Mary McLeod Bethune
Now in paperback!

Mary McLeod Bethune

Building a Better World, Essays and Selected Documents
Edited by Audrey Thomas McCluskey and Elaine M. Smith
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/22/2001
Format: paper 336 pages, 18 b&w photos, 1 bibliog., 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21503-1
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“From this documentary portrait, a talented and multifaceted contributor to the black experience in the 20th century United States emerges. Much is owed to Bethune, and readers gain an appreciation of that debt.” —Choice

This volume explores the multi-faceted career of Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) in her roles as stateswoman, politician, educational leader, and social visionary. It offers a unique combination of original documentary sources and analysis of Bethune’s life and work. The more than 70 documents, spanning 53 years of Bethune’s public life, include letters, memoranda, position papers, newspaper columns, interviews, and speeches. Essays by the editors relate these documents to the phases of Bethune’s career.

Author Bio

AUDREY THOMAS McCLUSKEY is Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies at Indiana University and has had a long association with the National Women’s Studies Association. She has published widely on Bethune and other women activists and educators.

ELAINE M. SMITH is on the history faculty at Alabama State University. An authority on Bethune, she provided the introductions to the Guides to the Mary McLeod Bethune Papers.

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Table of Contents


I. In Pursuit of Unalienable Rights: Mary McLeod Bethune in Historical Perspective (1875-1955)
II. Self-Revelations: “Like Bruises on an Oyster” (1940-1955)
III. Educational Leadership: “The Unfolding of My Soul (1902-1942)
IV. Woman Activism: “We Are Being Heard!” (1917-1949)
V. Politics and Public Issues: Stateswoman in Washington (1936-1945)
VI. The Last Years: “Building a Better World” (1951-1955)
Milestones: A Selected Chronology