Hard work and divine inspiration remained central aspects of Mary McLeod Bethune’s character throughout her life. A strong and consistent advocate of racial uplift through industrial education and hard work, Bethune embraced Booker T. Washington’s educational perspectives and his advocacy of racial pride and group solidarity. Also sympathetic toward the position held by Washington’s ideological nemesis, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Bethune embraced notions of racial empowerment by seeking both black social autonomy and full integration into the white economic community. Melding the philosophies of both Washington and Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune embraced an ideological position that sought to resolve America’s pressing problem of racial inequality. Her position on race relations, best described as integrated autonomy, was well suited for the turbulent 1930s and 1940s. During her tenure as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Director of the Division of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration (NYA) , Bethune used the philosophy of integrated autonomy as an important vehicle for racial uplift.
Linsin, Christopher E.
"Something More Than a Creed: Mary McLeod Bethune's Aim of Integrated Autonomy as Director of Negro Affairs,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 76:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol76/iss1/4