Mary McLeod Bethune, Part 1 | Palmetto Special


Part 1 begins with Mrs Bethune teaching in Palatka, Florida. She made the decision to move to Daytona and start a new school. Mrs Susie Warren in Daytona helped her locate a site and with $ 1.50 and five little girls as students, Mrs Bethune opened the Daytona Literacy and Industrial School. Some of Mrs. Bethune's philosophy of education is apparent as she convinces a New York teacher to come to Daytona to help with the school. At a conference at Hampton Institute in Virginia, Mrs. Bethune meets members of the National Association of Colored Women, an organization in which she later became very active

In Part 2, Mrs Bethune visits England to further broaden her educational horizon. She receives the Joel E. Spingan Award, presented by the NAACP. She meets with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and accepts a position in his administration

The program includes interviews with Mrs. Oswald Bronson, a student at Bethune-Cookman College when Mrs Bethune was president of the school, Dr Robert Weaver, who served in the "unofficial Black Cabinet" with Mrs. Bethune, and later served as the first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, in addition to being the flrst black member of a presidents cabinet, and Marya McWhirter, a researcher at the Bethune Museum and Archives in Washington, D. C The program closes with a reading of Mrs Bethune's legacy to her people and the nation.

BACKGROUND: Mary Mcleod Bethune was born in Mayesville, South Carolina in 1875. She attended a local mission school, then received scholarships for further studies out-of-state. The illiteracy rate in South Carolina at that time was very high. Mrs. Bethune believed that learning to read was a key to economic opportunity and power, especially among blacks. In Daytona, Florida she started a school fbr Negro girls which grew over the years to become Bethune-Cookman College. Through her travels for fund-raising she became active in club work and eventually served as an advisor on minority affairs to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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