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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

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

Safe Havens

Midcity at the Crossroads

 

— Shaw Heritage Trail —

 
Safe Havens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 15, 2019
1. Safe Havens Marker
Inscription.  The building across the street at 901 Rhode Island Avenue is the city's first Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) for African Americans. It honors Phyllis Wheatley (1753-1784), considered America's first published black author.

The Wheatley YWCA was organized in 1905 by the Booklover's Club, a black women's literary club, to provide housing, recreation, and vocational and Christian guidance to women. It opened at the Miner Institution Building in Southwest Washington. With hundreds of young women migrating to Washington, the YWCA needed a larger facility, opening this one in 1920. Carter G. Woodson frequently lectured and took meals here. The Julia West Hamilton League, organized by Mary Church Terrell to promote philanthropy, education and character, met here. During World War II, Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height worked at the YWCA, which became a social center for black service men and women. Recently renovated, the building provides accommodations for women, day care, and meeting spaces.

The original rowhouse at 901 R Street housed the Clef Club (later Lewis Thomas Cabaret). The façade of the current house
Safe Havens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 15, 2019
2. Safe Havens Marker
recreates the look of the original. The popular nightspot presented Duke Ellington and Bricktop and, despite its residential location, proudly advertised that it was open from dusk to dawn. At 913 R Street, just beyond the site of the club, is the former Engine Company No. 4 fire house. In 1919 Company 4 became Washington's first all-black company after fire fighters seeking career advancement requested a separate facility. The company was captured at work in January 1943 by noted photographer Gordon Parks.

[Captions:]
This portrait of Phyllis Wheatley appeared in her book, Poems on Various Subjects.... 1773.

Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height worked at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA from 1939 until 1944.

The Clef Club (later Lewis Thomas Cabaret) advertised in the Washington Bee. Duke Ellington graced its intimate stage around 1920.

Washington's first all-black company of fire fighters, photographed by Gordon Parks in 1943, respond to an alarm.

Business High School for whites, and then Cardozo Business High School for African-American students, once occupied this block. Cardozo moved to 13th St. in 1950. Students of the white Business High School, right, posed in 1928.

[Caption on image on the reverse of the marker:]
A Phyllis Wheatley YWCA social event, around
Safe Havens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 15, 2019
3. Safe Havens Marker
1940.

 
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Shaw Heritage Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.712′ N, 77° 1.431′ W. Marker is in Shaw, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 9th Street Northwest and Rhode Island Avenue Northwest (U.S. 29) on 9th Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 9th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20001, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Phyllis Wheatley YWCA (within shouting distance of this marker); Working for the Race (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Carter G. Woodson House (about 400 feet away); Engine Company No. 4 (about 500 feet away); Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic (about 500 feet away); Spiritual Life (about 700 feet away); Daniel A.P. Murray Residence (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Fires of 1968 (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shaw.
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicCharity & Public WorkChurches & ReligionCivil RightsEducationEntertainmentIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasWar, World IIWomen
 

More. Search the internet for Safe Havens.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 15, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 45 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 15, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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