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

Equal Justice Under the Law

Make No Little Plans

 

—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
Equal Justice Under the Law Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
1. Equal Justice Under the Law Marker
Caption for the photos in the top half:
Artist George Biddle touches up his 1936 mural Society Freed Through Justice on the Department's fifth floor. The panel, left, shows tired, worn, factory workers in an unjust economic system. Upper left, Happy Americans benefit from the economic prosperity of a just society.
Inscription. The roots of America's top law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice, reach back to 1789. That year the first Congress created the Office of the Attorney General to prosecute lawsuits in the Supreme Court and advise the President and the Cabinet on matters of law. In 1870, after the Civil War spurred an increase in lawsuits, Congress created the Department of Justice to address the increasing demands on the attorney general's office. The Department's modern mission is to enforce the laws and defend the interests of the United States, protect the American people against terrorism and other threats to national security, prevent and control crime, seek just punishment for those who break the law, and ensure equal justice for all citizens.

For the Department's first permanent home, Philadelphia architects Clarence C. Zantzinger and Charles I. Borie, Jr., showcased bold yet elegant Art Deco ornamentation. The 20-foot-high night doors just ahead and most of the building's decorative fixtures are made of aluminum instead of traditional bronze. Colorful mosaics by Washingtonian John Joseph Earley adorn entranceway ceilings. C. Paul Jennewein designed 57 interior and exterior sculptural pieces, including the spectacular Art Deco torchières lighting the entrances.

Inside the building are distinctive 1930s-era murals illustrating
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
2. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy speaks to civil rights marchers outside the Department of Justice building, June 14, 1963.
how law and justice improve American life. Painter George Biddle, one of the artist, had persuaded his friend and schoolmate President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fund public murals. Roosevelt's New Deal went on to commission important works of civic art throughout the Federal Triangle and the nation.

The building was named the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in 2001 to honor the slain former attorney general.

(Back):
You are standing in the Federal Triangle, a group of buildings whose grandeur symbolizes the power and dignity of the United States. Located between the White House and the Capitol, these buildings house key agencies of the U.S. Government.

The Federal Triangle is united by the use of neoclassical revival architecture, drawing from styles of ancient Greece and Rome that have influenced public buildings throughout the ages. Although each structure was designed for a specific government department or agency, they all share limestone façades, red-tiled roofs and classical colonnades. Their architectural features, following traditions of the Parisian School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux-Arts), illustrate each building's original purpose. Most of the Federal Triangle was constructed between 1927 and 1938. However, the Old Post Office and the John A. Wilson Building survive from an earlier era, while the Ronald Reagan
U.S. Marshals and James Meredith image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
3. U.S. Marshals and James Meredith
U.S. Marshals from the Department of Justice escort James Meredith to class at the University of Mississippi, 1962. Meredith's arrival desegregated the historically white institution.
Building and International Trade Center was not completed until 1998.

In 1791 Pierre L'Enfant designed a city plan for the new cpaital in Washington under the direction of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The L'Enfant Plan overlaid broad avenues on a street grid with areas reserved for prominent buildings and parks. This area originally followed L'Enfant's vision as a center for businesses serving the municipal and federal governments. By the time of the Civil War (1861-1865), it had become a hodgepodge of boarding houses, stables, and light industry. This disarray, and the growing need for government office space, led to calls for redevelopment. In 1901 the Senate Park Commission, known as the McMillan Commission, created a new plan for Washington's parks and monumental areas and redefined the Triangle as a government center. In 1926 Congress authorized a massive building program that drew inspiration from classical architecture to create today's monumental Federal Triangle.

Make No Little Plans: Federal Triangle Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, D.C. Walking Trail. The self-guided, 1.75-mile tour of 16 signs offers about one hour of gentle exercise. Its theme comes from "Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood. Make big plans," attributed to visionary Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, chair of the McMillan Commission.

For
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
4. Back of Marker
more information on Federal Triangle buildings, please visit www.gsa.gov. For more information on DC neighborhoods and walking tours, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.

Make No Little Plans: Federal Triangle Heritage Trail is produced by the U.S. General Services Administration in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation and Cultural Tourism DC.

 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 14.)
 
Location. 38° 53.54′ N, 77° 1.54′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Constitution Avenue NW and 10th Street, NW, on the right when traveling west on Constitution Avenue NW. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20530, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Solomon G. Brown (within shouting distance of this marker); Cedar of Lebanon (within shouting distance of this marker); Colossal Head 4 (replica) (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nathan Hale (about 400 feet away); Our Tax Dollars (about 600 feet away); Temple for Our History
Piggly Wiggly Grocery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
5. Piggly Wiggly Grocery
The Department of Justice building replaced the buildings at right that once served the wholesale and retail market district here. Around 1920 truck drivers for the Piggly Wiggly modern grocery store chain posed by their trucks on C Street at 10th Street. Behind them is the 11th Street (eastern) side of the Old Post Office.
(about 600 feet away); Petrified Wood (about 600 feet away); G-Men and G-Women (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
 
Categories. Government
 
Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
6. Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System
Equal Justice Under the Law Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
7. Equal Justice Under the Law Marker
Aluminum Doors image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
8. Aluminum Doors
Doorway at the Justice Department Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
9. Doorway at the Justice Department Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 352 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on August 21, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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