Members of the community joined several distinguished guests in celebrating the 135th anniversary of the birth of Mary McLeod Bethune on Saturday, July 10th. The program also featured a special tribute to the late Dr. Dorothy Irene Height.
The event was originally planned to take place at the Bethune Memorial Statue in Lincoln Park, the first monument to an African American or woman on federal land in Washington, DC. However, heavy rains early in the day forced much of the day’s events to be relocated to the nearby Lincoln Park United Methodist Church. Regardless of the inclement weather, several hundred visitors were still in attendance.
Starting at 10:00 a.m., a tribute to Dr. Height included the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard and the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church Celebration Choir, as well as messages from National Capital Regional Director Peggy O’Dell, former National Park Service Director Dr. Robert Stanton, National Council of Negro Women Chair Dr. Barbara Shaw and other distinguished guests.
In the afternoon, former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Mary McLeod Bethune’s great great grandson Christopher Bethune, James Roosevelt, the grandson of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and newly appointed National Capital Parks—East Superintendent Alexcy Romero spoke, followed by a wreath laying ceremony in honor of Mary McLeod Bethune by the National Park Service Honor Guard. Joining the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site in the celebration were co-sponsors, the National Council of Negro Women and the National Children’s Museum.