Map 1 shows the location of Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site (denoted by star). At the time of its construction in the mid 1870s, the townhouse that later became the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women was situated in a fashionable residential D.C. neighborhood. By the latter part of the 19th century, this areaeventually known as Logan Circle in honor of Civil War Union General John Loganhad become a popular neighborhood for white upper middle-class businessmen and politicians as the capital city grew. At the end of the century, however, these wealthy homeowners began to relocate toward nearby Dupont Circle.
At the same time, more and more African Americans began moving into the Logan Circle area and other neighborhoods to the north, particularly along U Street between 7th and 16th Streets. By 1920, this entire area had become the center of African American life in the segregated capital city. The U Street corridor featured a large number of businesses and entertainment facilities owned by African Americans, and the surrounding neighborhoods became home to many of the city's most prominent black citizens. When Bethune purchased the Vermont Avenue house in 1943 on behalf of NCNW, neighbors included African American attorneys, ministers, and a doctor.
Questions for Map 1
1. Using a classroom map of the United States, locate Washington, D.C. Next, identify the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site on Map 1. How would you describe its location?
2. Locate the U Street corridor and describe its character in the first half of the 20th century. How many blocks away from Logan Circle is U Street?
3. How did the makeup of the Logan Circle area change over time? Why might this neighborhood have appealed to Bethune and NCNW in the 1940s?
4. Note the location of the house in relation to the White House. How might this have benefited an organization such as NCNW?
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