Tom Cummins knew a little something about Mary McLeod Bethune. He had read about the civil rights activist in the context of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet,” a group of African American leaders that the president and his wife consulted in shaping their New Deal programs. So when Cummins’ guidebook suggested the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site as an off-the-beaten-path tourist destination, he and his wife, Shelley Potter — who were visiting Washington, D.C., from San Antonio, Texas — were game.

The couple had been to Washington plenty of times before and had seen all the major sights. “We were looking for new places to visit,” Potter said as we made our way through the tall, elegant townhouse with our guide, National Park Service Ranger Vince Vaise. We moved through the stately rooms where Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women, had greeted visitors, and Vaise pointed out her desk and telephone and an enormous dining room table around which she held meetings.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.