Wide Angle Wednesdays
From Slave Quarters to Black Lives Matter Plaza: Black History in Lafayette Park
When Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had a two-block long section of 16th Street, NW christened Black Lives Matter Plaza, she guaranteed that it would forever be connected to the history of American racial injustice and civil rights. 16th Street terminates at Lafayette Park, a seven-acre public space overlooking the White House. African Americans have been making history here since the nation’s capital was founded; long before #BlackLivesMatter, Black lives were an influential, dynamic and forceful presence in Lafayette Park. This program will recount the stories of
- Paul Jennings, a slave owned by President James Madison;
- James Wormley, proprietor of one of Washington’s most successful hotels;
- Freedman’s Savings Bank, founded after the U.S. Civil War;
- Charlotte Dupuy, who sued her owner, Secretary of State Henry Clay, for her freedom;
Plus other Lafayette Park sites associated with the Black lives that constitute our collective history--the history of D.C. and the United States.