LeDroit Park Historic District

LeDroit Park Historic District

LeDroit Park was developed by Amzi L. Barber, one of the founders of Howard University. Barber married the daughter of successful real estate broker LeDroit Langdon and resigned his post at Howard in 1873.

LeDroit Park was developed as an exclusively white residential area, and this policy was enforced to the extent that a fence enclosed the area and guards were stationed at the gates to restrict access. This fence became a focal point of unrest. In July of 1888, the fence was torn down by protesting African Americans, which signaled a movement toward the integration of the area. In 1893, U.S. Capitol Barber, Octavius Williams, became the first African American to move into the subdivision.

The LeDroit Park area was integrated for only a short time, and by the beginning of World War I, the white families had moved out.

Among the prominent African Americans who lived in LeDroit Park were Robert A. Terrell, the first African American municipal Judge and his wife, Mary Church Terrell, a distinguished educator, suffragette, and civil rights activist. She was the first African American to serve on the DC School Board. Her house, at 326 T Street is a National Historic Landmark. Major Christian Fleetwood, a Civil War hero, Abolitionist and Virginia Congressman John Mercer Langston, General Benjamin Davis, the first African American general, and violinist Clarence Cameron White also resided in LeDroit Park. Walter Washington, the first mayor of DC elected under home rule and his wife, Benetta Bullock Washington, resided at 408 T Street, and the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar resided at 321 U Street.

The Frelinghuysen University also had its roots in LeDroit. This school, located at 201 T Street and founded in 1906 by Dr. Jesse Lawson and Dr. Anna J. Cooper, was established to provide evening education classes for employed African Americans who were unable to attend school during the day. LeDroit Park remains essentially intact today and serves as home to many prominent African Americans.

The Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.