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Annual Bethune Birthday Celebration

July 10 @ 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Celebrating Mrs. Bethune

Who doesn’t love a good birthday celebration? Each year, the National Park Service staff at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS honors Mary McLeod Bethune with events on her birthday. Each of these events highlight her amazing life and showcases her legacy for all to remember. Mrs. Bethune—educator, civil rights activist, presidential advisor, public servant, and champion of women’s rights—was born on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina. In 1974, on what would have been her 99th birthday, a memorial in her honor was unveiled in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. by the organization she founded, the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW). Each year, we incorporate that Memorial into our programming to honor its dedication as the first memorial to an African American and a woman erected on public land in the nation’s capital.

This Year’s Celebrations

This year, the National Park Service is celebrating the 147th Anniversary of the Birth of Mary McLeod Bethune AND the historic unveiling of her statue in National Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol!

Birthday Celebration in Lincoln Park
Sunday, July 10th, 4:00 – 6:30 pm

Join us at Lincoln Park (located at the intersection of East Capitol Street & 11th Street, N.E.) in front of the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial where featured speakers will be Dr. Ida E. Jones, the University Archivist at Morgan State University and the author of “Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, D.C.: Activism & Education in Logan Circle” and Ms. Nilda Comas, the Master Sculptor. Ms. Comas is the sculptor of the statue of Mrs. Bethune that will represent the State of Florida in National Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol.

There will also be a concert by the Chris Sylvester Quintet. In the event of rain, the program will be held at the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church (1301 North Carolina Avenue, N.E.)

Bethune Bus Tour
Tuesday, July 12th, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Join us for an exciting Bus Tour of “Mrs. Bethune’s Washington”. Visitors will learn about Mrs. Bethune’s life and influence in Washington, D.C. on this ranger-led bus tour. The tours will begin at the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) Headquarters located at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004.

Reservations are required. Email reservation requests to BethuneNHS@nps.gov (Due to COVID restrictions tours limited to 60 people or 30 per bus).

Bethune Birthday House Tours
Wednesday, July 13th, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS (1318 Vermont Avenue, N.W.) will be open to the public on Wednesday, July 13th for tours.

Tours will begin on the half hour from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm (no tours will be offered from 12 noon to 1:00 pm)with a limit of 10 people per tour, first come, first served.


July 10
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm