“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Advancing the Race

A Fitting Tribute


—Logan Circle Heritage Trail —

Advancing the Race Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 2, 2017
1. Advancing the Race Marker
Inscription.  Across the street is St. Luke's Episcopal Church, completed in 1880 by DC's first black Episcopalian congregation. Founding pastor Alexander Crummell was a prominent African American intellectual. After 20 years as a missionary in Liberia, Crummell was appointed in 1873 to head St. Mary's a small mission church in Foggy Bottom. In 1875 his growing congregation purchased this site to construct St. Luke's and commissioned Calvin T.S. Brent to design it. Brent was the city's first African American professional architect.

Crummell's belief that progress for African Americans required intellectual leadership heavily influenced the early thinking of W.E.B. Du Bois. In 1897 Crummell co-founded the American Negro Academy to advance black unity and achievement and develop intellectual arguments against racism. Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and Howard University mathematician/sociologist Kelly Miller also helped found the ANA. Du Bois succeeded Crummell as president upon Crummell's death in 1898.

The ANA organized nearby at John Wesley Cromwell's 1439 Swann Street home. Cromwell was a lawyer and newspaper publisher whose The People's
Advancing the Race Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 2, 2017
2. Advancing the Race Marker
promoted racial uplift and the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. Cromwell clerked at the Treasury Department, then went on to serve as a teacher and principal in DC's Colored Schools, writing and lecturing on black history. Cromwell's daughter, educator Otelia Cromwell, was the first known African American to graduate from Smith College. As an adult she lived nearby on 13th Street.

The internationally acclaimed artist Alma Thomas, known for her abstract oil paintings, lived just north of here at 1530 15th Street. Thomas was the first graduate of Howard University's Art Department (1924) and earned a M.A. from Columbia University. She taught art at Shaw Junior High School for 35 years.

The Logan Circle Neighborhood began with city boosters' dreams of greatness. The troops, cattle pens, and hubbub of the Civil War (1861-1865) had nearly ruined Washington, and when the fighting ended, Congress threatened to move the nation's capital elsewhere. So city leaders raced to repair and modernize the city. As paved streets, waster and gas lines, street lights, and sewers reached undeveloped areas, wealthy whites followed. Mansions soon sprang up around an elegant park where Vermont and Rhode Island Avenues met. The circle was named Iowa Circle, thanks to Iowa Senator William Boyd Allison. In 1901 a statue of Civil War General
Advancing the Race Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 2, 2017
3. Advancing the Race Marker
(and later Senator) John A. Logan, a founder of Memorial Day, replaced the park's central fountain. The circle took his name in 1930. The title of this Heritage Trail comes from General Logan's argument that Memorial Day would serve as "a fitting tribute to the memory of [the nation's] slain defenders."

As the city grew beyond Logan Circle, affluent African Americans gradually replaced whites here. Most of them moved on during World War II, and their mansions were divided into rooming houses to meet a wartime housing shortage. By the 1960s, with suburban Maryland and Virginia drawing investment, much of the neighborhood had decayed. When civil disturbances erupted after the 1968 assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it hit bottom. Ten years later, however, long-time residents, newcomers, and new city programs spurred revival. A Fitting Tribute: Logan Circle Heritage Trail takes you through the neighborhood's lofty and low times to introduce the array of individuals who shaped its modern vitality.
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Logan Circle Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 54.621′ N, 77° 2.063′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Church Street Northwest and 15th Street Northwest, on the left when traveling west on Church Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1519 15th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20005, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Luke's Episcopal Church/Alexander Crummel (within shouting distance of this marker); Alma Thomas Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas Family Home (within shouting distance of this marker); Theodore Roosevelt Worshiped Here Regularly (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Stonesdale (about 500 feet away); The Dupont Circle area has always been (about 500 feet away); Administration Building, Carnegie Institution of Washington (about 600 feet away); See You at the Center (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Circle.
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicChurches & ReligionEducation
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Credits. This page was last revised on March 22, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 2, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 88 times since then and 11 times this year. Last updated on March 8, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 2, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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