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

Watts Going On

A Self-Reliant People


—Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail —

Watts Going On Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 22, 2017
1. Watts Going On Marker
Inscription.  Across the street is Watts Branch, an actively used creek that has tied together many communities. Unfortunately humans have not always been respectful of this resource. The stream has experienced cycles of neglect and rejuvenation.

In 1938 the U.S. Government brought flood control measures to Watts Branch's 1.6-mile-long park. In the decades thereafter, children played in the creek, and churches baptized parishioners in its waters. Yet residents and outsiders also dumped trash here.

A massive clean-up began in 1965 under Lady Bird Johnson's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, but another 30 years of neglect followed, when polluters, drug dealers, and addicts overwhelmed the park. Then in 2001 area children collected 1,500 signatures to petition the City Council to restore the park. Consequently residents, the nonprofit Washington Parks & People, the District's Department of Parks and Recreation, and thousands of volunteers joined in a multi-million dollar effort that continues to spark new life and new enterprise.

To your right is Riverside Center, which opened in the former Barnett's Crystal Room
Watts Going On Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 22, 2017
2. Watts Going On Marker
in 2004. Armstead Barnett had owned and operated this restaurant after working for 15 years in the Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower White Houses. There he rose from pantry man to butler, and eventually messenger, while building a catering business that employed and trained many Deanwood residents.

Legendary R&B artist Marvin Gaye (1939-1984) spent part of his youth here, often singing a cappella with friends in the park. On April 2, 2006, the city officially rededicated Watts Branch Park as Marvin Gaye Park.

Reverse: Long a Country Town at the edge of Washington DC's urban center, Deanwood was forged out of former slave plantations during decades following the Civil War. It became one of Washington's earliest predominantly African American communities.

Greater Deanwood today encompasses the historic neighborhoods of Deanwood, Burrville, Lincoln Heights, and Whittingham.

In the 1800s, much of Washington's development followed decisions made by city leaders and investors, who favored areas northwest of Anacostia. Land here remained relatively untouched, and many streets were unpaved into the 1960s. Because builders chose not to apply racial restrictions on who could buy here, African American migrants found Deanwood welcoming, affordable, and convenient. The pioneering National Training School for Women and Girls, founded by
Watts Going On Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 22, 2017
3. Watts Going On Marker
Nannie Helen Burroughs (whose portrait appears on each Deanwood Heritage Trail sign), attracted educators to the neighborhood. New residents often built their own homes and created communities where for years no one locked their doors, adults treated all children as their own, and children behaved accordingly. On this trail you will see rich parkland, handcrafted dwellings, and religious and social gathering places that have made Deanwood an oasis of dignity and self-determination for generations.
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 53.834′ N, 76° 55.558′ W. Marker is in Lincoln Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Division Avenue Northeast and Foote Street Northeast when traveling north on Division Avenue Northeast. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 601 Division Avenue Northeast, Washington DC 20019, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Day at the Picture Show (was about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing. ); Butterflies (about 600 feet away); National Training School for Women and Girls/ Nannie Helen Burroughs (approx. 0.2 miles away); From Rural to Residential (approx. 0.3 miles away); Lederer Gardens (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Whirl on the Ferris Wheel (was approx. 0.3 miles away but has been reported missing. ); From Gardens to Garden Apartments (approx. 0.4 miles away); Original Federal Boundary Stone NE 9 (approx. 0.4 miles away).
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentEnvironment
More. Search the internet for Watts Going On.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 22, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 23, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 106 times since then and 13 times this year. Last updated on March 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 23, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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