The National Council of Negro Women was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935 in order to “harness the power and extend the leadership of African American women through a national organization.” It soon developed into an organization of organizations and is dedicated to advancing the quality of life for African American women and their families and communities. Among its early campaigns were calls for outlawing the discriminatory poll tax, the development of a public health program, anti-lynching legislation, and the end to discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, defense industries, and government housing. In addition, NCNW was an early proponent of teaching African American history in public schools.
Founder Bethune was succeeded by physician Dorothy Boulding Ferebee (1949-1953), social activist Vivian Carter Mason (1953-1957), and YWCA leader Dorothy Height (1957-1998). Under Height the NCNW focused on public housing, integration, and home-ownership programs for low-income families.
The organization moved to this grand former hotel building in 1995. It is the only African American organization with property between the Capitol and the White House on historic
"The Heritage Trails which you create are such gifts to DC.
H Street NE will be enhanced immeasurably by the addition of its guiding signposts of the past and point us towards the future."