Timeline Description: Mary McLeod Bethune (born July 10, 1875) was an educator, philanthropist and civil rights activist active in Florida in the first half of the 20th century. Bethune served as an advisor to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was eventually known as the "First Lady of the Struggle" for her key role in advocating civil rights for African Americans.
|July 10, 1875||Birth of Mary Jane McLeod
Mary Jane McLeod was one of 17 children born to freed slaves living in poverty in South Carolina. She was the only one of the children to attend school.
|1884||Entered Miss Wilson's School
She began attending a school opened by a local missionary, Miss Wilson. She remained at Miss Wilson's school until she received a scholarship in 1887 to Scotia Seminary.
|1887||Entered Scotia Seminary
In 1887, McLeod entered Scotia Seminary in North Carolina. She would remain there for six years. She graduated from Scotia Seminary in 1893.
|1893||Moody Bible Institute(1893 to 1895)
Between 1893 and 1895, Mary McLeod studied at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Having completed her education, McLeod began teaching in 1895. She worked in small schools for African American girls.
|1898||Married Albertus Bethune
Mary McLeod married fellow teacher Albertus Bethune in 1898. They had one son together, born in 1899. The marriage ended in 1907.
|1904||Opened Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls
In her own life, Bethune recognized the value of education. She began her school with only five students, but it grew to 250 students over the coming years.
|1912||First Student Completed 8th Grade
In 1912, the first of Mary McLeod Bethune's students completed 8th grade in her school.
|1924||President of National Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Bethune was elected President of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. This is her first significant role in the civil rights movement.
|1925||Merger of Bethune and Cookman Colleges
Around 1925, Bethune's school merged with the Cookman College for Men. Bethune retained a leadership role in the combined institution. The merge may have occurred as early as 1923 or as late as 1929. She remained with the college until 1942.
|February 18, 1935||Founded National Council of Negro Women
On February 18, 1935, Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women, taking on a more significant political role in the burgeoning civil rights movement.
|1935||Special Advisor to Roosevelt
With a growing role political role, Bethune became a special advisor on minority issues. She became especially close to Franklin D. Roosevelt's wife Eleanor. The two women remained friends for many years.
|1936||Director of Division of Negro Affairs for the National Youth Administration
In 1936, Bethune was appointed to serve as director of the Division of Negro Affairs. She was particularly concerned with job and educational opportunities for African Americans.
|1943||Moved to National Council of Negro Women Headquarters
After she stepped down from her administrative role in Bethune-Cookman College, Bethune moved to Washington D.C. She spent the next few years living in the National Council of Negro Women headquarters.
|1950||Committee on National Defense(Early 1950s)
In the early 1950s, Bethune served on a committee for National Defense and was sent as a U.S. delegate to Liberia.
|May 18, 1955||Mary McLeod Bethune Died
After a brief period of retirement, Bethune died in 1955 in Florida. Her last will and testament strongly stressed the importance of education for African Americans and women.