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

Designed to Compete

A Self-Reliant People

 

— Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail —

 
Designed to Compete Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 20, 2020
1. Designed to Compete Marker
Inscription.  
This quaint frame building has served several church congregations since its construction in 1908. The First Zion Baptist Church stayed for more than 60 years. Since 1993 members of Joshua's Temple First Born Church have worshiped within its walls.

One of the city's first academically trained Black architects, William Sidney Pittman (1875-1958), designed this understated structure. Pittman trained at Tuskegee Institute, where he won the support of the founder Booker T. Washington and later taught. In 1905 resigned from Tuskegee to move to Washington and establish a private architectural practice. By the fall of 1906 Pittman had entered and won the competition for the "Negro Building" at the Jamestown (Virginia) Ter-centennial Exposition. In 1907 he married Washington's daughter Portia. The couple returned to this area and lived in a house Pittman designed in nearby Fairmont Heights, Maryland, an all-Black community he helped plan. Among Pittman's DC commissions were Garfield Elementary School and the 12th Street Colored Young Men's Christian Association (now Thurgood Marshall Center for Science and Heritage).

Pittman
Designed to Compete Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 20, 2020
2. Designed to Compete Marker
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also designed the building to the right of the church, home of the Deanwood Chess House, a branch of the Big Chair Chess Club since 1991. The club uses chess to teach children and adults that their decisions in life, as on the game board, have consequences. Mentors demonstrate how the concentration and self-discipline required by chess are important life skills. "Always think before you move" is the club's motto. Chess instructors occasionally take the giant chess set above the entrance to schools for teamwork exercises.
 
Erected 2009 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 12.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArchitectureChurches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
 
Location. 38° 54.167′ N, 76° 56.405′ W. Marker is in Deanwood in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Sheriff Road Northeast just east of 43rd Place Northeast, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4302 Sheriff Rd NE, 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. 100 Years of Afro-American History (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); “What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” (about 800 feet away); Shaping Strong Minds
Designed to Compete Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 20, 2020
3. Designed to Compete Marker
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Shopping on Sheriff (approx. 0.2 miles away); Eastland Gardens (approx. ¼ mile away); Mayfair Mansions / Albert I. Cassell (approx. 0.3 miles away); From Gambling to Garden Apartments (approx. 0.3 miles away); With These Hands (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deanwood.
 
More about this marker. [Photo captions:]

William Sidney Pittman, wife Portia, and daughter Fannie Virginia (Library of Congress).

William Sidney Pittman's "Negro Building" at the exposition marking the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, 1907 (Library of Congress).

Portia Washington Pittman, right, helped launch the S.S. Booker T. Washington, named for her father, in 1942. At left is Mary Mcleod Bethune with Marian Anderson at center and DC Recorder of Deeds Dr. William Thompkins between Anderson and Pittman (Library of Congress).

In May 2005, Senior Master Greg Acholonu, standing, visited and played 22 games simultaneously (Collection of Eugene Brown).

A typical Saturday, below, at the Deanwood Chess House, a branch of the Big Chair Chess Club: 12 boards are always ready for adults and children to play (Collection of Eugene Brown).
 
Also see . . .
1. Joshua's Temple First Born Church, African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on December 22, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
2. William Sidney Pittman (1875-1958). Black Lives entry (Submitted on September 16, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
The Joshua's Temple First Born Church and Deanwood Chess House image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
4. The Joshua's Temple First Born Church and Deanwood Chess House
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,002 times since then and 26 times this year. Last updated on March 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 20, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   4. submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 27, 2021