The 22-cent stamp commemorating the noted educator and social activist Mary McLeod Bethune, the eighth in the Black Heritage Series, was issued March 5, 1985, in Washington, DC. The dedication ceremony was held at the Departmental Auditorium.
Mary McLeod Bethune was born in Mayesville, South Carolina, in 1875. She was one of seventeen children in her family. Through the beneficence of a rural school teacher, she was taken out of her family's cotton fields and sent to Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina, to receive an education.
In 1904, with only $1.50 in her pocket but with great hopes and dreams, she rented a rickety, two-story frame building and, with only five students, the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls was born. In 1923 the former grade school was merged with Cookman Institute to become Bethune-Cookman College with 600 students, thirty-two teachers, and Mrs. Bethune as president.
In addition to her role as educator, Bethune was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to head the Negro Division of the National Youth Administration, the highest government job then held by a black woman. In 1935 Mrs. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women, forming a coalition of the leading black women's organizations of her day.
The stamp was designed by Jerry Pinkney of Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Typographer was Bradbury Thompson; art director was Jack Williams; modeler was Richard C. Sennett. The gravure process was used. The stamps were issued in panes of fifty.
Reference: Postal Bulletin (February 14, 1985)
Scott Catalogue USA: 2137
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Museum ID: 1999.2004.425