The Brave, the Bold, and Mary McLeod Bethune Introduction There are many famous women throughout history from all over the world. One in particular is Mary McLeod Bethune. Some may ask who she is, and what she did, because rarely do you hear her name from day to day. Mary McLeod Bethune was an inspirational African-American woman of the 20th century. She proved that even African-Americans (especially females) can make outstanding achievements. Backround Information Mary McLeod Bethune was born on July 10th in 1875, to Samuel and Patsy McLeod, in Mayesville, South Carolina.
She was the 15th child out of her parents’ 17, and was the first one born a free slave. Mary was also the first child within her family to be able to attend school. She first attended Presbyterian Mission School, in Mayesville, South Carolina from 1882 to 1886. About a year later in 1887, she went to Scotia Seminary, and moved on to attend Moody Bible Institute from 1894 to 1895. Three years later, in 1898, Mary McLeod married Albertus Bethune. Within a year, Mary became pregnant and gave birth to her son Albertus McLeod Bethune, in 1899. As the years went on, Mary’s husband (who died in 1919) decided to leave her.
It is said that he felt as though Mary was paying to mush attention to her work, and not enough attention to him. Even though at that point Mary was a single mother, she still managed to be a full time mother as well as an educator. Major Accomplishments In the 1900’s, Mary founded many organizations, helped with the civil rights movement, and became a presidential advisor. In 1935, Mary became a special advisor on minority affairs to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She also campaigned democratic and humanitarian causes, and made a vital contribution to the civil rights movement.
She went on to become the president of the Florida Federation of Colored Women in 1917, founded the Southeastern Federation of Colored Women in 1920, and became the president of the National Association for Colored Women in 1924. She also formed the National Council of Negro Women in 1935, and became the vice-president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1940. Also, in 1935 Mary received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. She received this medal, because she was named “one of the 50 most influential women in America” (Halasa, Malu).
This medal was established to honor all of the highest achievements by an African Negro. After receiving her medal, Bethune was congratulated by many inspirational people, including ministers, presidents, priests, etc. Legacy Mary McLeod Bethune taught at many schools, and spoke at many events. Some of the schools she taught at include the Hanes Institute in Georgia (in 1896), the Kindell Institute in South Carolina (in 1897), and the Palatka Mission School in Florida (in 1899). She also founded the Patsy McLeod Hospital, which was named after her mother. It also served as a training school for nursing students.
However, years later, to cut down on financial problems, the Daytona Institute turned it over to the city of Daytona Beach. Also, in 1914 World War I was beginning to form. This was around the time when Mary had been recommended to give a speech, on the issue of African-American participation in the Red Cross. As a result, she was sent to three states recruiting for the Red Cross. African-Americans eventually became fully integrated into all areas of the Red Cross. Mary is remembered because of this and more, but sadly died on May 18th in 1955, in Daytona Beach, Florida, due to a heart attack.
Conclusion Mary McLeod Bethune once said, “Believe in yourself, learn, and never stop wanting to build a better world”, and to this day people still try to follow in Mary’s footsteps. Ms. Bethune has proven to all that you can achieve what ever you set your mind to. That even African-Americans can do something meaningful with their lives, and that race has no bearing on ones ability. Mary McLeod Bethune was an inspirational African-American woman. She proved that even African-American females can make outstanding achievements, and I find this to be true to this very day.