Mary McLeod Bethune 136th Birthday Celebration
Release Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
For Immediate Release
Margaret Miles/Joy Kinard 202-673-2402
National Park Service Commemorates the
Washington, D.C. —The National Park Service (NPS) will sponsor two events this year to commemorate the 136th Anniversary of the birth of Mary McLeod Bethune. In celebration of Dr. Bethune’s birthday, a Civil Rights Preservation Forum will be held at Howard University’s Blackburn Center on Saturday, July 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Blackburn Center is located at 2397 Sixth Street, N.W. Also in celebration of Dr. Bethune’s birthday, a wreath-laying ceremony will be held in Lincoln Park on Sunday, July 10th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Lincoln Park is located at 13th and East Capitol Streets, N.E. in Washington, D.C. Both events are free to the public. No tickets are required.
This Civil Rights Preservation Forum being held at the Blackburn Center celebrates the Civil Rights preservation honoring the National Archives of Black Women’s History which was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune and Sue Bailey-Thurman in the 1940’s. Their efforts through the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. preserved the accomplishments of African American Women now conserved by the NPS. Participants in this one day forum include Dr. Bettye-Collier-Thomas, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Dr. Sonia Sanchez, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Dr. Janette Hoston-Harris and Mr. Mike Wenger.
July 10th is the official birthday of Mary McLeod Bethune. The wreath laying ceremony commemorates the 136th birthday of the African American educator, human rights activist and founder of the National Council of Negro Women. The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Other featured guest speakers include Robert G. Stanton, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior and Dr. Barbara L. Shaw, Chair, National Council of Negro Women, Inc. This event will take place at the Bethune Memorial Statue erected under the leadership of Dr. Dorothy I. Height in 1974. This statue is the first monument to an African American and a woman on federal lands in Washington, D.C.
These programs are part of an ongoing series of public programs offered by the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site to promote public understanding of the history and special places that have been included in the National Park System. For further information, for these events please call (202) 673-2402.
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site is one of several park sites that make up National Capital Parks-East. National Capital Parks-East offers a wide array of historic, cultural, and recreational areas that are part of Washington, D.C. and its eastern environs. The park is comprised of over 8,000 acres of federal land, ranging from community parks and National Historic Sites to unique wetland ecosystems, meadows, and mature hardwood forests.
Did You Know?
Mary McLeod Bethune was invited by President Dumarsais Estimé of the President of Haïti to celebrate the 1949 Haïtian Exposition. She became the first woman to be given the Medal of Honor and Merit, Haïti's highest award.