Mary Mcleod Bethune was born on July 10th, 1875 on a South Carolinian plantation. Her mother worked for her owner and picked cotton so that her family would be able to buy off the land the crops were grown on. When Mary was a little girl, she was invited to play with her owner’s children. Mary picked up a book and a white child yelled at her to put it down. Back then children of color couldn’t read and weren’t permitted to because the plantation owners were scared that they could easily rebel and make plans against the educator. Once Mary got older, she attended and eventually graduated from Trinity Presbyterian Mission School. Mary knew by this point that she wanted to become a missionary, but since she was a woman of color, no churches would accept her in the path she wanted to take. Heartbroken, she decided that instead of being a missionary, she wanted to become an educator.
Eventually, her works became so well known that she got accepted into many important lives and associations. Mary Mcleod Bethune’s teaching and social work caused female African American’s education and political values to increase substantially because she devoted her time to create a colored girl’s school, she helped other colored women as a women’s activist, and she became one of the first African American women to work as a politician. Soon Bethune would have founded Bethune-Cookman University and National Council of Negro Women. She was also a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Association of Colored Women’s Club. With these organizations created, Bethune helped out with racial discrimination within education and helping out with advancements with women and encouragement. For Mary, even when she was told she couldn’t read she kept following her dreams and eventually made a school so other colored girls could have the same education that she was lucky enough to have. She even promoted the idea of building other schools so that other African Americans could learn the same education others were learning, which really showed both South Carolina and the world how important women’s education actually is.
Bethune started out small but gradually took her work to the next level. She first started to teach in 1895 were she taught at small schools and worked with African American girls. When Bethune first started teaching she went to schools to help anyone that she could at the time. It was 1904 when Bethune decided she wanted to create her own school. It was named Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls at the time, but would eventually be called Bethune Cookman University. Mary had only $1.50 to build the school off of and according to Mary herself, her school was based on faith, whenever the school was in desperate need of something she’d pray that the needs would be met. Bethune’s school only started out with five girls and her son, where she would teach them everything that she had learned. Once word went around about Bethune’s school a man by the name of John, D donated $62,000. For Bethune, this was a major barrier broken at the time because not many people supported African education, but like John, D. others started donating and the school ended up being a big success. With these six students the school would ultimately prosper to roughly 3,000 students. At Bethune Cookman University, future generations would be able to get a new chance to have a secured education and chance to learn what they wish and acquire any degree they please. Doctors and inventors may have or will brew from this school. If Bethune would not have started out educating kids our modern-day society could be so different and abnormal. Education may still be bias and have racial discrimination. While Bethune created Daytona Educational and Industrial University she also founded a crucial organization that is today known as the National Council of Negro Women, which is also called NCNW. This was one of the most significant groups that helped avoid racial discrimination towards anyone. This group would, later on, fight for Black women and abortion rights.
Bethune and Roosevelt
With Bethune started to work on getting more schools to let kids of color receive an education she would work side by side with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The two of them started to work on national issues and school district rules. With Roosevelt noticing how much Bethune has helped and started to consider some of her ideas like giving more African Americans financial aid, help get more African Americans employed, and would change school standards so that teachers would now have to teach about diversity and people with different culture.