"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mary McLeod Bethune

This c. 1925 portrait of Mary Mcleod Bethune (1875-1955) by Winold Reiss hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
 "The fifteenth of seventeen children born to her formerly enslaved parents, Mary McLeod Bethune believed deeply in education as the main route out of poverty for herself and other African Americans. In 1904 she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute -- a school for black girls in Daytona, Florida. By 1929 that institution had blossomed into Bethune­Cookman College. But perhaps Bethune's greatest impact came in the mid-1930s with her service as an adviser for the New Deal's National Youth Administration, which had been established to aid the jobless youth of the Depression. She used her position as a platform to become a powerful voice against racial discrimination throughout the federal government. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an order in 1941 requiring equal consideration for African Americans seeking jobs in the government and in the nation's defense industries, there was little doubt that Bethune's lobbying had played a major role in bringing it about." -- National Portrait Gallery

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