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Washington’s Council House

By Linda Tancs

Following the Civil War, a series of townhomes sprung up on Vermont Avenue in Washington, D.C. One of them eventually became the residence of Mary McLeod Bethune, a world-renowned educator, civil rights champion, leader of women and presidential adviser. Her last home in the nation’s capital, it served as the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women. The site was a rallying point for programs designed to address issues such as desegregation, inadequate housing, racial discrimination, health care, employment and the preservation of African American women’s history. Formerly known as the “Council House,” it was declared a National Historic Site in 1982 and subsequently renamed the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. Guided tours are given by park rangers on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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