Mary McLeod Bethune's Cane


Mary McLeod Bethune




Imbues others with hope and goodwill, convincing them to aid in noble endeavors


Holding while in possession of a kind heart

Collected by

Agents Rebecca St. Clair and Jack Secord


Academia Avenue





Date of Collection

May 25, 1955



Mary McLeod Bethune was a leader in civil rights for African Americans, particularly in the area of education and women's rights. She was born in 1875 to Sam and Patsy McIntosh McLeod, both former slaves. Most of her siblings were born into slavery. As a child, Mary would accompany her mother to deliver “white people’s” wash. Allowed to go into the white children’s nursery, Mary became fascinated with their toys. One day she picked up a book and as she opened it a white child took it away from her saying she didn’t know how to read. It was that moment Mary decided that the only difference between white and colored folk was the ability to read and write. She was inspired to learn.

Growing up she learned of the vast difficulty black people faced to gain an education, especially in the American south. She believed that the key to elevating the status of her people was through education, especially educating women. She said, "I believe that the greatest hope for the development of my race lies in training our women thoroughly and practically." Her first schoolhouse was in Dayton, Florida, The Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls.

Due to a lack of money, she often had to make due with whatever she could make herself or beg from strangers. Her students sat on benches made of old crates, and wrote with ink made of elderberry juice. Ever the fundraiser, she sought additional funds from her community, strangers, outreach groups, and even wealthy white people. It was through this fundraising that she developed strong friendships with Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She later became a member of his Black Cabinet, a group he gathered of the best and brightest black minds to best serve the needs of black Americans. This, along with enumerable causes and foundations that she created helped to elevate her people from second-class citizens to equals.

She was known for carrying a cane, not because she needed it but for the "swank" it gave her. Some believed it was to give her authority, or an air of need. Bethune was famous for her ability to insight compassion and assistance from others.


When held the cane will enable the user to imbue others with the spirit of goodwill and hope, convincing them to assist in noble causes. The more pure the spirit of the user, the greater the effect. The cane will not work for those with greedy intent.


Collected by Agents Rebecca St. Clair and Jack Secord shortly after her death. After finding out the power of the cane, a white supremacist tried to dishonor her legacy by using the cane to insight intolerance against black people. To his surprise, the cane did nothing for him. Every time Leena came across this artifact during her chores, she would bow her head respectfully and smile.

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