Explore the journey of upward mobility through the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site commemorates the life of Mary McLeod Bethune and the organization she founded, the National Council of Negro Women. The Bethune Council House was Mary McLeod Bethune's last official Washington, D.C. residence and the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women.
Mary McLeod Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida and served as an advisor on African American affairs to four presidents. She was appointed Director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration by President Roosevelt. She was the first African American woman to hold so high an office in the federal government.
The site features the three story Victorian town house which was her home when she was in Washington, D.C. and housed the offices of the National Council of Negro Women and a carriage house in which the National Archives for Black Women's History is located.
The park received a grant to support the Bethune Leadership Institute for Boys and Girls. The institute taught a group of 20 boys and girls about leadership through the historical example of Mary McLeod Bethune. The program used three core concepts exemplified by Mrs. Bethune: social entrepreneur, double burden, and multi-tasker. The particpants also took field trips to the historic site and other parks and were introduced to the vast natural and historic resources of the National Park Service/ National Capital Parks East park sites. All the field trips were aligned with lessons that focus on leadership. The institute gave these selected students an opportunity to be Junior Rangers, ambassadors for t National Capital Parks East, and obtain an experiential education of leadership using Mrs. Bethune's example and the National Capital Parks East as their cause.