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Main > Education & Institutions > Mary Jane McLeod Bethune

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 - May 18, 1955) was born in Mayesville, South Carolina and died in Daytona Beach, Florida. A tireless educator born to former slaves, she is best known for founding a school in 1904 that later became part of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. She was president of the college from 1923 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947, one of the few women in the world who served as a college president at that time. Bethune worked for the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and attempted to get him to support a proposed law against lynching.

She was also a member of Roosevelt's Black Cabinet, among other leadership positions in organizations for women and African Americans. Upon her death, columnist Louis E. Martin said, "She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor." Her house is preserved by the National Park Service as Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, and a sculpture of her is located in Lincoln Park in Washington, DC.

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