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Mary McLeod Bethune

1875 - 1955

By  Zeporah H.   - Gotha Middle School, Windermere, Florida.

On July 10, 1875, Patsy McIntosh and Samuel McLeod met their fifteenth child in Mayesville, South Carolina. They named their daughter Mary Jane McLeod. At the age of 10 she began to work in the fields. She spent eight to ten hours a day picking cotton. She was a very hard worker. One day there was a knock at the door; it was Miss Emma Wilson, a schoolteacher at the Presbyterian Church. She offered Mary's mother an education for one of her children. Since Mary was a hard worker and wanted to learn, she was the one her mother sent.

She walked 5 miles to school everyday. After school she would come back home and teach her brothers and sisters to read. She was very smart and learned quickly. She graduated from Miss Emma's class after 3 years. In 1887 she boarded a train to Concord, North Carolina, and headed to a school called Scotia. She met her best friend Abbie Greeley there. In July 1894, she graduated. She then began to work on a school for black girls. On October 3, 1904, she opened the doors to her Daytona Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro girls. Only 5 girls showed up, aged 8 to 12.
She married Albertus Bethune and he helped her to start her school. Her school is now called Bethune-Cookman College. At the age of eighty she died at home in May of 1955. She was buried on the campus of her school. She left behind a son, a grandson, and six great-grandchildren.

 

Sources :
"World Book"
"Mary McLeod Bethune Educator by Maly Halasa"
"Mary McLeod Bethune Teacher with a Dream by LaVere Anderson"
"Building a Dream by Richard Kelso"
"Voice of Black Hope by Milton Meltzer"



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