Mary McLeod Bethune: "Protest everything that smacks of discrimination"

Civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune on never giving in to discrimination: 

"If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything... that smacks of discrimination or slander."

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was an African-American educator and one of the preeminent civil rights leaders of the early-to-mid 20th century. In 1904, the education-focused Bethune founded a school for African-Americans girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. That school eventually became Bethune-Cookman University. She served on Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet" and was actively involved in organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women, the National Council of Negro Women, and the National Youth Administration. She died in 1955, one year and a day after the Brown v. Board of Education decision.


"If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything... that smacks of discrimination or slander."

Image Credit: "Mary McLeod Bethune - NARA - 559194" by Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1888-1964, Artist (NARA record: 4772241). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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