Located in the nation’s capital is the historic first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and the last home of its founder, Mary Mcleod Bethune. Her incredible life and contribution to African American representation makes her a beloved, important figure in our nation’s history.
Mary Mcleod Bethune was a remarkable woman with a varied and extensive background. Born in 1875, she accomplished much in the education, representation, and conservation of the history of African American women and their rights in early America. In 1904, Bethune founded the Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida with only six students and $11. She was the first African American woman to head a federal government agency when President Roosevelt made her Director to the Office of Negro Affairs in 1939. An award winner several times over, Bethune cared only for her work contributing to African American women.
Her legacy is preserved in the Mary Mcleod Bethune National Historic Site where visitors may peruse the original furniture, the photographs, and facsimiles of historic documents among the preserved archives Bethune collected herself. Guided tours are given daily 9-4 and are approximately 45 minutes long. The Bethune Trail is also available and highlights several sites significant to Bethune’s legacy in Washington, D.C. The visitors center, open 9-5, features exhibits and the recorded audio of Bethune’s last speech.