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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Penn Quarter in Northwest Washington in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
REMOVED
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The Roots of Freedom and Equality

Civil War to Civil Rights

— Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
 
The Roots of Freedom and Equality Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
1. The Roots of Freedom and Equality Marker
Inscription.  
“It is known to you that events have transpired within the last few days, deeply affecting the peace and character of our community.”

With these words, city officials tried to calm the angry mobs gathering on this corner in April 1848. The crowds blamed the National Era, an abolitionist newspaper located near this sign, for the attempted escape of 77 African American slaves on the ship Pearl. They threatened to destroy the Era’s printing press. The editor, Gamaliel Bailey, was one of many anti-slavery activists who made Washington, D.C. a national center for abolitionist activity. He wrote of the irony of slavery in the capital of a nation dedicated to liberty and equality.

Tragically, most of the captured slaves were sold and taken south. The mayor and others quelled the potential riot, and the National Era survived. In 1851 and 1852, in a new location just a block and a half south of here, the paper serialized a novel by a little known author named Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, sold 300,000 copies in its first year. The dramatic
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story intensified sectional rivalries and, many believe, made war inevitable.

One hundred years later, on this same block, Charles Hamilton Houston continued the struggle for freedom and equality for African Americans. Houston, a practicing attorney at 615 F Street, and a professor of law at Howard University, taught Thurgood Marshall the legal strategies that led to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that racial segregation in the schools was unconstitutional. Marshall, later a Supreme Court justice, credited Houston as the person who laid the groundwork for the modern civil rights movement.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number .4.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansCivil RightsGovernment & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Downtown Heritage Trail, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1848.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 53.828′ N, 77° 1.31′ W. Marker was in Northwest Washington in Washington, District of Columbia. It was in
The Roots of Freedom and Equality Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
2. The Roots of Freedom and Equality Marker
the Penn Quarter. Marker was on 7th Street Northwest south of F Street Northwest, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 575 7th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named The Roots of Freedom and Equality (here, next to this marker); Mary Church Terrell (a few steps from this marker); Discover DC / Gallery Place / Arena (within shouting distance of this marker); The Chinese Hackberry Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel F. B. Morse (within shouting distance of this marker); The Daguerre Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Daguerre Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); General Post Office (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Northwest Washington.
 
More about this marker. [Photo Captions:]

Left and below: Charles Hamilton Houston, left, mentor to the future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, below, had an office on this block. (Moorland Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.)

Above and right: Officials try to quiet protests of Pearl in 1848. ([Poster: “To the Citizens of Washington ...”] Library of Congress.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was first published
Harriet Beecher Stowe image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
3. Harriet Beecher Stowe
near this spot in serialized form in the National Era ([Title page] Library of Congress; [photo of author] National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.)
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has been replaced by the linked marker which has slightly different text.
 
Also see . . .
1. Charles Hamilton Houston. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly. (Submitted on December 6, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
3. Harriet Beecher Stowe. (Submitted on December 7, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2023. It was originally submitted on December 6, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,007 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on December 8, 2009, by Katherine Kane of Hartford, Connecticut. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 6, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3. submitted on December 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 29, 2024