Mary McLeod Bethune
On This Date In 1936, Mary McLeod Bethune Became The First Black Woman To Receive A Major Appointment From The Federal Government When She Was Named Director Of Negro Affairs Of The National Youth Administration.
The Daughter Of Former Slaves (Samuel And Patsy McLeod), Mary Bethune Was Born July 10, 1875, In Mayesville, South Carolina. She Was One Of 17 Children.
Growing Up, She Worked In The Cotton Fields Of South Carolina. She Eventually Made Her Way Through College (Scotia Seminary, Near Concord, NC), Got Married (To Albertus Bethune) And Had A Son.
Mary McLeod Bethune Would Go On To Become One Of The Most Influential And Important Black Americans In History. In 1904, With Only A $1.50 To Invest, She Built Daytona Normal And Industrial School For Negro Girls. The Original Four-Room Schoolhouse Was Built On A Garbage Dump. After Merging With The Cookman Institute For Men In 1923, Bethune-Cookman College Became One Of The Finest Institutions Of Higher Learning In The Country. Bethune Served As The School's President From 1904-1942.
Bethune Was Known As "America's First Black Lady," And Served Regularly As An Adviser To Presidents. She Worked With Herbert Hoover On Child Health Issues And With Franklin D. Roosevelt On Youth And Minority Affairs. She Was Harry S. Truman's Personal Representative At The Inauguration Ceremony Of The President Of Liberia. In 1935, She Founded, And Was The First President Of, The National Council Of Negro Women.
Mary McLeod Bethune Died Of A Heart Attack In 1955. In 1974, The $400,000 Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial Was Unveiled In Washington DC's Lincoln Park. The Inscription Was Taken From Her Own Words:
"I leave you love, I leave you hope, I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. I leave you a thirst for education. I leave you respect for the uses of power. I leave you faith. I leave you racial dignity."
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." -- Hubert Gaddy, Jr.