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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Gathering Place for Washingtonians

 

—Meridian Hill Park, National Historic Landmark —

 
A Gathering Place for Washingtonians Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
1. A Gathering Place for Washingtonians Marker
Inscription. Since Meridian Hill Park opened in 1936, Washingtonians from diverse neighborhoods surrounding the park have gathered here for performances, community events, and political protest.

When tens of thousands of people flocked to Washington D.C. in the late 1930s and 40s for federal jobs created by the New Deal and World War II, government agencies created a series of "Starlight" concerts in the park. From 1941 to 1944, Washingtonians lined the cascades and reflecting pool on summer evenings to hear classical music, including a performance by the Von Trappe Family Singers.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968, Washington D. C. erupted in riots. Both the 14th Street business corridor north and east of the park and the U Street corridor south of the park were devastated. To help heal and unify the city, the "Summer in the Parks" concert series was created. The Inaugural performance was held at Meridian Hill Park, featuring Broadway and film star Pearl Bailey. Twenty-thousand people attended.

Since 1969, the park has unofficially been called "Malcolm X Park" by the local community. As the site of the memorial to President Buchanan, Meridian Hill cannot officially be named for another person.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Marker series.
A Gathering Place for Washingtonians Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
2. A Gathering Place for Washingtonians Marker
This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 38° 55.16′ N, 77° 2.176′ W. Marker is in Columbia Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 16th Street and W Street on 16th Street. Click for map. The marker is one of three at the entrance to Meridian Hill Park at 16th Street and W Street in North West Washington. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Buchanan (here, next to this marker); Mrs. Henderson's Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Buchanan (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Meridian Hill Park (about 500 feet away); Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park (about 500 feet away); Pitts Motor Hotel (about 600 feet away); Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church (about 700 feet away); The Fedora (approx. 0.2 miles away).
 
Categories. EntertainmentPolitics
 
Washingtonians Gathering in Meridian Hill Park image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
3. Washingtonians Gathering in Meridian Hill Park
A Concert in the Park image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
4. A Concert in the Park
Concerts, dance recitals and plays were held in the park throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
No More Birminghams image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
5. No More Birminghams
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the park was the site of numerous protests, such as this march at right, on September 22, 1963, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality. The march was called to remember the children who died in the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, and the violence that followed.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 451 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on November 20, 2016.
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