Mary McLeod Bethune

Bethune photographed by Carl Van Vechten on April 6, 1949
The cabin in Mayesville, South Carolina 
where Mary McLeod was born
Mary McLeod Bethune with girls from the Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in Daytona, c. 1905.
Marian Anderson celebrated contralto and Mary McLeod Bethune, Director of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration at the launching of the SS Booker T. Washington with unidentified workers who helped construct the first Liberty ship named for an African American at the California Shipbuilding Corporation's yards by Alfred T. Palmer.
Mary McLeod Bethune (left) and Eleanor Roosevelt (center), 1943
Painting of Bethune by Betsy Graves Reyneau
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site in Washington, D.C.
A painting of Bethune on display at the World Methodist Museum, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Mary Bethune bust by Selma Burke

American educator, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist.

- Mary McLeod Bethune

192 related topics


Black Cabinet

The informal term for a group of African Americans who served as public policy advisors to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in his terms in office from 1933 to 1945.

Roosevelt's black advisors in 1938

The term was coined in 1936 by Mary McLeod Bethune and was occasionally used in the press.

National Statuary Hall Collection

Composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history.

Part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Presiding over the Hall, Carlo Franzoni's 1819 sculptural chariot clock, the Car of History depicts Clio, the Greek muse of history.
Sculptor Cliff Fragua, right, poses at the unveiling and dedication of the Po'pay statue in September 2005. The statue is the 100th in the collection.

Statues of Willa Cather (Nebraska), Mary McLeod Bethune (Florida), Daisy Bates (Arkansas), and Barbara Johns (Virginia) have been authorized.

National Council of Negro Women

Nonprofit organization founded in 1935 with the mission to advance the opportunities and the quality of life for African-American women, their families, and communities.

The Dorothy I. Height Building, headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women, located at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of NCNW, wanted to encourage the participation of Negro women in civic, political, economic and educational activities and institutions.

National Youth Administration

New Deal agency sponsored by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his presidency.

Poster for the Illinois branch of the National Youth Administration, 1937. Illinois is misspelled
National Youth Administration was a Vocational Guidance--brush-up classes to improve typing ability (Illinois).
NYA float, "Projects for Out-of-School Youth", Inaugural Parade, Washington, D.C., January 20, 1937
Badge belonging to a National Youth Administration Defense Worker
NYA female ordinance worker
NYA worker assembling street signs
National Youth Administration Staff Members, Dexter, Maine
NYA Woman
NYA stone picnic table in Babcock Wayside on the Mississippi River in Minnesota

It operated from June 26, 1935 to 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and included a Division of Negro Affairs headed by Mary McLeod Bethune who worked at the agency from 1936 to 1943.


American philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for black students and general scholarship funds for 37 private historically black colleges and universities.

United Negro College Fund headquarters in Washington, D.C.

UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944, by Frederick D. Patterson (then president of what is now Tuskegee University), Mary McLeod Bethune, and others.

Bethune–Cookman University

Private historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Mary McLeod Bethune with a group of students in 1943
The Marching Wildcats (The Pride) of Bethune–Cookman create the "BCU" formation while playing before a packed Citrus Bowl Stadium at the Florida Classic.

Mary McLeod Bethune founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 1904.

Women's Army Corps

The women's branch of the United States Army.

WAC Air Controller painting by Dan V. Smith, 1943
WAC Signal Corps field telephone operators, 1944
WACs working in the communications section of the operations room at an air force station.
Calling WAAC...
WACs operate teletype machines during World War II.
First Officer Candidate Class, WAAC Officer Training School, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, 20 July – 29 August 1942; reveille.
First Officer Candidate Class, WAAC Officer Training School, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, 20 July – 29 August 1942; instruction in Military Customs and Courtesy.
First Officer Candidate Class, WAAC Officer Training School, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, 20 July – 29 August 1942; close order drill.
Captain Peggy E. Ready looks on as Lt. Gen. Jean E. Engler, Deputy Commander, United States Army Vietnam, cuts the ribbon opening the new WAC barracks area, January 1967
USARV Detachment WACs at Long Binh Post, October 1967
WAAC Insignia
Women's Army Corps anti-rumor propaganda (1941–1945)
First WAC Director Oveta Culp Hobby
First Officer Candidate Class, WAAC Officer Training School, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, 20 July – 29 August 1942; physical training.
First Officer Candidate Class, WAAC Officer Training School, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, 20 July – 29 August 1942; chow line.

Due to her earlier experience serving with director Mary McLeod Bethune of the Bureau of Negro Affairs, she became Colonel Culp's aide on race relations in the WAC.

National Association of Colored Women's Clubs

American organization that was formed in July 1896 at the First Annual Convention of the National Federation of Afro-American Women in Washington, D.C., United States, by a merger of the The FirsNational Federation of African-American Women, the Woman's Era Club of Boston, and the Colored Women's League of Washington, DC, at the call of Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin.

National Association of Colored Women's Clubs Emblem
National Association of Colored Women's Clubs headquarters in Washington, D.C., part of the Sixteenth Street Historic District.
Irene M. Gaines, 15th President

Mary McLeod Bethune – 8th President (1924–1928)

National Women's Hall of Fame

American institution created in 1969 by a group of men and women in Seneca Falls, New York.

Interior of the historic bank, former location of the NWHF
NWHF from across river, in 2022
Interior of NWHF, in historic mill, in 2022

Mary McLeod Bethune

Sumter County, South Carolina

County located in the U.S. state of South Carolina.

Statue of Thomas Sumter on the courthouse lawn in Sumter

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), civil rights activist, feminist, stateswoman, educator, founder of the National Council for Negro Women, born to parents who had been enslaved