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Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS

Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS

By her own words and example, Mary McLeod Bethune demonstrated the value of education, a philosophy of universal love, and the wise and consistent use of political power in striving for racial and gender equality.

Mary McLeod Bethune achieved her greatest recognition at the Washington, DC townhouse that is now this National Historic Site. The Council House was the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and was Bethune’s last home in Washington, DC. From here, Bethune and the NCNW spearheaded strategies and developed programs that advanced the interests of African American women.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site has much to offer the visitor, from tours of the historic Council House (the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women) to special programs about the history of African American women.

Scholars wishing to conduct research in the National Archives for Black Women's History should know that the Archives are open by appointment only and that space is limited, often booked, and that one should plan ahead.

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Image Credit: Wayne Hsieh \ Flickr Commons

Hours

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site is temporarily closed due to the installation of a fire suppression and security system.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

There are no fees for touring Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS.

Activities

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site is temporarily closed due to the installation of a fire suppression and security system.

History

By her own words and example, Mary McLeod Bethune demonstrated the value of education, a philosophy of universal love, and the wise and consistent use of political power in striving for racial and gender equality.

The 15th of 17 children of former slaves, Bethune grew up amidst poverty and oppression of the Reconstruction South, yet rose to prominence as an educator, presidential advisor, and political activist. Through her own schooling by missionaries in South Carolina, Bethune recognized the importance of education in the emerging struggle for civil rights.

In 1904 she founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls in Daytona Beach, Florida, which later merged with the Cookman Institute to become Bethune-Cookman College. In 2007, the school became Bethune-Cookman University. Mary McLeod Bethune worked tirelessly to influence legislation affecting African Americans and women and continued to be an important voice for human rights until her death in 1955 at the age of 79.

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Last updated: January 27, 2020
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