loading...

Preservation League Plans to Add More Black History Sites to DC’s Inventory

by Nena Perry-Brown

Last week, the DC mayoral administration announced an online "heritage trail" of African American Civil Rights sites. Concurrently, the DC Preservation League (DCPL) is endeavoring to add more sites relevant to the 20th century Civil Rights movement to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites (IHS) and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). 

The DCPL sites were selected in partnership with Prologue DC, preservation architect Nakita Reed and scholar/author Chris Myers Asch via grants from the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The sites and their histories will be compiled into a National Register Multiple Property Document (MPD) for submission to the Historic Preservation Review Board, and later to the NRHP; the draft list was released earlier this month. 

There are over 100 locations on the list, as well as dozens of addresses listed for buildings which no longer exist, but were of historical significance. Several of the houses which remain, however, have been the sites of pivotal actions, efforts, or people in the struggle to end housing segregation and give voice to Black self-determination.

One of those is the house of civil rights activist and former DC delegate to the House of Representatives Walter Fauntroy at 4105 17th Street NW (map). Fauntroy's work included helping to coordinate the 1963 March on Washington, helping secure home rule for DC, and grassroots organizing for urban renewal in Shaw.

Once-segregated cooperative housing at 2008 16th Street NW. Click to enlarge.

1131 Fairmont Street NW (map) once belonged to Geneva K. Valentine who was an advocate for housing integration in the 1940s. Another site on the list is the residential building at 2008 16th Street NW (map), which was a whites-only building Valentine purchased in 1949 in order to enable Black residents to move in.

The residences of Italian-American real estate brokers Raphael & Joseph Urciolo at 4215 Argyle Terrace NW (map) and 1624 Underwood Street NW (map) are included. The Urciolos are known for flouting racial convenants in Bloomingdale and were party to lawsuits as a result; they were also real estate law professors at Howard University. The Argyle Terrace house was designed by Howard University architect Howard H. Mackey, and several meetings with civil rights attorney Charles Hamilton Houston and others about housing segregation took place at the Underwood Street house.

One-time residence of prominent Black attorney Charles Hamilton Houston. Click to enlarge. 

Houston, who was also a dean of Howard University Law School and the litigation director of the NAACP, resided at 3611 New Hampshire Avenue NW (map) during the height of his work in racial convenant suits, including Hurd v. Hodge; his house is already on the African American Civil Rights Tour. Another location on the Tour is 1269 Sumner Road SE (map), where National Negro Congress (NNC) leader Thelma Dale resided; Dale produced the NNC's report on segregation in DC's recreation spaces in 1939.

Some other houses did not necessarily have big names attached to them, but were the sites of tragic incidents when restrictive housing convenants were more prevalent. While residing at 2205 Flagler Place NW (map), Lawrence Prince's family was visited by a white mob in 1923; the house is now a contributing building to the historic district. In another racially-restricted area, the family of Edna M. Holland saw their house at 1324 Harvard Street NW (map) bombed in 1940.

A full list of the sites slated for nomination is available here.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/preservation-league-plans-to-add-more-black-history-sites-to-citys-inventor/16169

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »