Pleasant Plains in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Lift Every Voice
—Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail —
Students of the 1930s and '40s protested lynchings nationwide and DC businesses that snubbed African Americans. In the early 1960s students organized sit-ins, registered voters in the South, and discussed pan-African theories. In 1966 university traditions merged with the Black Power movement when students elected the Afro-sporting activist Robin Gregory as Homecoming Queen.
The following spring students protested the Vietnam War, charging that black soldiers fought for "freedom they do not have" at home. After students boycotted classes, Howard changed from a requirement to an elective the military (ROTC) training that put many on the path to Vietnam. In March 1968 students demanding a more Afrocentric curriculum seized the Administration Building. Writing to President James M. Nabrit, himself a civil rights icon, students insisted that Howard open to the wider black community, produce "leaders who take pride in their true identity," and become "the center of Afro-American thought." The negotiated settlement gave students
Many graduates continued the struggle. Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure) chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and eventually moved to Guinea and worked for pan-African revolution. Student leaders Charlie Cobb and Anthony Gittens co-founded DC's first Afrocentric bookstore, the Drum and Spear. Former theology student Douglas Moore led the Black United Front and helped found the DC Statehood Committee.
Homecoming Queen Robin Gregory, 1966.
Protesters fill the Administration Building hallway, March 1968. At right, students post one of their demands.
Student leader Anthony Gittens announces the end of the March protest. From left are trustees Percy Julian, Jr., Richard Hale, Kenneth Clark, and Myles Page, and students Ewart Brown (later premier of Bermuda), Adrienne Mann, Gittens, Michael Harris, and Q.T. Jackson, Jr.
Howard students react to Dr. King's assassination, 1968.
Howard alumni Douglas Moore, right, and Stokely Carmichael, above.
How many dreams and memories reside in this short stretch of Georgia Avenue!
South of Florida Avenue where it is called Seventh Street,
Lift Every Voice: Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail pays homage to the musicians and impresarios, Jewish shop-keepers and African American barbers, intellectuals and activist, and all who built a thriving community along this stretch of one of Washington's oldest thoroughfares.
“Pleasant Plains” once was the name of the Holmead family estate, which spread from Rock Creek to Georgia Avenue north of Columbia Road. Today’s Pleasant Plains neighborhood lies north of the old Holmead land. And while most of this trail lies in Pleasant Plains, it actually starts in Shaw, enters Pleasant Plains at Florida Avenue, crosses through Park View, the neighborhood north of Howard University, and ends in Petworth.
Lift Every Voice: Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour of 19 signs is 1.9 miles long, offering about two hours of gentle, uphill exercise.
Free keepsake guidebooks in English and Spanish are available at businesses and institutions along the way. For more on DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
Collaborators and credits of the Heritage Trail
Caption: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking in Rankin Chapel, Dec. 1956.
Scurlock Studio Record, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 10.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Avenue / Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 55.344′ N, 77° 1.272′ W. Marker is in Pleasant Plains, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Howard Place Northwest and 6th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east on Howard Place Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2400 6th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20059, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Howard University (a few steps from this marker); Andrew F. Hilyer Residence Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Day of Honor 2000 (within shouting distance of this marker); Howard Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); General Oliver O. Howard (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tau Beta Pi (about 300 feet away); Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (about 300 feet away); Teachers and Preachers (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pleasant Plains.
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Education • War, Vietnam •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 4, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 448 times since then and 19 times this year. Last updated on March 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 4, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.