Traditions & Beliefs A Publication of the Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD) Volume 11, Issue 2, Summer 2017
ial ec e p S ssu I
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Ninth Street NW and Inroads to a World of Opportunities
Dr. Carter Goodwin Woodson (1875-1950) transformed the way that African Americans understood U.S. and world history—and their unique role in shaping that history. A descendant of former slaves who went on to earn a doctorate at Harvard, Woodson became the consummate teacher-scholar-editorpublisher. In his lifetime, his Washington, DC home became a gathering place for others who shared his passion for history. In 2017, thanks to the National Park Service and a host of other supporters, the Carter G. Woodson Home reopened to the public and has the potential to serve, once again, as a shining beacon of light and learning in the Shaw-Howard community. Were he alive today, I imagine that “The Father of Black History” might enjoy sitting in the nearby Carter G. Woodson Park, listening to the laughter of children from the Seaton Elementary School, interacting with the educators living and working in the community, and watching members of Shiloh Baptist Church and other Americans of all races and ethnicities move along Ninth Street NW, one of the District’s historic inroads to a world of opportunities for those with the talent, drive, and resources (human, social, financial, etc.) to access and take advantage of those opportunities. This special issue is dedicated to Mrs. Elnora McLendon-Lewis, President of the Carter G. Woodson Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and long-time member of Shiloh Baptist Church, in appreciation for her efforts to support the Woodsons of our time. --Dr. Regennia N. Williams, Founder and Editor
Inside This Issue ASALH and The Carter G. Woodson Home, 1-3 In the Spirit of Fraternity, 4
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Traditions & Beliefs
At Home with History Home to Shiloh Baptist Church, Howard University, and the Howard
Theatre—among other institutions, the Shaw-Howard Community has long been known as one of the most historic of Washington, DC’s historically black communities. With the restoration and opening of the Carter G. Woodson Home, however, the National Park Service has further enhanced the reputation of Shaw-Howard as a community where people can feel at home with history. Located at 1428 Ninth Street NW, the house was Dr. Woodson’s home from 1922-1950, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the April 1968 rioting that erupted in Shaw-Howard, I am convinced that the historic home will, no doubt, inspire other students and scholars to explore in earnest the recent social history of African Americans in the nation’s capital. According to the National Park Service website, the house is currently open to the public for tours on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/cawo/index.htm , or contact the park at: National Capital Parks-East 1900 Anacostia Drive SE Washington, DC 20020 Telephone: 202-426-5961
Pictured here are several of the individuals who staffed the Carter G. Woodson Home during the summer of 2017. They are (from the top): Melvin Cade, Jr., Virginia Hughes, Samantha Dunn, and Brittany Omoleye-Hall.
Traditions & Beliefs
Facilitating an Intergenerational Exploration of History
(Above) Dr. Evelyn BrooksHigginbotham speaks at Shiloh Baptist Church during the reception for the inaugural Black History Month preview tours of the Carter G. Woodson Home. (Right) One of the informational posters displayed during the tours.
Beginning in the summer months of 2017, National Park Service Rangers and HBCU Interns were on hand to conduct tours of the restored Woodson Home and distribute educational materials to interested Junior Rangers and other visitors.
Traditions & Beliefs
In the Spirit of Fraternity African American Masons: Keepers of Tradition Since at least the era of Prince Hall (1735-1807), African-descended peoples in the Americas have played a vital role in shaping the history of fraternal and benevolent organizations. As these images from a June 2017 parade on 9th Street NW suggest, masonic traditions are alive and well in the District of Columbia. The parade was a prelude to a larger gathering at Shiloh Baptist Church, which is located on the corner of 9th Street NW and P Street. When I consider all that I witnessed in and around Shiloh Baptist Church in the summer of 2017, I must agree with Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 statements about the church serving as the “social center” of the African American community and a “religious center of great power.” For more information on the evolving role of the church in the African American experience, please visit www.ClevelandMemory.org/pray/. For a brief biography of Prince Hall, please visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2 /2p37.html. RNW