Educator of the Week: Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary Mcleod Bethune was born near Maysville, North Carolin, on July 10, 1875. As a child, her mother and she worked hard to buy land from her mother’s previous owner. Later, Bethune received an opportunity for education and graduated in 1894.

During her education, she was taught how to be a missionary, however, soon after graduating, she went into teaching. Bethune taught for a while before moving to Palatka, Florida, where she founded a missionary school. Later in 1904, Bethune created an all-girls school before merging with a boys’ school in 1923. This new school was then accredited and the name changed to Bethune-Cookman College in 1931. During this time, this college was one of the few colleges where African Americans could receive an education above a high school degree down south.

Bethune later started to work more as an activist, advocating for equality, ending segregated education, and improving healthcare for Black children. Her work got her elected president of the National Association of Colored Women as well as serving as an advisor for three US presidents.

Bethune has earned many awarrds and honors in her lifetime and is now in the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She is an inspiration to many and her impact has led us to where we are now.