Archive for 2023

Episode 224: Mary McCleod Bethune, Part Two

Posted 9 March 2023 by
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Circa 1949 via LOC

When we left Mrs. Bethune in Part One, she was improving and growing her school campus and helping her entire community along the way. Now she’s going to kick it into high gear: a national stage, increased organizational involvement, presidential appointments, and turning her school from one building and five students…to a co-educational college. She stood on picket lines, sat in committees, campaigned for the American Red Cross, and founded the National Council of Negro Women. She was an advisor to presidents, helped form the United Nations, ran a government agency during the FDR years, and was on the ground floor of civil rights issues that would build throughout the century and beyond…and those are just some of the things we talk about, there was so much more work she did that it made us wonder how she got it all done in a lifetime. Not everything she touched was a success, but as a model of how to warm hearts and minds to bring education and equality to the forefront of both, she was a lifelong success.

Mary McLeod Bethune died on May 18, 1955, at the age of 79, the work she did is still rippling around the world to this day. She is buried on the campus of her beloved institution, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Time Travel With The History Chicks


Emma Gelders Sterne
By Rackham Holt
Dr. Ashley N. Robinson
Nancy Ann Zrinyi Long
Dr. Ida E. Jones
By Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (Collection of her writing)

Andrea Broadwater


You can visit Mrs. Bethune’s former home in Washington, it’s a National Historic Site and while, at the time of recording, her former home on the campus of Bethune-Cookman is closed, it is set up for tours when it reopens if you find yourself in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Bethune-Cookman University not only has a lot of information on Mrs. Bethune, but it’s also a major part of her legacy! Here’s a starting spot, the history of the school, but poke around and you’ll see her all over the place. Check out the Athletics page for a delightful photo of her with the 1924 football team and there are tons of rabbit holes to tumble down in their Oral History Collection.

National Women’s History Museum has an entry for her, so one might assume once they become a brick-and-mortar, Mrs. Bethune will have a place. While they have an amazing website, the museum is staging it’s first physical exhibit this March 2023 at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in D.C. Here’s a page where you can get more information on that: National Women’s History Museum

The NCNW is still a very active organization, find out more at this link: NCNW

And here’s information and photos of her statue in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.

You should read her beautiful last will and testament, it’s available on the Bethune-Cookman University website.

We talked briefly about nurse Frances Reed Eliott Davis, here’s a place to start learning more about her!

Moving Pictures!

Excerpt from Bethune21 documentary on Vimeo

There are still spaces to join us in London this September 2023, get more information and sign up at Like Minds Travel

End music, Keep On by Kat Web via iLicense Music. Listen on Spotify

Episode 223: Mary McLeod Bethune, Part One

Posted 23 February 2023 by
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Miss Bethune as a young teacher via LOC

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, or “Mrs. Bethune” because this is a woman who requires our respect, touched almost every aspect of women’s and civil rights in the first half of the 1900s. She was, quite simply, born to carry the light for others to follow. From African American voting rights to suffrage to education, social work, and beyond, she was there there for all of it and there is no way her life and impact can be put into one episode, we need two.


Episode 222: Frances Perkins, Part Three

Posted 26 January 2023 by
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We left Frances as she ascended to a top spot as the Industrial Commissioner of the state of New York, under governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was going toe-to-toe in the press with President Herbert Hoover about the state of the economy. He said it was turning, she was proving he was lying. Pretty bold of her, non?


Episode 221: Frances Perkins, Part Two

Posted 9 January 2023 by
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Frances and her tricorn hat du jour, in 1915. Library of Congress

We knew Frances’ life would take more than one episode, but we didn’t think that it would take three, boy were we wrong! Part Two begins just after Frances’ witnessing of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire and it’s impact on the deepening of her resolve to use her skills for the betterment of American citizens. She began in New York State government, first under Governor Al Smith and then Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She used her intelligence, honesty, and connections to help millions of New Yorkers, and setting an example for women along the way. We also explore her life as a married woman and as a mother, too, she wasn’t all business, you know!

First as a member of the New York State Industrial Commission, and then as the Commissioner of that 1800-employee department, Frances received a crash, hands-on course in workplace issues, specifically Labor v. Management disputes. She researched all the angles, faced a great deal of dangers, and created solutions (and laws to back them up) to make workplaces safe and compensation fair for employees. She also was able to focus a great deal of time on orchestrating legislation that gave women and children workers the safety nets that Unions were able to provide for men.

We take Frances through to her public battles with President Herbert Hoover as she saw the finances for the average family about to take a severe hit in the late 1920s, something he and his government denied. But, as we all know, it’s going to be really hard to deny what happened in that regard in 1929.

Like, impossible.

In Part Three, we’ll take her through the years when she was able to make significant and lasting changes on a federal level–changes still in place today. All media recommendations with be on the shownotes for that episode, although we do talk about this episode on Lillian Gilbreth from 2015 that you might want to listen to before then.