Abstract Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was an African American educator that founded Bethune Cookman College in the early 1900’s, one of the first historical black colleges. Dr. Bethune also founded the National Council of Negro Women; this organization is essentially responsible for representing the international concerns of black women and it also gives black women the understanding of their goals for social justice, equality and human rights through united, constructive action.
Beyond education Dr. Bethune helped bring together African Americans in the informal Federal Council on Negro Affairs, also known as the black cabinet that advised President Roosevelt. Dr. Bethune’s education includes Maysville Presbyterian Mission School, Scotia Seminary and the Moody Bible Institute (Dwight Moody's Institute for Home and Foreign Missions. A few political seats that she held include consultant to the U. S. Secretary of War for selection of the first female officer candidates.
Appointed consultant on interracial affairs and understanding at the charter conference of the U. N. Founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Dr. Bethune was the vice-president of the NAACP. Dr. Bethune was awarded the Haitian Medal of Honor and Merit, that country's highest award. In Liberia she received the honor of Commander of the Order of the Star of Africa. I chose Dr. Bethune because my grandmother was inspired at the age of 40 to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and taught for twenty nine years.
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She said that Dr. Bethune inspired her through all of her accomplishments, in spite of the challenges that she faced as an African American women. I too, am inspired by her accomplishments. My goal through research is to learn more about Dr. Bethune’s leadership and hopefully I will be able to emulate some of her characteristics. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Early Life Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was born in South Carolina in 1875. She was one of seventeen children, he parents were both slaves.
In 1888, she received a scholarship to Scotia Seminary in North Carolina; this scholarship began her career as an educator. She graduated from Scotia Seminary about five years later in 1893 and she later enrolled in Moody Bible College in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating Dr. Bethune’s first goal was to become a missionary in Africa, not to become and educator. Dr. Bethune later discovered that African Americans were not generally chosen for missionary assignments to Africa. Dr.
Bethune’s did not let the disappointment of her application deter her drive to educate others; she applied and received teaching positions in Maysville, Georgia and Sumpter, South Carolina. While working as a teacher in Sumpter, South Carolina she met and married her husband Albertus Bethune, they had one child together. Though they were never divorced, Mr. Bethune left the family due to her devotion to her educating African American children. Dr. Bethune was convinced that education was the single tool to use to fight in opposition to African American weakness and poverty.
Dr. Bethune later moved to Florida with her son and husband before their separation. In early 1900, the Florida East Coast railroad construction brought hundreds of African Americans to the areas. She recognized and had a strong desire to improve the lives of uneducated African Americans. Dr. Bethune had a vision, she rented a two story house in Daytona Beach, Florida and opened the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls, at the time the school’s enrollment consisted of five girls and her son. school for African American girls.
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