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Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“Contraband” to Community

A Fitting Tribute

 

—Logan Circle Heritage Trail —

 
“Contraband” to Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
1. “Contraband” to Community Marker
Inscription. The Entire Block to Your Left was once a Civil War-era camp and hospital for formerly enslaved African Americans

After the Civil War broke out in 1861, thousands walked away from bondage. When some sought shelter at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler allowed them to stay as “contrabands of war” or captured enemy property. Soon men, women, and children poured into Washington and other Union territories seeking new lives. In 1862, as housing near the Capitol and Navy Yard was overwhelmed, the Army relocated the formerly enslaved to wooden barracks built here for Captain Charles Bakers' Chicago Dragoons.

In 1862 Camp Barker reportedly housed 4,000 people. Overcrowding led to deadly epidemics, despite the camp's health facility. Contraband (later Freedmen's Hospital), was led by Major Alexander T. Augusta, M.D. the nation's first African American commissioned medical officer. Many refugees left for Freedmen's Village. Others remained here, in a growing community.

President Abraham Lincoln occasionally visited Camp Barker from his summer retreat at the Soldiers' Home, about 2.5 miles northeast. Mary Dines, who escaped bondage in Maryland and lived at the camp cooked for Lincoln at his retreat. She sang in a concert organize at the camp for the president and guests.

Vermont
“Contraband” to Community Marker (Reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
2. “Contraband” to Community Marker (Reverse)
Avenue Baptist Church, just ahead to the right, was founded to serve the community seeded by Camp Barker. The politically active church attracted eminent speakers. In 1956 the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to the congregation.

Sidebar (on reverse):

The Logan Circle Neighborhood began with city boosters' dreams of greatness. The troops, cattle pens, and hubbub of the Civil War (1861–1865) had nearly ruined Washington, and when the fighting ended, Congress threatened to move the nation's capital elsewhere. So city leaders raced to repair and modernize the city. As paved streets, water and gas lines, street lights, and sewers reached underdeveloped areas, wealthy whites followed. Mansions soon sprang up around the elegant park where Vermont and Rhode Island Avenues met. The circle was named Iowa Circle, thanks to Iowa Senator William Boyd Allison. In 1901 a statue of Civil War General (and later Senator) John A. Logan, a founder of Memorial Day, replaced the park's central fountain. The circle took his name in 1930. The title of this Heritage Trail comes from General Logan's argument that Memorial Day would serve as "a fitting tribute to the memory of [the Nation's] slain defenders."

As the city grew beyond Logan Circle, affluent African Americans gradually replaced whites here. Most of them moved on during World War
“Contraband” to Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
3. “Contraband” to Community Marker
II, and their mansions were divided into rooming houses to meet a wartime housing shortage. By the 1960s, with suburban Maryland and Virginia drawing investment, much of the neighborhood had decayed. When civil disturbances erupted after the 1968 assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it hit bottom. Ten years later, however, long-time residents, newcomers, and city programs spurred revival. A Fitting Tribute: Logan Circle Heritage Trail takes you through the neighborhood's lofty and low times to introduce the array of individuals who shaped its modern vitality.
 
Erected by Cultural Heritage, DC. (Marker Number 5.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington DC, Logan Circle Heritage Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.755′ N, 77° 1.688′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of R Street and Vermont Avenue when traveling west on R Street. Click for map. 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. Vermont Avenue Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Like a Village (about 300 feet away, measured
“Contraband” to Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
4. “Contraband” to Community Marker
in a direct line); Washington Afro-American Newspaper Office Building (about 700 feet away); Logan Circle Just Ahead (about 800 feet away); Edward “Duke” Ellington Residence (about 800 feet away); A Home Away From Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); If These Mansions Could Talk (approx. 0.2 miles away); Frelinghuysen University/Jesse Lawson and Rosetta C. Lawson (approx. 0.2 miles away).
 
Categories. African AmericansWar, US Civil
 
Contrabands Escaping<br> May 29, (1864 ) Hanover Town image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
5. Contrabands Escaping
May 29, (1864 ) Hanover Town
This Civil War eyewitness drawing shows “contrabands“ walking to freedom.
Close-up of Edwin Forbes drawing on marker
Camp Barker Plan image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
6. Camp Barker Plan
After a cholera outbreak, the city surveyed Camp Barker to prepare for piping in clean water. Contraband Hospital, lower left, became Freedmen's and eventually Howard University Hospital.
Close-up of image on marker
Major Alexandria T. Augusta, M.D. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
7. Major Alexandria T. Augusta, M.D.
Above is hospital leader Maj. Alexander T. Augusta, M.D.
Close-up of photo on marker
Register of Freedmen image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
8. Register of Freedmen
Close-up of image on marker
Bowling image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
9. Bowling
William Fairfax helps four-year old Javon Johnson bowl at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church's four-lane bowling alley, 1994.
Close-up of photo on marker
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
10. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Two years before he was elected to Congress, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. addressed a public meeting at Vermont Baptist Church on the poll tax issue. 1942.
Close-up of photo on marker
President Barack Obama image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
11. President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama spoke at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthday, January 2010.
Close-up of photo on marker
Residents of Camp Barker Sing For President Lincoln, around 1863 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
12. Residents of Camp Barker Sing For President Lincoln, around 1863
Close-up of Mathew Brady photo on marker
Logan image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
13. Logan
Cortney Kreer's photo of the Logan Statue brands each marker on the Logan Circle Heritage Trail.
Close-up of photo on marker
You are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
14. You are Here
Map of the Logan Circle Heritage Trail
Close-up of map on marker
Vermont Avenue Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
15. Vermont Avenue Baptist Church
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 394 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. 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 June 16, 2016.
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