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Biographies Unit Biographies

Mary McLeod Bethune 1875-1955
Leader of African American Women

Mary McLeod Bethune was born in South Carolina. Her parents were farmers and did not make much money. Bethune worked hard in school so that she could go to college. After college, she became a teacher.

Bethune knew that other African Americans did not have much money, either. Many were treated unfairly. She became a teacher to help them, but soon she wanted to do more. Bethune started a school for African American girls in 1904. She also talked with government leaders to find ways to help African Americans. She worked to get better schools, better jobs, and more just treatment. Bethune started a group for African American women to work on these goals together. Throughout her life, Mary McLeod Bethune did much to improve the lives of African Americans.

Comprehension Check

What did Mary McLeod Bethune do first to help African Americans?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think Bethune was especially interested in helping girls and women?