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Mary McLeod Bethune
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Educator
    (July 10, 1875-May 18, 1955)
    Born in Mayesville, South Carolina
    Founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls (1904)
    Merged with the Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida and became a co-ed high school (1923)
    Became a junior college and renamed the Bethune-Cookman College (1931)
    Became a 4-year college in 1941 (located in Daytona Beach)
    College president from 1923-42 and 1946-47
    Member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Black Cabinet
    Awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal (1935)
    Died of a heart attack in Daytona Beach at age 79
    She was one of 17 children.
    She wanted to become a missionary in Africa but was told black missionaries were not needed.
    When she started her all girls school, it consisted of six students: five girls and her son.
    She was constantly asking for donations to keep her school afloat.
    She didn't seek contributions from whites until a visit from Booker T. Washington convinced her that the practice was not only OK but a real way to educate white America.
    Every time she saw a drunk black man, she would sermonize him about 'shaping up.'
    As an able-bodied woman, she carried a cane only for 'swank.'
    She was the daughter of former slaves.
    Married in 1898, her husband up and left her nine years later without divorcing her.
    Her school had one of the highest academic rates of all black schools in Florida and rivaled most white schools.
    While she was helping to get blacks registered to vote, the KKK tried to dissuade her (without success).
    When one Daytona resident threatened her pupils with a rifle, she had a talk with him and he did a 180, offering to protect them.
    She became a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt.
    Her goal in life was to educate both whites and blacks about the struggles and accomplishments of black people, the need for unity and the foolishness of segregation.
    In 1973 she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Credit: Scar Tactics & Black Chic


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