Ary Bethune was born on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina. Mary was one of seventeen children in her family and one of the only children to go to school. Mary later went on to graduate from college and became a teacher. Mary was a strong believer that the way for African American people to advance and become somebody in life was through the classroom. One of Mary’s most famous accomplishment was the founding the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls in 1904. The school started out with only 5 girls and grew to over 250 girls within the coming years. Mary became the President of the school when it became what we all now know it as Bethune-Cookman college one of the most famous historical black colleges we have today. Bethune also served for many presidents like Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and even the great Franklin D. Roosevelt. While serving for these presidents Mary further the development of African Americans owning home and was on the committee of child health. In 1935 Mary founded the Nation Council of Negro Women. This council would be a driving force to propel Negro women to prosperity in the future.
Mary spent the later years of devoted to social change and leaving Bethune-Cookman in 1942. Mary join the NAACP with her mind set of knowledge is power and became a vocal leader in the Association. Mary later retired and said “I leave you a thirst for education. Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.” Mary later died in 1955. Mary’s drive for education was an empowerment for her era that should be talked about for generations to come.
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