Saturday, February 4, 2017

This Saturday's Evening Post: Mary McLeod Bethune

With all the whoopla about Houston hosting Super Bowl LI, my homage to Black Heritage Month was drowned out until I popped in a pair of ear plugs. Citizens have lost their minds. Fireworks? Really? A group erected a memorable night club in downtown Houston that'll be in business for for all of three days. Only in Texas, right? Well, I say, "Party on, people!" I don't understand all the fireworks in our neighborhood though. Just go to the game already.

So. I am all about equality and the power of women. We are awesome. Mary McLeod Bethune thought so too, and she set out to prove it. Born in Mayesville, SC on July 10, 1875, one of seventeen children, McLeod was the only one to go to school. It is only fitting that she herself would start a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, FL. She became a civil rights activist and an educator. She married Albertus Bethune; their union produced a son, Albert. They divorced in 1907.

Mary became a special advisor to President Roosevelt on minority affairs. She was an early member of the NAACP, and in 1950 President Truman appointed her to a committee on national defense and appointed her to serve as an official delegate to a presidential inauguration in Liberia. Hmm. "A" presidential inauguration?

I was super confused over the identity of the real Mary McLeod Bethune when I was decades younger. The one I learned about in class was not the one presented on television and in print as a Caucasian actress on a soap opera. (The Doctors?) It wasn't until years later that I saw her in an interview, and she cleared up the confusion! Her mother was big on education and named her daughter in honor of the African American Mary McLeod Bethune! The knowledge solidified for me after the U S Postal Service issued a stamp with her likeness in 1985.  I saved one. I just can't find it.

Mrs. Bethune started the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls with only five students, she helped grow the school to more than 250 students over the next years; the school later became Bethune-Coleman College. She also formed The National Council of Negro Women. "I leave you a thirst for education. Knowledge is the prime need of the hour." She left more than those words. The ones I take to heart are these: Next to God we are indebted to women: first for life itself, and then for making it worth living." (

Mary McLeod Bethune:  daughter, woman, mother, educator, activist, American.


  1. what an incredible life Mary McLoed Bethune lived. Children today don't realize just what a privilege it is to attend school.

    1. I agree. A GED isn't the same as a diploma but it's a blessing for those who finally realize the value of education. Than again, today's schools often fail children. I forget to take photos of the new British/American school! It's beautiful. Why aren't public schools as good as private schools? I'm glad we had only one child's education to be responsible for, and her's began at home. Looking back at poor classmates who had to drop out still breaks my heart. They were there in every school we attended.

      Wow. You've got me thinking.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. I used to work with a fellow that said his dad had passed while he was in high school and he was so sick with the cancer a couple of years before he died , this fellow had to quit school and go get a job mopping floors and cleaning waist baskets for a motor company . He got his high school diploma at 40 years of age ...but at least he got it .

  3. It's never too late, is it? Then, too, some of the greatest minds never sat in a classroom. They're rare gems.