Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune is hailed as one of the most influential African American educators and Civil Rights figures, during the first half of the 20th century. Born on a cotton farm in Mayesville, SC., Mary was the 15th out of 17 children born to former slaves. After years of teaching, Mary decided she wanted a school of her own.
She moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, and for just one dollar, and fifty cents, she built The Bethune Institute for Girls. The school later merged with the nearby Cookman Institute for Boys, and became what we know today, as historically Black Bethune-Cookman University.
An advocate for women rights and civil Rights, Mary was appointed as a national adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, becoming a member of his Black Cabinet.