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.
Mary McLeod Bethune was born on July 10, 1875, in Maysville, South Carolina. She was the 15th of 17 children to formerly enslaved parents, but her mother knew from the moment she was born, that Mary was destined to make a change in the world. With her intelligence, quick wit, determination, and faith she was able to be educated and developed the ability to see the big picture, a path through it, and a figurative lantern to light the way for others, especially children. She was able to change lives.
In this episode we take her from “Mary Jane” to “Miss McLeod,” to “Mrs. Bethune;” from impoverished rural South Carolina to a school in North Carolina, to Chicago, and, ultimately, to Daytona, Florida where she established her first school for Black girls in 1904. Mrs. Bethune’s dream changed with each step, and we leave her as she is realizing that she does belong on a national platform.
Join us next time to see how she became known as “The First Lady of the Struggle”, and how Mrs. Bethune swept everyone she met, from sharecroppers to the President of the United States, into her vision for a better world.
Time Travel with The History Chicks
All of our media recommendations will be on the shownotes for Part Two!
If you are interested in learning more about our Field Trip to London in September ’23, or to sign up, please visit Like Minds Travel! We hope to see you there! (Dinner Cruise information for both the London and Paris Field Trips is forthcoming on the same website!)