The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Live Oaks: A Gathering Place
Welcome to the Reading Grove
This space provides a place to meet, rest, read, and reflect. Live oaks have long harbored gatherings, from religious services and classes to community celebrations.
Trees that were present at key events in American history are known as "witness trees." Do you have a special tree in your community? Does it have a name? If not, what would you call it?
Live oaks provided a sheltered space for enslaved African Americans to meet and practice their religion.
Right "The Emancipation Oak" on the campus of Hampton University—a historically black university in Hampton, Virginia—was the site of one of the first Southern readings of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. As in the past, live oak trees, like this one, continued to provide shade for resting and reading.
Left During the Civil War, Mary Smith Peake taught newly freed African American men and women in the shade of the Emancipation Oak—despite a Virginia law forbidding the education
Right The 65-foot-high "Angel Oak" on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina, is believed to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi. During segregation, its branches offered shade and shelter to black and white residents alike.
Left In the 1910s and '20s, Civil rights activist and teacher Septima P. Clark took her students on field trips to the Angel Oak tree. And later, when segregation was at its height, the ground remained open to everyone>
Erected by Smithsonian Gardens.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Historic Trees, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities marker series.
Location. 38° 53.492′ N, 77° 1.995′ W. Marker is in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 15th Street Northwest just south of Constitution Avenue Northwest (U.S. 50), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1500 Constitution Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Live Oaks: Specimens of Global, Scholarly and Public Research (a few steps from this marker); Live Oaks: A Symbol of Strength (a few steps from this marker); Washington City Canal on the Tiber Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Sheltering Branches (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bulfinch Gate House (about 400 feet away); A Monumental Legacy (about 600 feet away); Washington: The City (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Churches & Religion • Civil Rights • Education • Environment • War, US Civil • Women •
More. Search the internet for Live Oaks: A Gathering Place.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 7, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 57 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.