleod-bethune

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, 1875-1955

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, 1875-1955

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, 1875-1955
Born in South Carolina to freed persons, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune’s family worked the land of their former owner. By age 9, she was picking a back-breaking 250 pounds of cotton daily. After graduating from a seminary in 1894, she began teaching and met husband Albertus Bethune. Together in 1904, they opened the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. Renamed Bethune-Cookman College in 1931, she became the first African American woman to be a college president. Fighting for gender and racial equality and against lynching and discrimination, Bethune served as president of the National Association of Colored Women, and in 1935 founded the National Council of Negro Women to help women become agents of social change. She advised four American presidents, and during the Depression helped Black voters transition from Republican to Democratic parties. Bethune served as vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and in 1942 helped establish a racially integrated Women’s Army Corp. Invited by President Harry Truman to the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945, she was the only woman of color in attendance. Throughout her life, Bethune was a powerful agent of social change.

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  1. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, 1875-1955
    Born in South Carolina to freed persons, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune’s family worked the land of their former owner. By age 9, she was picking a back-breaking 250 pounds of cotton daily. After graduating from a seminary in 1894, she began teaching and met husband Albertus Bethune. Together in 1904, they opened the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. Renamed Bethune-Cookman College in 1931, she became the first African American woman to be a college president. Fighting for gender and racial equality and against lynching and discrimination, Bethune served as president of the National Association of Colored Women, and in 1935 founded the National Council of Negro Women to help women become agents of social change. She advised four American presidents, and during the Depression helped Black voters transition from Republican to Democratic parties. Bethune served as vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and in 1942 helped establish a racially integrated Women’s Army Corp. Invited by President Harry Truman to the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945, she was the only woman of color in attendance. Throughout her life, Bethune was a powerful agent of social change.

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