photo of Mary McLeod BethunePhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Mary McLeod Bethune

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Mary McLeod Bethune. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (born Mary Jane McLeod; July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist. Bethune founded the National Council for Negro Women in 1935, established the organization's flagship journal Aframerican Women's Journal, and resided as president or leader for myriad African American women's organizations including the National Association for Colored Women and the National Youth Administration's Negro Division. She also was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom she worked with to create the Federal Council on colored Affairs, also known as the Black Cabinet.

She is well known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida; it later continued to develop as Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune was the sole African American woman officially a part of the US delegation that created the United Nations charter, and she held a leadership position for the American Women's Voluntary Services founded by Alice Throckmorton McLean. For her lifetime of activism, she was deemed "acknowledged First Lady of Negro America" by Ebony magazine in July 1949 and was known by the Black Press as the "Female Booker T. Washington". She was known as "The First Lady of The Struggle" because of her commitment to gain better lives for African Americans.

Born in Mayesville, South Carolina, to parents who had been slaves, she started working in fields with her family at age five. She took an early interest in becoming educated; with the help of benefactors, Bethune attended college hoping to become a missionary in Africa. She started a school for African-American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. It later merged with a private institute for African-American boys and was known as the Bethune-Cookman School. Bethune maintained high standards and promoted the school with tourists and donors, to demonstrate what educated African Americans could do. She was president of the college from 1923 to 1942, and 1946 to 1947. She was one of the few women in the world to serve as a college president at that time.

Bethune was also active in women's clubs, which were strong civic organizations supporting welfare and other needs, and became a national leader. Bethune wrote prolifically, publishing in National Notes from 1924–1928, Pittsburgh Courier from 1937–1938, Aframerican Women’s Journal from 1940–1949, and Chicago Defender from 1948–1955, among others. After working on the presidential campaign for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, she was invited as a member of his "Black Cabinet." She advised him on concerns of African Americans and helped share Roosevelt's message and achievements with blacks, who had historically been Republican voters since the Civil War. At the time, blacks had been largely disenfranchised in the South since the turn of the century, so she was speaking to black voters across the North.

Upon her death, columnist Louis E. Martin said, "She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor."Honors include designation of her home in Daytona Beach as a National Historic Landmark, her house in Washington, D.C. as a National Historic Site, and the installation of a memorial sculpture of her in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. The 17 ft bronze statue, unveiled in 1974, “is the first monument to honor an African American and a woman in a public park in Washington, D.C." The Legislature of Florida designated her in 2018 as the subject of one of Florida's two statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection.

Quote: Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of man in white suit standing beside woman in white dress on rock during daytime
Photo Credit: Allison Heine

Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.


Quote: Knowledge is the prime need of the hour. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.


Quote: Forgiving is not about forgetting, it's letting go of the hurt. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Forgiving is not about forgetting, it's letting go of the hurt.


Quote: I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory.


Quote: Studying goes deeper than mere reading. There are surface nuggets to be gathered but the best of the gold is underneath, and it takes time and labor to secure it. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Studying goes deeper than mere reading. There are surface nuggets to be gathered but the best of the gold is underneath, and it takes time and labor to secure it.


Quote: When they learn of Shakespeare and Goethe, we must teach them of Pushkin and Dumas... Whatever the white man has done, we have done, and often better. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

When they learn of Shakespeare and Goethe, we must teach them of Pushkin and Dumas... Whatever the white man has done, we have done, and often better.


Quote: To those of you with your years of service still ahead, the challenge is yours. Stop doubting yourselves. Have the courage to make up your minds and hold your decisions. Refuse to be BOUGHT for a nickel, or a million dollars, or a job! by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

To those of you with your years of service still ahead, the challenge is yours. Stop doubting yourselves. Have the courage to make up your minds and hold your decisions. Refuse to be BOUGHT for a nickel, or a million dollars, or a job!


Quote: Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living.


Quote: Cease to be a drudge. Seek to be an artist. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Cease to be a drudge. Seek to be an artist.


Quote: If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything ... that smacks of discrimination or slander. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything ... that smacks of discrimination or slander.


Quote: For I am my mother's daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

For I am my mother's daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart.


Quote: There is a place in God's sun for the youth farthest down who has the vision, the determination, and the courage to reach it. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

There is a place in God's sun for the youth farthest down who has the vision, the determination, and the courage to reach it.


Quote: We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.


Quote: We live in a world which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

We live in a world which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force.


Quote: The whole world opened to me when I learned to read. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.


Quote: Whatever glory belongs to the race for a development unprecedented in history for the given length of time, a full share belongs to the womanhood of the race. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Whatever glory belongs to the race for a development unprecedented in history for the given length of time, a full share belongs to the womanhood of the race.


Quote: Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.


Quote: I never stop to plan. I take things step by step. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

I never stop to plan. I take things step by step.


Quote: The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood. by author Mary McLeod Bethune overlaid on photo of photo of author Mary McLeod Bethune with quote

The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.


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