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Mary McLeod Bethune Mary McLeod Bethune was born on July 10 1875 in Mayesville South Carolina She was the fifteenth out of seventeen children but the most successful Her parents were slaves and they considered education to be very important She entered the local Presbyterian Mission School for Negroes With the help of scholarships part-time jobs and familial sacrifice she was able to attend from 1888 to 1894 Scotia Seminary now Barber-Scotia College in Concord North Carolina Aspiring to work as a missionary in Africa she studied at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago graduating in 1895 The Presbyterian Mission Board however turned down her application for a missionary post She returned to the south where she secured a series of teaching positions in Georgia and South Carolina She married Albertus Bethune and bore a son in 1899 Afterwards Albertus Bethune died Bethune settled in Daytona Florida where she founded in October 1904 the Daytona Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls In 1923 however she agreed to merge with Cookman Institute a Methodist school for Negro boys forming the Bethune-Cookman College Bethunes pioneering work in black education earned national acclaim In many respects she was as difficult a fund-raiser as Booker T Washington Like him she adhered to an educational philosophy that stressed teacher preparation industrial training and domestic arts good manners and Christian virtue She soon attracted the attention of white political leaders serving as adviser on black education and racial affairs in the Coolidge administration From 1936 to 1945 under the New Deals National Youth Administration Bethune served as director of the Division of Negro Affairs She well understood the need for blacks to marshal political power and acquire advanced education as strategies in the ongoing struggle for equal rights In 1935 she founded and served as president until 1949 of the
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