A Celebration of Mary McLeod Bethune

March 10, 2022 ~ 7:00pm ET
Jill Watts, California State University San Marcos
Donnis Barkley, U.S. Capitol Historical Society

Celebrate renowned educator Mary McLeod Bethune, a statue of whom will soon be placed in the United States Capitol!

Historian Jill Watts will explore Mary McLeod Bethune’s life, in particular her important work during the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As a leader of the “Black Cabinet” — a group of prominent African Americans in and around government — Dr. Bethune was instrumental in advancing the needs and interests of the Black community through the New Deal era and World War II.

Donnis Barkley, Education Specialist at the United States Capitol Historical Society, will also share resources available for K-12 educators and their students.

Dr. Jill Watts is a Professor of History at California State University San Marcos where she teaches United States Social and Cultural History, African American History, Film History, and Digital History. In addition to The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt, she is also the author of Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood; Mae West: An Icon in Black and White; and God, Harlem USA: The Father Divine Story. Both the books on Hattie McDaniel and Father Divine have been optioned for film. She has consulted on two PBS documentaries and have talked with radio hosts nationally and internationally about African American History, Women’s History, and Film History. She has served as the History Department’s Chair, the coordinator of the History Graduate Program, the program director of Film Studies, and the co-director of Women’s Studies. She also helped establish the Digital History component for CSUSM’s History graduate degree. Jill believes passionately that knowing history is necessary and practical, especially in these times. The people of the past and their sacrifices offer us wisdom for our present and guide us for the future.

Donnis Barkley recently joined the staff of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society as Education Specialist. Previously, she had 26 years of classroom experience, most of those years as a 6th grade ELA teacher. Teaching reading through a history lens has always been important to Donnis, and she is excited to bring her teaching experience to the expansion and development of educational programming of USCHS.