Born July 10, 1875, in Mayesville, South Carolina, Mary Mcleod Bethune was one of 17 children. The entire family picked cotton including Mary who worked in the fields from age five. Mary was the only child out of all of her siblings to attend school.

Mary McLeod Bethune, went on to become a renowned educator as well as a civil-rights. In 1904 she founded a private school then named the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls (now known as Bethune-Cookman University).

Bethune even served as an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt a member of his Black Cabinet after working on his 1932 presidential campaign, the later as director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. Bethune also became national president of National Association of Colored Women. In 1973, Bethune was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

The list of her many works is close to infinite. This is just a snapshot of everything she’s contributed to our history. Mary Mcleod Bethune’s progressive works have helped to pave the way for African American women today, which may be why she is the frontrunner to replace Confederate General Kirby Smith as one of Florida’s representatives in a set of statues at the U.S. Capitol.

Today would have been her birthday! Happy Birthday Mary McLeod Bethune and thank you!