Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts in 1912, during a time when racial segregation prevailed in many parts of the United States. Yet, African American troops formed as early as 1913. Our Council, volunteers, and supporters were and remain determined to provide opportunities for all Girl Scouts. For example, in the early 1940s, renowned civil rights activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune helped start a Girl Scout troop at Logan Elementary School in Washington, DC. Bethune later brought that troop of African American girls to the White House to have tea with Eleanor Roosevelt! Troop leaders navigated a complicated system of segregation but found ways for their Girl Scouts to camp and participate in outdoor activities.*
Overnight camping became a central focal point for volunteers who fought for equal opportunities, and in 1955 Girl Scouts of the District of Columbia finally ended the policy of segregation at council-owned camps.