The initiative of a Leading Lady 

The year was 1904 when Mary McLeod Bethune founded Florida’s Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Girls. Mary was born in 1875 and is one of 17 children. Her parents had grown up as slaves, but she did not let her background keep her from getting an education. After attending Bible college in Chicago, she dedicated herself to educating others at schools in Georgia and South Carolina.

Her work as an educator led her to found the school for girls which would merge with Cookman Institute for Men in 1923 and become Bethune-Cookman College, one of the historically black colleges that still exists today.

Mary was a firm believer in education as a path to racial equality. She focused on vocational education and social activism. In 1935 she founded the National Council for Negro Women. Her work in education and the initiative she took was noticed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who in 1936 appointed her as the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. She would remain in that post until 1943 when she returned to her school in Daytona Beach.

In 1974, she was honored with a memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington D.C. In 1985, she was featured in the U.S. Postage stamp.

One never knows where his/her initiative and work may lead. Mary McLeod Bethune found her purpose in education. She had the initiative and drive to educate others and provide opportunities for growth especially for African American women. Mary’s positive impact throughout the world is a result of a life dedicated in service to others. Her impact is from the compound effect of a great work which started by taking initiative.

Posted by [email protected] On 17 February, 2019 at 3:35 PM  

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