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

Designed to Compete

A Self-Reliant People

 

—Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail —

 
Designed to Compete Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
1. Designed to Compete Marker
Inscription. This quaint frame building has served several church congregations since its construction in 1908. The First Zion Baptist Church stayed for more than 60 years. Since 1993 members of Joshua's Temple First Born Church have worshiped within its walls.

One of the city's first academically trained Black architects, William Sidney Pittman (1875-1958), designed this understated structure. Pittman trained at Tuskegee Institute, where he won the support of the founder Booker T. Washington and later taught. In 1905 resigned from Tuskegee to move to Washington and establish a private architectural practice. By the fall of 1906 Pittman had entered and won the competition for the "Negro Building" at the Jamestown (Virginia) Ter-centennial Exposition. In 1907 he married Washington's daughter Portia. The couple returned to this area and lived in a house Pittman designed in nearby Fairmont Heights, Maryland, an all-Black community he helped plan. Among Pittman's DC commissions were Garfield Elementary School and the 12th Street Colored Young Men's Christian Association (now Thurgood Marshall Center for Science and Heritage).

Pittman also designed the building to the right of the church, home of the Deanwood Chess House, a branch of the Big Chair Chess Club since 1991. The club uses chess to teach children and adults that their
Designed to Compete Marker with Pittman-designed church in view across Sheriff Rd. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
2. Designed to Compete Marker with Pittman-designed church in view across Sheriff Rd.
decisions in life, as on the game board, have consequences. Mentors demonstrate how the concentration and self-discipline required by chess are important life skills. "Always think before you move" is the club's motto. Chess instructors occasionally take the giant chess set above the entrance to schools for teamwork exercises.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 12 of 15.)
 
Location. 38° 54.167′ N, 76° 56.405′ W. Marker is in Deanwood, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Sheriff Road, NE east of 43rd Place, NE. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20019, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 100 Years of Afro-American History (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); “What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” (about 800 feet away); Shopping on Sheriff (approx. 0.2 miles away); Eastland Gardens (approx. ¼ mile away); From Gambling to Garden Apartments (approx. 0.3 miles away); With These Hands (approx. 0.3 miles away); From Gardens to Garden Apartments (approx. half a mile away); A Whirl on the Ferris Wheel (was approx. half a mile away but has been reported missing. ). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deanwood.
 
More about this marker.
Designed to Compete Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 14, 2009
3. Designed to Compete Marker
close-ups of the Pittman Family and the architect's renowned "Negro Building" at the 1907 Jamestown Exposition.
[Photo captions:]

William Sidney Pittman, wife Portia, and daughter Fannie Virginia (Library of Congress).

William Sidney Pittman's "Negro Building" at the exposition marking the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, 1907 (Library of Congress).

Portia Washington Pittman, right, helped launch the S.S. Booker T. Washington, named for her father, in 1942. At left is Mary Mcleod Bethune with Marian Anderson at center and DC Recorder of Deeds Dr. William Thompkins between Anderson and Pittman (Library of Congress).

In May 2005, Senior Master Greg Acholonu, standing, visited and played 22 games simultaneously (Collection of Eugene Brown).

A typical Saturday, below, at the Deanwood Chess House, a branch of the Big Chair Chess Club: 12 boards are always ready for adults and children to play (Collection of Eugene Brown).
 
Also see . . .
1. William Sidney Pittman in Texas. (Submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Joshua's Temple First Born Church, African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on December 22, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
 
Categories. African AmericansNotable BuildingsNotable Persons
 
The Joshua's Temple First Born Church and Deanwood Chess House image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
4. The Joshua's Temple First Born Church and Deanwood Chess House
Designed to Compete Marker - photo of Deanwood Community on reverse image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
5. Designed to Compete Marker - photo of Deanwood Community on reverse
"At the end of this 1948 view of Sheriff Rd. stretching back to Minnesota Ave. is the old Watkins lumber yard. Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 29, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,811 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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