1937 January 18

Mary McLeod Bethune Delivers Report on Negro Youth to FDR


Mary McLeod Bethune, an African-American educator and civil rights leader, delivered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on this day the report of the National Conference on the Problems of the Negro and Negro Youth, which was held January 6–8, 1937. Bethune was a close friend to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and a member of the “Black Cabinet,” a group of African-American advisers to the First Lady and other sympathetic members of the administration. The conference was one of the few New Deal programs specifically directed toward African-Americans.

In 1935, Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women and received the NAACP’s highest honor, the Spingarn Medal. President Roosevelt himself was not a strong supporter of civil rights, both because of his personal attitudes about race and because he was dependent on the votes of Southern Democrats in Congress for his legislative program.

Visit the Bethune statue in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C.: http://dcmemorials.com/index_indiv0000230.htm

Learn more: Mary McLeod Bethune, Audrey McCluskey, Elaine Smith, Mary McLeod Bethune: Building a Better World, Essays and Selected Documents (1999)

Watch a documentary on Mary McLeod Bethune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrdCu6a2DU

Learn more about Bethune at the National Women’s History Museum: https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/mary-mcleod-bethune/

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