"If our people are to fight their way up out of bondage we must arm them with the sword and the shield and buckler of pride – belief in themselves and their possibilities, based upon a sure knowledge of the achievements of the past."
- Mary Macleod Bethune
This painting of Mary Macleod Bethune is part of the series "Portraits of Outstanding Americans of Negro Origin Painted by Two Women Artists", compiled 1943 to 1963. The painting is from the National Archives at College Park, Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division.
Mary Macleod Bethune was an American educator and civil rights activist. She established the Bethune-Cookman School for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida and co-founded the United Negro College Fund, which funds scholarships for black students and historically black colleges and universities. She served as an advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of the "Black Cabinet," or Federal Council of Negro Affairs or Black Brain Trust. This was one of the first groups of black leaders who had positions in higher government, and advised Roosevelt on public policy. Bethune was also close friend to Eleanor Roosevelt.
Through her lifelong struggle for equality, Bethune had an impact on the lives of thousands. For example, she worked to get minorities involved in Roosevelt's National Youth Administration programs for employment for young people. In 1943 she had helped 300,000 black youth to get jobs or training.
She passed away in 1955, and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973.