Mary McLeod Bethune was a child of former slaves. She graduated from the Scotia Seminary for Girls in 1893. . Bethune became the one and only child in her family to go to school, believing that education provided the key to racial advancement.
One of the nation's leading educators and activists, Mary McLeod Bethune spent much of the rest of her life devoted to social causes after leaving Bethune-Cookman College in 1942. Eventually returning to Florida in her retirement, Bethune died on May 18, 1955, in Daytona, Florida. She is remembered for her work to advance the rights of both African Americans and women.