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The Educator  LbNA # 10510 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateAug 29 2004
CountyDistrict of Columbia
LocationWashington, DC
Found By
Last Found
Hike Distance?

NOTE: The box has been reported missing as of 11/8/04 but I have not yet gone to check.

Difficulty: Easy (short, flat walk)
Stamp: Hand-carved
Box: Mini. Bring your own stamp pad.

Find the memorial to Mary McLeod Bethune, nestled in a park on Capitol Hill. (NOTE: This is not the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House in Logan Circle.)

Standing in front of the statue, facing Bethune's name, scan the sculpture for the sculptor's mark. Take those numbers and subtract one from the other. Remember the result.

Facing west, look ahead and to your right. You should see a row of planters divided by benches. You will find what you seek hidden in the planter whose number you were to remember, on the side you are closest to as you approach from the monument.

The monument is located in a park that is pretty busy on the weekends with families, dogs and lots of kids. In fact, fittingly, the monument to Mary Bethune is located smack dab in between two playgrounds for children, so you may have to be circumspect in retriving and re-hiding the box. Be careful when you reach into the foliage -- it is some sort of short-needle fir, and those needles can scratch a bit.

The Educator -- Mary McLeod Bethune. Mary Bethune was a child of two former slaves, born poor in South Carolina the 15th of 17 children. As a youngster, she picked cotton in her parents' fields, but she was unhappy with the one-room schoolhouse that was her only educational opportunity.

After managing to get a college scholarship, she traveled, teaching with a special emphasis on educating African-American girls. Eventually she was able to establish a school for girls, which she helped nurture into a university, Bethune-Cookman College.

More than an educator, she was a civil rights leader, leading voter registration drives that earned her visits from the local Ku Klux Klan. She organized clubs of black women throughout the southeast to combat school segregation and the lack of health facilities for African-Americans.

After many years of diligent work, including a number of years in Washington, Mary Bethune was appointed as a child welfare advisor to Calvin Coolidge, and later, as a minority affairs advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, where she continued to work through the Great Depression for minority rights and educational opportunities for women.

This monument to Mary McLeod Bethune was the first erected in our nation's capital to honor the service of a woman of any race.