About This Lesson
As a historic unit of the National Park Service, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The site also is within the boundaries of the Logan Circle Historic District. This lesson is based on the Historic Resources Study for Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, as well as other materials on Bethune and the National Council of Negro Women. The lesson was written by Brenda K. Olio, former Teaching with Historic Places historian, and edited by staff of the Teaching with Historic Places program and Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, government, civics, and geography courses in units on the Civil Rights Movement, African American history, women's history, the New Deal, and political activism.
Time period: Early to mid 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To explain the status of African American women in the first half of the 20th century
2) To describe Bethune's goal of achieving equality for African Americans and explain the tactics she used to further this goal
3) To describe how Bethune overcame challenges of race and gender and became an influential political activist
4) To explain the purpose and work of the National Council of Negro Women during Bethune's tenure as president and beyond
5) To identify and report research findings about local sites honoring African Americans and women
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) one map of the Logan Circle area of Washington, D.C.;
2) four readings on Mary McLeod Bethune and the National Council of Negro Women;
3) six photos of the Council House, Bethune, and NCNW members;
4) two floor plans of the Council House.
Visiting the site
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site is located at 1318 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20005. The site is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The National Archives for Black Women's History is open by appointment only. For more information, visit the park's website. The Council House also is within the boundaries of the Logan Circle Historic District. This district is bounded roughly by Q Street on the north, N Street on the south, 11th Street on the east, and 14th Street on the west. For more information, visit the Logan Circle Community Association's website.