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October 9, 1925

Mary McLeod Bethune, founder in 1904 of the Daytona [FL] Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls, spoke about her work and her school in the Assembly Hall in the former Calisthenium. In what “J. B.” [Josephine Barclay] referred to in The Miscellany News as “one of the few lectures given at Vassar by a colored woman,” Mrs. Bethune found the facilities and opportunities at Vassar “a great contrast to those of her own people, who, she said, had scarcely gained any ground since the Civil War…. She said the negro simply wants the chance of an ordinary citizen to educate and develop himself, to live on terms of equal opportunity and respect with whites…. The negro feels that he has great possibilities and he believes in them.

“After the lecture, Mrs. Bethune answered questions about her work, and showed that the Daytona school is now a flourishing institution. It has 346 members, a faculty of 32, and takes its students through two years of college…. An institute of this kind is especially necessary in Florida because the laws do not allow negros to be taught by whites, and there is no standard high school for negros in the state.”

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