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Mary McLeod Bethune

  • ... the drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "Faith That Moved a Dump Heap," in Who, the Magazine About People ()
  • What does the Negro want? His answer is very simple. He wants only what other Americans want. He wants opportunity to make real what the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights say, what the Four Freedoms establish. While he knows these ideals are open to no man completely, he wants only his equal chance to obtain them.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "Certain Inalienable Rights," What the Negro Wants ()
  • In each experience of my life, I have had to step out of one little space of the known light, into a large area of darkness. I had to stand awhile in the darkness, and then gradually God has given me light. But not to linger in. For as soon as that light has felt familiar, then the call has always come to step out ahead again into new darkness.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Margaret Lee Runbeck, Answer Without Ceasing ()
  • Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "My Last Will and Testament," in Ebony ()
  • Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "My Last Will and Testament," in Ebony ()
  • The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "A Century of Progress of Negro Women," speech, Chicago Women's Federation ()
  • [To the White House guard who addressed her as 'Auntie':] Which one of my brother's children are you?

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter ()
  • Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Pat McKissack, Mary McLeod Bethune: A Great American Educator ()
  • Cease to be a drudge [in your work], seek to be an artist.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Ebony ()
  • [To the patronizing train conductor who had twice said, 'Auntie, give me your ticket':] Which of my sister's sons are you?

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Eleanor Roosevelt (1955), My Day, vol. 3 ()
  • ... when they learn of Caesar and his legions, we must teach them of Hannibal and his Africans; when they learn of Shakespeare and Goethe, we must teach them of Pushkin and Dumas.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "Clarifying Our Vision With the Facts," in The Journal of Negro History ()
  • Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Audrey Thomas McClusky and Elaine M. Smith, eds., Mary McLeod Bethune: Building a Better World : Essays and Selected Documents ()
  • I thought, maybe the difference between white folks and colored is just this matter of reading and writing. I made up my mind I would know my letters.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Forgiving is not forgetting, it's letting go of the hurt.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Greatness is largely a social accident, and almost always socially supported.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune, U.S. educator, writer, civil rights worker

(1875 - 1955)

Full name: Mary Jane McLeod Bethune.