NewsScan Daily, 8 February 2000 ("Above The Fold") (fwd)

Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 17:14:35 EST

Dear edequity members,
Some of you may be interested in the honorary subscriber listed in the
NewsScan Daily today...Mary McLeod Bethune. I forwarded it to our middle
school humanities teacher for Women's history week...
hemphill <>
       Today's Honorary subscriber is the American educator turned social
reformer, Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955). The youngest of 17 children of
former slaves, as a child growing up in South Carolina she attended the
local free school and won a scholarship to Scotia Seminary in North
Carolina, eventually graduating from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. Her
initial intention was to become a missionary teacher in Africa, but she
abandoned this goal upon learning that as a black woman she would be denied
that opportunity. Instead she taught at a number of black colleges in the
U.S. before moving to Florida in 1899 to open her own mission school. In
1904 she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute, which
eventually grew to become in 1929 the Bethune-Cookman College.
       Despite the obvious burdens she experienced in building her
into a large and prosperous school, Mary Bethune found time and energy to
organize and inspire thousands of black women to become involved in social
and political issues such as segregation, discrimination, and international
relations. Under her leadership these women were mobilized to form the
National Association of Colored Women and the National Council of Negro
Women. Her work with these organizations brought her to the attention of
Eleanor Roosevelt, who recruited her as a voice for black concerns in the
Roosevelt administration.
       In 1935, Bethune was appointed an adviser to the National Youth
Organization, an agency to help young people find work during the
and World War II. In 1942, she retired as president of Bethune-Cookman
College and went to Washington as adviser to the president on minority
affairs and director of the Division of Negro Affairs within the National
Youth Administration. While in Washington she founded the Federal Council
on Negro Affairs, a group known informally as the "black cabinet" and made
up of blacks in government who sought to generate support for the New Deal
among the black population while working to generate support within the
government for anti-discrimination policies.
          Through her efforts to promote full citizenship rights for all
African-Americans and her feminist perspective, Mary McLeod Bethune came to
symbolize the dual role black women played as activists for the rights of
blacks and women. At the time of her death Mary McLeod Bethune was
acknowledged to be the most influential black woman of her day.

See for an
inspirational biography written for young children. (We donate all revenue
received from our book recommendations to literacy action progams.)


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