Historic Markers Across Florida

Mary McLeod Bethune

Marker ID:  
Location: 105 E. Orange Ave, Daytona Beach, FL
County: Volusia
Coordinates: N 29° 12.582    W 081° 1.005
  29.2097    -81.01675
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Mary McLeod Bethune
—Jackie Robinson Ballpark & Museum —

Just as carefully as Branch Rickey chose Jackie Robinson, he chose Daytona Beach as the site for his "noble experiment." Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman College was born July 10, 1875, in Maysville, South Carolina. She was one of 17 children of Samuel and Patsy McLeod, former slaves. She founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls (now Bethune-Cookman College) in 1904, and served as president from 1904 to 1942 and from 1946 to1947. Her service included: President of the National Association of Colored Women, Director of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration from 1936 to 1944, consultant to the U.S. Secretary of War for selection of the first female officer candidates, consultant on interracial affairs and understanding at the charter conference of the United Nations, founder of the National Council of Negro Women, and vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She attracted national political attention when she worked to register black voters, opened

The college's library to become the first desegregated library in Florida, and advised presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, and Truman on black affairs. Newlyweds Jackie and Rachel stayed in the home of black politician Joe Harris and wife, Duff, on Spruce Street, but had dinners at Bethune Cookman College. Rachel Robinson is quoted as saying: “compared to the adjacent towns, Daytona Beach stood out as a kind of political oasis."

(photo caption)
“Daytona Beach..an island of enlightenment in a sea of bigotry."
Rachel Robinson, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Jackie Robinson,
Daytona Beach, 1946
Photo courtesy of Rachel Robinson


Photo can be found on the HMDB.org web site.