Written by Guest Curator Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D.
Selma Burke, influenced by Augusta Savage, combined sculpture-making, education, and community engagement into her artistic practice. Burke, like both Savage and the sitter for this portrait educator Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955), established educational centers: one in New York and one in Pittsburgh.
In 1904, Bethune founded the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Girls, now Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune said “Whatever glory belongs to the race for a development unprecedented in history for the given length of time, a full share belongs to the womanhood of the race.”
If you carry loose change or have a change jar at home, you have a Selma Burke portrait: Burke’s portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is on the United States dime.