May 18

Mary McLeod Bethune  –  July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955 

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Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune died on May 18, 1955 in Daytona Beach, Florida at the age of 79.  Bethune is best known for starting the college that has her name today,  Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach.  Bethune served as president of the college from 1923 to 1942 and in 1946 and 1947.  The United Negro College Fund was founded on April 25, 1944 by Bethune and Frederick D. Patterson.  The United Negro College Fund often referred to as UNCF provides scholarships for 39 private historically Black colleges and universities. She also was a national adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Bethune was born in Mayesville, South Carolina to parents who had been slaves. She demonstrated throughout her life the power of education.

(Mary McLeod Bethune), "Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and others at the opening of Midway Hall, one of two residence halls buil - NARA - 533032

(Mary McLeod Bethune), “Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and others at the opening of Midway Hall, one of two residence halls.

In 1904 Bethune started the Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls.  This school eventually merged in 1931 with the all boys Cookman Institute.  This school was functioning as a four year college in the early 1940’s.

Mary McLeod Bethune with a Line of Girls from the School WDL4013

Mary McLeod Bethune with a Line of Girls from the School. c. 1905