Back-to-school comes earlier in the year for teachers than students, so let’s take a moment to give seasonal honors to
…Author, educator, and African American Civil Rights leader, Mary McLeod Bethune, was born in Mayesville, South Carolina in 1875. The fifteenth child of former slaves, Bethune knew from a young age that education was the key to success. She attended Scotia Seminary School, and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Bethune moved to Palatka, Florida, in 1899 and began teaching.
She moved to Daytona in 1904, and in October of that year opened the Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. She worked tirelessly to keep the school open by gaining support from wealthy benefactors, many from outside Florida.
In 1931 the school was merged with the Cookman Institute, establishing a coeducational junior college known as Bethune-Cookman College (now University). She was involved in a number of civic groups including the National Council of Negro Women, the National Youth Administration (a WPA program), the National Association of Colored Women, the Federal Council of Negro Affairs, and many others. She was a close friend of President Franklin and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and devoted her life to the education and betterment of African Americans.
from Jax Examiner
More on Mary McLeod Bethune:
From National Women’s History Museum
and PBS’s American Experience
and Bethune-Cookman University
More on African American schools in Florida history:
From Orange County Regional History Center
and Palm Beach County History
and a video from 10 Tampa Bay’s “Deep Dive” on current, 2020, teaching of Black history
Also interesting are the Florida highwaymen – a group of 26 black artists who could not get their paintings into museums or galleries in the 1950’s so they sold their art on public highways out of the backs of cars. The Backus Museum in Ft. Pierce has a special section for art by the Highwaymen.
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I really enjoyed seeing that picture – what a slice of history!!!