A Woman to Know: Mary McLeod Bethune

Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it could be a diamond in the rough. — Mary McLeod Bethune

(image via Library of Congress)

"She is a power down here," Langston Hughes wrote of Mary McLeod Bethune.

Hughes was traveling through the South on a reading tour, and Mary had volunteered herself as his guide through Florida. Along the way, she showed Langston the school she had founded for black women, which would later become Bethune-Cookman University; the local women's clubs she'd helped start as a member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet"; and the multiple voting reources she'd instituted throughout the Southeast, to educate black people on disenfranchisement and voting rights.

Hughes was so impressed by her that in his official recording of the visit, he gave her a new title: "Our First Lady of The Struggle."

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