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.


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



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.



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.



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.



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!



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



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



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.



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



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.



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.



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.



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



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



Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.



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.



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



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



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




More Quotes to Explore:

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'Hunger Games' is a tried-and-true tale about a totalitarian society. It's more similar to China than America, but it's also similar to Nazi Germany and anywhere where the populace gets semi-brainwashed into serving the agenda of a very few.


photo of author Elden Henson with quote

'Hunger Games' was an awesome job. I never had to learn any lines. I never had to do any ADR.


photo of author Michael Fassbender with quote

'Hunger' definitely changed my life, in terms of being recognized by filmmakers, since that was very much a filmmakers' film.


Katori Hall quote: 'Hurt Village' is based on a real housing project in Memphis, about three minutes away from the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. King was assassinated, so in my work I'm focusing on a very specific area in Memphis. I see 'Hurt Village' as a natural extension of 'The Mountaintop.'- black text on quotes background

'Hurt Village' is based on a real housing project in Memphis, about three minutes away from the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. King was assassinated, so in my work I'm focusing on a very specific area in Memphis. I see 'Hurt Village' as a natural extension of 'The Mountaintop.'


man in red shirt sitting on white suv during daytime
Photo Credit: Alexandre Barbosa

'Hustle and Flow' came out, and I was really rooting for 'Hustle and Flow' because, you know, it was a hip-hop movie, and it was a good movie. It was well acted.


Robert Vaughn quote: 'Hustle' is wonderfully enjoyable because all my life, I've made an effort to be with people who can make me laugh. That original cast -- Marc Warren, Jaime Murray, Robert Glenister and Adrian Lester -- are all funny. So I know every day I'll have a few good laughs.- black text on quotes background

'Hustle' is wonderfully enjoyable because all my life, I've made an effort to be with people who can make me laugh. That original cast -- Marc Warren, Jaime Murray, Robert Glenister and Adrian Lester -- are all funny. So I know every day I'll have a few good laughs.


Jazz Jennings quote: 'I Am Jazz' was more for children to understand what it means to be transgender, but with 'Being Jazz,' I wanted to get the universal message across that we are all just people, and we have to live our lives authentically.- black text on quotes background

'I Am Jazz' was more for children to understand what it means to be transgender, but with 'Being Jazz,' I wanted to get the universal message across that we are all just people, and we have to live our lives authentically.


photo of author Richard Matheson with quote

'I Am Legend' is quite unusual for its time. I just wanted to write a story about female boxers, and I couldn't get that going in my mind. I don't know exactly where the idea of just a man pitting himself against a robot boxer came from.


photo of author Francis Lawrence with quote

'I Am Legend' was a rich, emotional experience where you could be scared and cry, and there's some wish fulfilment.


photo of author Callan McAuliffe with quote

'I Am Number Four' definitely borrows from a whole bunch of genres and has a whole bunch of different themes throughout. And I think if it was just one stale two-dimensional thing then it would be kind of boring. And I think they did a fantastic job.


photo of author Alex Pettyfer with quote

'I Am Number Four' is a great story about a guy who's trying to find his destiny and figure out who he is and his identity.


photo of author Alex Pettyfer with quote

'I Am Number Four' is an action-packed adventure entwined with a romantic story. I play the role of John Smith. John wants to be a normal kid, but he is from a different planet and he has been given this destiny of becoming a warrior.


photo of author Summer Sanders with quote

'I Got a Feeling' by the Black Eyed Peas -- Reminds me of happy, fun times with my friends and makes me want to jump around.


photo of author Ben Lovett with quote

'I Just Might Pray' by The David Mayfield Parade has an upbeat tempo without being sugary sweet. 'I Just Might Pray' is an enjoyable track and is easily listened to. As a side note, the video for 'I Just Might Pray' is absolutely adorable.


Ellie Goulding quote: 'I Know You Care' is about my dad. And I haven't seen him for a long, long time. And my parents divorced when I was really young. And I guess I just wanted a -- it was my way of saying that I wasn't bitter or angry anymore. I was just sad and just felt like something was missing.- black text on quotes background

'I Know You Care' is about my dad. And I haven't seen him for a long, long time. And my parents divorced when I was really young. And I guess I just wanted a -- it was my way of saying that I wasn't bitter or angry anymore. I was just sad and just felt like something was missing.


photo of author Ellie Goulding with quote

'I Know You Care' is really personal and fragile for me. For me, it's about losing a family member and also about a breakup. It's about this idea of losing someone for good.


Tom Shales quote: 'I Love Lucy,' the first classic, really belonged more to the Wacky Woman genre than the domestic sitcom; 'My Little Margie' and 'I Married Joan' were among the shrill, coarse imitations.- black text on quotes background

'I Love Lucy,' the first classic, really belonged more to the Wacky Woman genre than the domestic sitcom; 'My Little Margie' and 'I Married Joan' were among the shrill, coarse imitations.


photo of author Bill Cosby with quote

'I Spy' represents the absence of the tension of the black man or black woman or anyone of that color walking in, so that the white racist person can become entertaining to a viewer.


photo of author Tory Lanez with quote

'I Told You' is for all the people who've been doubted, the underdogs.


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