because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune is well known as an educator, administrator, and federal government appointee under several Presidents, but she is not always recognized as the in-your-face woman she was. Believing that African-Americans could change things in the U.S. by voting, Bethune went door to door collecting money to pay poll taxes and spent her evenings teaching men and women how to read well enough to pass the literacy exams that were required at that time for people of color to register to vote.

On the night before the election in 1920 in Daytona, Florida, with her efforts having produced one hundred brand new African-American voters, Bethune was approached by no less than eighty Ku Klux Klan members warning her to stay away from the polls. The following day, in open defiance of an organization known to kill, Bethune herself marched her voters to the polls to vote for their very first time -- and the KKK had the common sense not to get in her way.

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