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Mary McLeod Bethune Home

Explore the historic home of a renowned educator and civil rights leader and gain an insight into her extraordinary life and achievements.

This historic house was the home of African-American civil rights leader and educator, Mary McLeod Bethune. Designated as a national historic landmark in 1974, the building is now a museum honoring Bethune’s career and accomplishments, and offers visitors a look into her fascinating life.

Known as the “First Lady of the Struggle,” Bethune is best remembered as the founder and president of Florida’s Bethune–Cookman University. Noting a lack of higher learning institutions for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Bethune opened the school to fill the void. She also served as advisor to several presidents, including Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, ensuring that the government addressed African-American issues. In 1936, Roosevelt appointed Bethune director of the National Youth Administration’s Office of Minority Affairs, making her the highest-ranking African-American administrator in the federal government at the time.

Observe the home’s modest two-story architecture, which is typical of the 1920s when it was built. View original furnishings and artifacts inside the house where Bethune lived until her death in 1955. Explore her books and photographs and note the many trophies and plaques she received during her lifetime. Admire her figurine collection featuring elephants, animals she admired for their strength and memory.

Visit the guest bedroom where Eleanor Roosevelt, a close friend of Bethune’s, stayed when she visited Daytona Beach. A brick addition at the rear of the house contains archives of Bethune’s papers. Gain an insight into her life by reading personal correspondence and essays. Visit Bethune’s grave and memorial, which are also located on the grounds.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Home is located in downtown Daytona Beach on the campus of Bethune–Cookman University. It is open Monday through Friday, but hours vary each day, so be sure to check online or call ahead. Entry is free, and guided tours are available by appointment.


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