Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A Gathering Place for Washingtonians
Meridian Hill Park, National Historic Landmark
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
Since Meridian Hill Park opened in 1936, Washingtonians from the diverse neighborhoods surrounding the park have gathered here for performances, community events, and political protest.
When tens of thousands of people flocked to Washington, D.C. in the late 1930s and 40s for federal jobs created by the New Deal and World War II, government agencies created a series of "Starlight" concerts in the park. From 1941 to 1944, Washingtonians lined the cascades and reflecting pool on summer evenings to hear classical music, including a performance by the Von Trapp Family Singers.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968, Washington, D.C. erupted in riots. Both the 14th Street business corridor north and east of the park and the U Street corridor south of the park were devastated. To help heal and unify the city, the "Summer in the Parks" concert series was created. The inaugural performance was held at Meridian Hill Park, featuring Broadway and film star Pearl Bailey. Twenty-thousand people attended.
Since 1969, the park has unofficially been called "Malcolm X Park" by the local community. As
For more information go to: www.nps.gov/mehi
[photo captions, duplicated by photos 4 and 5]
Concerts, dance recitals and plays were held in the park throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
National Park Service, Rock Creek Park, Cultural Resource Files
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the park was the site of numerous protests, such as this march at right, on September 22, 1963, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality. The march was called to remember the children who died in the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, and the violence that followed.
Library of Congress Washington D.C. LC-DIG-ppmsca-01298
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Parks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #15 James Buchanan, and the National Historic Landmarks series lists.
Location. 38° 55.16′ N, 77° 2.176′ W. Marker is in Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker can be reached from Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2101 16th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20009, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Buchanan (here, next to this marker); Mrs. Henderson's Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Buchanan (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Meridian Hill Park (about 500 feet away); Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park (about 500 feet away); Pitts Motor Hotel (about 600 feet away); St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church (about 700 feet away); A Prestige Address (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia Heights.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 6, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 603 times since then and 44 times this year. Last updated on September 23, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 6, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.