MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE
Birth Name: Mary Jane McLeod
Birthplace: Mayesville, South Carolina
Married: Albertus Bethune
Born to slaves in South Carolina, Mary McLeod obtained a scholarship to Scotia Seminary. This was her springboard to a life as educator and activist. Her lifelong passion was education as a means to improvement of life for black women. She founded a school for women, Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute, which became Bethune-Cookman College, where she served as President for many years.
Mary McLeod Bethune became an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt on the Council of Minority Affairs, and she served as Director of the Division of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration. Her statue in Lincoln Park depicts her carrying a cane; it was a gift to her from President Roosevelt.
She was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women and the National Council of Negro Women. She was unique in championing both “racial advancement” and the cause of women. She campaigned tirelessly for this dual cause, and she was recognized across the globe for her achievements.
Sculpture Notes: Erected by the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.,
Dorothy I. Height, President
Running around the upper edge of the concrete base, in bronze, are the following words: “I LEAVE YOU LOVE. I LEAVE YOU HOPE. I LEAVE YOU THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE IN ONE ANOTHER. I LEAVE YOU A THIRST FOR EDUCATION. I LEAVE YOU A RESPECT FOR THE USE OF POWER. I LEAVE YOU FAITH. I LEAVE YOU RACIAL IDENTITY. I LEAVE YOU ALSO A DESIRE TO LIVE HARMONIOUSLY WITH YOUR FELLOW MAN. I LEAVE YOU FINALLY, A RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. Mary McLoud Bethune (in script).”
Sculptor: Robert Burks
Installation Date: July 10, 1974
Media: Bronze, on concrete pedestal
Location: Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., at the intersection of 12th Street
NE and E Capitol Street.
Date of Photos: October 8, 2011