Remembering the legacy of Mayesville's Mary McLeod Bethune


On Wednesday, Aug. 26, members of the Mary McLeod Bethune Section-Sumter met at the home of the Rev. Joseph and Wilhelmina (niece) Amos, 708 Harvin St., Sumter, and were delighted to mingle, fellowship and pay homage to this site because this is the home where Mary McLeod Bethune stayed overnight as she traveled back and forth from Mayesville to Sumter, Columbia and Florida.

Born in Mayesville, Bethune started a school in Daytona, Florida, and founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935.

Oftentimes on her visits to Columbia for meetings, she would spend the night at the home of Wilhelmina Amos, her niece, and the Rev. Joseph Amos and other family members' homes. President Dorothy A. McBride had an opportunity to interview the grandniece, Kizzy Amos (one of the daughters to Wilhelmina and Joseph), and was given a tour of the home. Kizzy Amos, her grandniece, related how excited she was to have her aunt visit and spend the night. She remembered her aunt saying on one of her visits that "we will get what we want; but it will take some blood shedding to get it."

McBride was shown the bed that Bethune slept in and the table that she graced on many occasions. A great-grandniece, Rose Colclough, tells the story of Bethune's last visit to Sumter, where she spoke at Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church. After meeting at the church, she had dinner at the house.

Colclough also remembered another saying of Bethune, "Every tub must sit on its bottom."

During COVID-19, the members have been intentional about reaching out to ensure and assist senior members are tested and vaccinated. This fall, the Mary McLeod Bethune Section will focus on health issues that continue to spread widely in the Black community and will highlight the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program. The Section has pledged to continue to honor the legacy of Bethune.

Dorothy McBride is president of the National Council of Negro Women Inc., Mary McLeod Bethune Section-Sumter.