Mary McLeod Bethune was born in 1875 to freed slaves on a cotton and rice plantation. When she died, she was living in much different circumstances in what is now the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site.
©National Park Service
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site features this
statue and honors an early civil rights activist.
Starting with only her "faith and a dollar-and-a-half," Bethune founded a teacher-training school for African-American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1904. The school, which she presided over for more than 30 years, became Bethune-Cookman College.
In addition to receiving worldwide recognition as an educator, Bethune was also President Franklin D. Roosevelt's only black female adviser and a close friend of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She worked tirelessly on Capitol Hill to improve the lives of young African Americans during the Great Depression. In 1935, she founded the National Council of Negro Women and became its first president.
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, established in 1991, is the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women and the last home of Bethune. The site consists of two buildings: a fully restored nineteenth-century townhouse and a carriage house. Galleries within the house display photographs, manuscripts, paintings, and artifacts concerning the black women's rights movement.
The Bethune Museum and Archives serves as a central library for the records of Bethune and other black female leaders. The archives and house pay tribute to Bethune and all black women who have made significant contributions to America and the world.
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site Information
1318 Vermont Avenue, NW
Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.