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

Charles Hamilton Houston Residence

African American Heritage Trail, Washington, DC

 
 
Charles Hamilton Houston Residence Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 14, 2016
1. Charles Hamilton Houston Residence Marker
Inscription.
1744 S Street, NW
Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950) was a legal theorist and mentor to an entire generation of African American lawyers. As Howard University School of Law's vice dean, the Harvard-educated Houston helped transform the school into an accredited program and center for reform-minded, activist lawyers.

At the NAACP Houston worked with Thurgood Marshall and others to challenge discrimination in labor unions, workers' compensation, housing, higher education, jury selection, and access to public services. He laid the groundwork for the legal arguments in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and many other desegregation victories.

Houston's parents William and Mary bought this house about 1924. He and wife Henrietta Williams Houston moved here about 1943.

Caption:
Charles Hamilton Houston in court.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington, D.C. African American Heritage Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.841′ N, 77° 2.45′ W. Marker is in Dupont Circle Neighborhood, District
Charles Hamilton Houston Residence Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 14, 2016
2. Charles Hamilton Houston Residence Marker
of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on S Street, NW, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1744 S Street, NW, Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Kappa House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); At 1740 New Hampshire Ave. (about 700 feet away); Rooms With a View (about 700 feet away); Carl Lutz (approx. 0.2 miles away); All the Row Houses (approx. 0.2 miles away); Charlotte Forten Grimke House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fraser Mansion (approx. 0.2 miles away); Connecticut Ave. from Lafayette Square to Ashmead Place (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Dupont Circle Neighborhood.
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil Rights
 
Langston Hughes Residence at 1749 S Street, NW. image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 14, 2016
3. Langston Hughes Residence at 1749 S Street, NW.
Almost directly across the street from the Houston residence is this house, where poet Langston Hughes lived for a short time on the second floor from 1924 to 1926.
Corrigan v. Buckle site at 1727 S Street, NW image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 14, 2016
4. Corrigan v. Buckle site at 1727 S Street, NW
Irene Corrigan, owner of this property, attempted in 1922 to sell her house to Helen Curtis and her husband Dr. Arthur Curtis, both African American. One year earlier, the majority of the block's white residents, including Corrigan, had signed an agreement, or covenant, that they would not sell or rent their properties to African Americans. When Corrigan tried to sell her house to the Curtises, a neighbor asked the District Supreme Court to enforce the covenant and prevent the sale. The court agreed. Corrigan and Curtis took their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1926 declined to hear the case on the grounds that the constitutional amendments cited by Corrigan and Curtis, including the 14th Amendment that prohibited race-based discrimination, were applicable to action by states only, not by individuals. The lower court ruling stood, and Corrigan could not sell to Curtis.

Covenants were enforced legally for the next 20-plus years. Then Charles Hamilton Houston, who happened to live in this same block at 1744 S Street, and white lawyer Phineas Indritz filed Hurd v. Hodge, again challenging the right of homeowners to enforce race-restrictive covenants. The house in question in this case was located in the 100 block of Bryant Street, NW, and had been purchased by James M. Hodge. This time, in 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that the covenants no longer could be enforced in courts of law. (courtesy of Cultural Tourism DC)
Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Residence at 1721 S Street, NW image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 14, 2016
5. Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Residence at 1721 S Street, NW
Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. (1877-1970), one of the most important military professionals of the 19th and 20th centuries, was the first black general in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Armed Forces. A native Washingtonian, Davis attended M Street High School and Howard University. His first tour of duty for the U.S. Army took him to the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Davis moved up through the ranks, spending time as a professor of military science at Wilberforce and Tuskegee Universities and for the Ohio and New York National Guards. Davis worked in a number of positions for the armed forces over a span of 50 years before retiring in 1948, the same year that President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 barring segregation in the armed forces. He received the Bronze Star Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his service as an inspector of troop units in the field and as special War Department consultant on matters pertaining to African American troops. He moved to this house in 1948.

Davis and his wife Elnora Davis raised a son who followed in his father's footsteps. Lt. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (1912-2002), born in Washington, stands out as the nation's second African American general officer and the U.S. Air Force's first African American general. He was also a commander of the Tuskegee Airmen, which formed the core of the U.S. Army's all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron during World War II. Under Davis, the squadron's 332d Fighter Group flew more than 15,000 sorties against the Luftwaffe, shot down 111 enemy aircraft, destroyed another 150 on the ground, and lost only 66 of their own aircraft. Davis retired in 1970 and later served as assistant secretary of transportation for environment, safety, and consumer affairs under President Nixon.

Both men had to endure the racist and segregationist practices of the white-run armed forces and both, in overt and subtle ways, worked to eradicate injustice. They are interred at Arlington National Cemetery. (courtesy Cultural Tourism DC).
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page was last revised on November 27, 2016.
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