Mary McLeod Bethune: Educator and Civil Rights Activist

A child of former slaves, Mary McLeod Bethune was one of the most prominent African Americans of early 20th century America.

Convinced education was key to narrowing the racial divide for people of color, Mary attended a one-room mission school in Maysville, South Carolina for African American children.

She later graduated from Dwight Moody’s Institute for Home and Foreign Missions in Chicago, now Moody Bible Institute.

She founded a school for African American students in 1904, which later became Bethune-Cookman University. Because of her prominence, she served as an advisor to presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

In 1973, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Writing her last will and testament, she invoked Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount:

“'Love thy neighbor' . .a precept which could transform the world if it were universally practiced.”


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