Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Written by: Jhada Walker and Keisha Boyd


When you think of the women who have impacted us most in this world, you associate powerful attributes such as tenacious, unbreakable, brave and brilliant.  These are just a few characteristics of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.  She was a voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves and made it her life’s work to empower them, as well.  Dr. Bethune is one of our world’s greatest leaders and is the epitome of a Woman on the Move.

Dr. Bethune was unapologetic in her desire to educate and uplift women of color.  This was evident in her pursuit of what is now internationally known as the great Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU).  She started Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls with just $1.50 and five little girls in 1904.  When the city gave her a dumpsite for her school, she was not discouraged.  She kept pushing because she knew this work would change the world.  Dr. Bethune’s school taught young women to become independent and self-sufficient by sharpening their home-making skills.  Educational courses, including business and mathematics, were eventually implemented.  She increased the school’s enrollment into the hundreds in her first couple of years and eventually merged with an all boys school to become Bethune-Cookman College.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of ONYX.